Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bloomberg-Induced Coma

It appears as if the Bloombergistas may be worried that New Yorkers, lacking enthusiasm for the ebullient billionaire, and exhausted by his relentless huckstering, will simply stay home next week. As the NY Times reports: "His administration’s record aside, and his campaign’s unmatched spending notwithstanding, Michael R. Bloomberg’s aides in the field mince no words about exactly what will determine the outcome of next Tuesday’s mayoral election. “At the end of the day, every election is about one thing: making sure your supporters get to the polls and vote,” Lenny Speiller, the campaign’s get-out-the-vote director, declares on the Bloomberg Web site. Recalling the record-low turnouts in last month’s primary and runoff, Mr. Speiller exhorts Bloomberg volunteers to shift into overdrive."

And, of course, there's plenty of money for that as well-leaving us to wonder whether the Beatles can be resurrected to do a reprise-with altered lyrics-of their "Money Can't Buy You Love" single. As Speiller (what an apt name for those of you who understand Yiddish) says: "“Our efforts have been and will continue to be the most expansive and effective grass-roots operation this city has ever seen,” he said in a blog post dated Friday. “Tonight we will knock on our 1,500,000th door, make our 550,000th volunteer phone call and hand out literature at our 4,000th transit stop and high traffic location — and if you think that’s impressive, you haven’t seen anything yet!”

These folks are actually patting themselves on the back for an ability to spend Bloomberg's unlimited funds-as if that's a sign of acumen and sophistication. The reality, it seems, is that there could be a record low turnout next Tuesday: "With the mayor leading in public opinion polls by 16 percentage points or more, most New Yorkers might think he has nothing to worry about. But elections have been lost — most notably David N. Dinkins’s 1993 re-election race — because people who insisted to pollsters that they supported a candidate ultimately did not bother to vote. And a number of political analysts say that a predicted record-low turnout next Tuesday may jeopardize Mr. Bloomberg’s projected double-digit victory margin and even deliver him a third term with the lowest total vote received by a New York City mayor in nearly a century."

And this is in spite of how grateful we all should be for Bloomberg providing us with more choice in this election season. What the mayor failed to tell us, was that the best choice he has given us is the one to stay home in protest of his arrogant over turning of the term limits law, and his record attempts at numbing us to death with Soviet-style campaign pronouncements.

But the low projected turnout could well mean a much closer race than the latest polls are indicating: "Those analysts discount the projections of a large margin of victory because, they argue, the most motivated voters are likely to be those who are angry with the mayor and inclined to vote against him, largely because of his reversal last year over term limits. Still, few, if any, independent analysts are going so far as to predict that Mr. Bloomberg will lose, given his sophisticated and amply financed get-out-the-vote operation, abetted by the support of major unions. “There’s no doubt that the term limit issue will be driving a lot of voters to the polls,” said Lee M. Miringoff, director of the Marist Institute for Public Opinion, “but my guess is so will Bloomberg’s vans.”

So it may come down to Bloomberg's ability to hire chauffeured limos for every voter-along with the free beer that Tammany Hall used to use as a motivator back in the day: "Mr. Bloomberg won in 2001 with 744,000 votes. He won a second term four years later with 753,000 of the 1.3 million cast. If as few as 20 percent of eligible voters turn out and Mr. Bloomberg wins even by a 10-percentage-point landslide, he would be re-elected with fewer than 500,000 votes — the lowest total since John F. Hylan’s in 1917."

So we're back to the future it seems.-with enthusiasm as low as it can be. This is some legacy for the greatest campaign profligacy of all times. The Bloombucks have done their job in driving voters into a coma; a sad day for democracy in NYC.