Monday, August 17, 2009

Bloomberg Goes Fourth

Mike Bloomberg must be hearing foots steps-he not only has begun to go after Bill Thompson his putative opponent, something he never deigned to do with the hapless Ferrer, he now has forgotten what term he's running for: "Now, how many terms does he want again?
For a guy who made billions keeping track of financial information, Mayor Bloomberg seems to be having a little trouble keeping his numbers straight. During his weekly radio appearance Friday, Bloomberg - who's seeking a third term and has promised to stop there - made a reference to plans for a FOURTH term."

Really we should all forgive the guy, since he has an almost limitless ability to make up his own rules, and the voters will be damned: "Bloomberg spokesman Stu Loeser - for the second time in as many weeks - insisted the mayor has absolutely no interest in a fourth term, and had simply meant to refer to his hopes to score a third. On the very same radio show two weeks ago, Bloomberg iterated - and reiterated - that he's not interested in 16 years at City Hall...Those denials came a few days after he was asked about a possible fourth run at a news conference and initially replied that the law wouldn't allow it. A third term wasn't permitted until last October, when Bloomberg successfully pushed the City Council to boost the limit from two four-year terms. In January 2008, Bloomberg had insisted he had no interest in keeping his job past this year."

Clearly, Mike is a man whose allegiance to rules and protocol is ruled by expedience-which brings us to his continued amnesia over his own past practices; and the sour grapes attitude over his lost DC-37 endorsement. Thankfully, Wayne Barrett has a better memory.

As Barret reports: "Mike Bloomberg is now boldly declaring that he "will not make irresponsible promises to win an endorsement," the tough-guy-standing-up-for-taxpayers stance he's using to explain why the largest municipal union, 125,000-member District Council 37, endorsed his opponent, Democrat Bill Thompson. Maybe there's even a whiff of truth in the Bloomberg boast. But only in 2009. The last time around, he sold out the taxpayers to win DC 37's endorsement."

Wayne, the only whiff you're smelling here is the stench of opportunism; and the absurd belief that, after eight years of profligacy, Bloomberg believes he can sell the voters on a platform of fiscal responsibility: "In fact, Bloomberg tried to get the endorsement on Wednesday night by reminding the union's leaders of his crass collapse in 2005 (see "Billionaire Buys Union"). The problem in 2005 was that the mayor wasn't using his own money to buy a key endorsement; he was using the public's. "I got the endorsement of this union four years and I didn't promise you anything I didn't deliver," he told the union this week, a pitch he should have been too embarrassed to make."

This, as the lawyers say, speaks to a pattern; and the effort to re-brand Mike Bloomberg as a fiscal conservative should be laughed right out of the room. That he now wants to recast himself because of hard times, elides the fact that his own policies have been major contributors to the budget mess we find ourselves in: "This time around, Bloomberg was actually trying to get the leaders to give him a second endorsement based on the memory of those good old days. Bloomberg campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson told the Voice that the "economic circumstances have changed," so the mayor is not "able to do now what he did four years ago." He did not address the question of whether the mayor's quid pro quo dealings with DC 37 in 2005 were kosher."

And who paid for the previous profligacy? Why, the tax payers and small businesses of the city who were forced to fund NYC's Good Time Mikey. Which is a good reason why New York is one of the worst places to do business in the entire country. But remember, Bloomberg is arguing that the economic tough times demands that this newly minted Al Capone be ushered in to a quasi-legal third term. Which means to us, that we should reward him, not because he;s demonstrated fiscal acumen, because he now sees the light and will be more sober going forward.

Sounds like a thin reed to over turn the will of the people, doesn't it? But all of this means that thin reed or not, the Bloombergistas are developing a thin skin; and when this happens, the sound of foot steps begins to grow louder and the chances of anxiety-provoked error rises in tandem. Which means that Thompson must continue to put on the pressure. Bloomberg, good in blow outs, just might not be able to play as well in a close game when the pressure is really on. Let's hope we get to see if this is true.