Friday, July 16, 2010

Final Total of Bloomberg’s 09 Campaign: $109M

We are now starting the clock on the Times editorial page-frantic over the Supreme Court's overturn of McCain-Feingold, and keepers of the campaign finance reform flame. As the NY Post-but not the Times-reports: "Mayor Bloomberg spent $109.2 million on his winning bid for a third term. That’s more than 11 times his Democratic opponent, who only lost by fewer than five points. The billionaire mayor’s campaign filed its final spending report Thursday with the state Board of Elections...Bloomberg’s opponent, William Thompson Jr., spent $9.4 million on his entire campaign."

Here's what the Times once opined about the mayor's campaign excess: "Like Mr. Thompson, who has made the mayor’s wealth a major issue, most New Yorkers are concerned about Mr. Bloomberg’s spending $85 million — so far — to win re-election. In his first campaign in 2001, he argued that he was spending so much to introduce himself. Now a nationally recognized figure, he argues that as a candidate running on Republican and Independent Party lines, he needs to fight for votes in a city that is so predominantly Democratic. We think Mr. Bloomberg exaggerates his vulnerability. New York City’s campaign finance system is one of the best in the country. He does everyone a disservice by not complying with the system’s limits on spending."

This modest chiding was right after the paper's enthusiastic endorsement of the mayor's re-election-which followed Pinch's suck-up to the Bloomberg money machine in his endorsement of the referendum overturn for the absolutely crucial third Bloomberg term. Which itself followed the paper's earlier admonition against changing the law for a third Bloomberg term: "As good a mayor as Mr. Bloomberg has been, we are wary of changing the rules just to suit the ambition of a particular politician — in this country or any other. Mr. Bloomberg, should he want to continue his public service, would make an excellent prospect for other important offices."

Yet, in its endorsement of the mayor there is no mention of this prior view, and the paper waxed eloquent over the mayor's budgetary acumen: "What makes the mayor stand out is not his political skill, although he has come a long way since his first clumsy days in office. He has run the $60 billion government with a keen attention to accountability and efficiency."

Yeah, right. Not a mention from the best and the brightest about the mayor's tax and regulatory burden-necessitated by his obscene padding of the public payroll; a consequence of which we are just beginning to fully understand, as the pension bill comes due. And the Times' description of the city's campaign system as, "one of the best in the country," beggars credulity. But, of course, the fact that this system handcuffs businesses while giving free rein to labor, is a plus in the eyes of the anti-business Times.

But the saddest aspect of all of this, is how the liberal Times-so good at ferreting out malfeasance in every conservative nook and cranny-is unable to even get a sniff of the level of corruption that the Bloomberg money generates in the city's political system; an indication that for all of Pinch's progressive posturing, he opts to support his own class interests when things get closer to home. Neither the paper's editorial page, nor its excellent team of city hall reporters, have been able to expose the money trail that leads directly from Bloomberg right to the dog that didn't bark-the Rev. Al Slim Shady Sharpton.

So, while the clock is running, we don't expect the Times to say another word about the Bloomberg spending spree-it will be too busy excoriating the money that will be spent on behalf of Republicans in the next election cycle by all those nasty special interests. It's too bad that the mayor isn't more conservative. If he were, it would have enabled the Times to be philosophically consistent. But the elitists on the paper's editorial board are probably glad he isn't, since-as Ralph Waldo Emerson once said-consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds.