Monday, October 12, 2009

Not a Nobel Endorsement

President Obama ran for, and won the presidency, by articulating a new kind of politics-grass roots oriented in a way that befitted someone who cut his teeth politically as a community organizer. So, it seems to us, that BHO should be able to stand proudly with Bill Thompson-in opposition to Michael Bloomberg, the man who is the absolute antithesis of the Obama persona.

Proud is, however, not what characterized the back hand-and shameful-quasi-endorsement that Thompson received from the White House; and not even from the president personally. As the NY Times reported: "It was an unusually lukewarm expression of political support from the White House, delivered in the conditional tense, without using the name of the candidate, and coming from a presidential spokesman, no less."

Now Obama's the guy who strong armed New York Democrats in order to insure that appointed Senator Gillerbrand could run without having to undergo the rigors of a primary; and he's also greasing the skids for David Paterson, an indication that his concerns revolve around what's good for Obama, and not the modeling of a new form of political action. He's even saying some good things about our own community disorganized mayor: "The president,” Mr. Gibbs said, “obviously has had a chance to, throughout campaigning and in his time both as a candidate and as a president, to meet, know and work with Mayor Bloomberg, and obviously has a tremendous amount of respect for what he’s done as well.”

What a disgrace! The mayor who has stood firmly opposed to the empowerment of communities-and is even now working to defeat any living wage-based community benefits agreement at the Kingsbridge Armory-and who has promoted large scale development that has enriched his billionaire real estate friends, should be an anathema to the old Obama; but maybe this Nobel Prize thing, and the non stop adulation, has really made him into a transformative figure-but not in a good way.

In our opinion, Obama has to do a lot better than this: "Mr. Gibbs at first seemed to mock the question. “New York-centric over there,” he said. “There’s more than one city.” After a few moments of playful banter, he offered this: “The president is the leader of the Democratic Party, and as that would support the Democratic nominee.”

He needs to get to New York City and demonstrate that he hasn't forgotten what gave him the spring board into politics-and the way to do this is by appearing alongside Thompson and declaring to all New Yorkers that popular referendums count for something-and that buying your way into a usurped third term is not something that any one who has the Obama pedigree can support.