Remind Me Again Why We Should Take Michael Bloomberg Seriously
Just yesterday, Michael Bloomberg endorsed Barack Obama for president. David Boaz reminds us what kind of mayor Bloomberg has been–using praise for Bloomberg as a “pro-life” public official from the World’s Worst Columnist (Thomas Friedman) as a reference point:
Thomas Friedman’s vision of “pro-life” policies is, in every case, a network of bans and mandates forcing us to live our lives in ways that are pleasing to him and Mayor Bloomberg. No “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” for him. No, his pro-life vision is Ira Levin’s dystopia in This Perfect Day, a world in which the state takes care of our every need.
Given this description of Bloomberg–and Friedman–is it any surprise whatsoever that Bloomberg is in President Obama’s corner? The current incumbent is, after all, a member in good standing of the Nanny Caucus. Why wouldn’t he get Bloomberg’s support.
The current incumbent is also a member in good standing of the Failed Leadership Caucus, which also explains the Bloomberg endorsement. Despite the fact that New York remains hard hit thanks to the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, Bloomberg wants to divert precious resources towards ensuring that the annual New York City Marathon goes off without a hitch (Update: after a deserved public outcry, the marathon has now been cancelled). To say that this action fails to take into account the priorities of New York City is to understate matters. Consider Walter Russell Mead’s commentary:
What would the world have thought of Mayor Nagin if he’d diverted resources from Katrina relief efforts to holding a Mardi Gras parade? Mayor Bloomberg may be about to find out. As the NYT reports, the Mayor has vowed to go ahead with the NYC marathon, which will inevitably draw resources away from the Sandy recovery and irritate people whose homes are still underwater, who still don’t have food or power, and who need help, not a sport to watch. Widespread reports that generators are being diverted to power tents for race officials are stoking a populist rage that a billionaire mayor doesn’t need.
Non-New Yorkers don’t follow these things closely, but Mayor Bloomberg’s standing in the city has never recovered from his ill-starred decision to run for a third term. The mayor’s signature accomplishment had been the imposition of term limits on the self serving, often corrupt career pols who entrenched themselves and their patronage networks at the public trough. New Yorkers were thrilled at this blow to their dysfunctional political class and widely celebrated the courage and determination of a reforming mayor who took on and beat the city bosses.
Alas, that Michael Bloomberg didn’t last. The Mayor decided to run for a third term, but he was caught by his own term limits. The hacks on the City Council made clear that they wouldn’t give him an exemption from term limits unless the limits were lifted for everybody else. Disgracefully, Bloomberg took the deal and helped the corrupt political class destroy his greatest achievement.
So to recap: Michael Bloomberg is a politician in good standing in the Nanny Caucus, the Failed Leadership Caucus, and the Self-Glorification and Aggrandizement Caucus.
And he endorsed Barack Obama for president.
Makes sense when you think about it.