Friday, December 31, 2010

Mayor Humpty Dumpty

"All the king's horses, and all the king's men," time has arrived in the nine year tenure of Mike Bloomberg-and putting the mayor's shattered reputation back together again will, in our view, be next to impossible. One clear indication of this is that satire is now replacing straight political analysis-and when it comes to satire, there's no one better at it than the NY Times' Clyde Haberman.

Haberman lets Bloomberg have it-with both barrels full of ridicule. After making fun of the MTA, it was Mike's turn: "Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his minions had a somewhat better sense of timing. They had brains enough this week not to drop any of their usual hints about what a splendid president Mr. Bloomberg would make despite his public insistence that he has no interest in the job. The mayor loves to talk about his nonpartisan, common-sense approach to problem-solving. In that regard, he allied himself this month with a new political organization called No Labels. After the botched handling of the blizzard, his claims to nonpareil managerial skills could inspire a countermovement called No Fables. As things now stand, his best shot at making it to the White House may be to join a guided tour."

Ouch! But Haberman's just warming up: "The mayor, however, did qualify for an honor of his own: a Tony award. No, not the theater prize named for Antoinette Perry. This Tony is for Marie Antoinette. It may be a long time before the billionaire Mr. Bloomberg shakes off his “let them eat cake” moment as the storm was winding down. “The city is going fine,” he said. “Broadway shows were full last night. There are lots of tourists here enjoying themselves.” See, all you whiners in unplowed sections of Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx? The tourists were having a terrific time in Manhattan. And Brownie did a heck of a job."

And what would a farcical take on Bloomberg look without remarking on the mayor's legendary empathy? "One has to credit Mr. Bloomberg with at least being true to himself. Nine years in office, he remains incapable of faking a measure of empathy, or of keeping a smirk from his lips when reporters ask legitimate questions about rising citizen anger over his administration’s dismal performance in the crisis."

Finally, Haberman delivers the coup de grâce-linking the snow snafu with the corruption of CityTime: "As presidential timber, the mayor certainly seems more than a few logs short of a cord. In recent weeks, he has found himself enmeshed both in a corruption scandal reminiscent of the one that undid Mayor Edward I. Koch in the late 1980s and in a snowstorm debacle of the kind that brought near-ruin to Mayor John V. Lindsay in 1969. If Mr. Bloomberg’s fiscal policies ever start making people think of Mayor Abraham D. Beame, it may be time at City Hall to start packing the bags."

Indeed. And the mayor's erstwhile allies are themselves busy packing their bags in preparation for exiting off of the Bloomberg bandwagon. Haberman gets the last word: "But he has fewer people these days who are willing to cut him slack, including some he had been able to count as allies. Politicians with mayoral ambitions, like the City Council speaker, Christine C. Quinn, are already lining up to turn the blizzard to their advantage. Newspaper editorialists who gushed over Mr. Bloomberg’s grab for a third term, on the theory that only he could manage the city well, are now hurling ice-packed snowballs at him."