Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Money Can't Buy Me Love"

Mike Bloomberg thinks that the ballot lines he has secured is all a result of his good looks and charm. How else to explain this demurral from Mr. Charming in an exchange with the NY Daily News' Adam Lisberg: "Mayor Bloomberg today rejected the notion that the $500,000 he dropped on the city Independence Party and five GOP county committees was in any way connected to their decision to endorse him - yet again - for re-election...Here's the mayor's exchange this afternoon with the DN's Adam Lisberg:

Q: "What would you say to people who say that you essentially bought..."

Bloomberg: "I don't have to say. Nobody's said that to me, so I don't have to answer that. Whatever the numbers are, the numbers are. I mean, you know, you create these hypothetical things. We're not going to play the game."

Q: "Not hypothetical, then. Didn't the money help you get their support?"

Bloomberg: "I don't think so. I don't think so. I mean, I, you know, by that argument, you're telling me you believe that everybody that ever gives money expects support? I don't, not sure you're not wrong in many cases, but don't be ridiculous."

Here's a guy who has constantly alleged that he is above the tawdry pay to play of traditional politics because he doesn't need to take anyone's cash to make a decision on what's supposedly best for the people. This insulation from influence peddling-and its more malevolent manifestation in outright bribery-while a good thing, elides the extent to which Bloomberg, because of his mad money, is able to invert the tawdry cash nexus.

In the mayor's enviable situation, the cash is used to insure political party support-or in the case of all of the NGOs, policy backing to create the impression that certain of the mayor's policies are really in the public interest. In the process-follow the $235 million money trail-the mayor corrupts the true nature of democratic debate as surely as bribery offering lobbyists do when looking for favors.

And what about the disingenuousness of Bloomberg saying that, "you're telling me you believe that everybody that ever gives money expects support? I don't, not sure you're not wrong in many cases, but don't be ridiculous." Clearly, the mayor is unequivocally a hypocrite; since he knows full well what he has bought-and the price of the transaction that, if he didn't negotiate it directly himself, must have surely signed off on.

Mike Bloomberg comes directly from the world of quid pro quo-and he has the kind of quid that attracts all sorts of strange bedfellows. The Bloomberg menagerie includes the likes of Spinner Wolfson, Laura Fulani, Andrea Batista Schlesinger, Esther Fuchs, Mitch Moss, and the entire Republican Party; a party that would be hard pressed to name more than one of two Bloomberg initiatives that they could tolerate, let alone endorse with any enthusiasm.

And speaking of political trade offs, what about the NYC equivalent of the Louisiana Purchase-the suborning of the city council to extend term limits? As Liz dramatizes, the quid keeps on giving here; as term limits flip flopper Sara Gonzales can attest: "It's good to have friends in high places - especially if those friends have extra cash on hand and are suggestible as to whose campaign account they might drop it in. Martin Geller, an Upper East Side resident, has maxed out to Councilwoman Sara Gonzalez's campaign, contributing $2,750 to the Brooklyn Democrat on June 15, according to state Board of Elections records." Of course, Geller has a longstanding involvement with the affairs of Sunset Park.

So here stands Mike Bloomberg, The Uniter! There are Bloomberg preachers, Bloomberg not-for-profits, Bloomberg Democrats, Bloomberg editorialists, and even Bloomberg anti-Semites. In fact, in respect to his protean collecting ability, Mike Bloomberg is the single most powerful unifying force in the City of New York. All that is missing is the mayor's outright display of an acknowledged pride of ownership.