Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Are Michael Bloomberg and "Cynical" Synonyms?

It will come as no surprise that I have elected to be very tough on New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. I didn't vote for him the first time around because, well, I just can't bring myself to vote for Republicans, especially when they're RINOs -- Republicans in Name Only -- because such people suggest to me that they haven't the guts to align himself with a party closer to one's own ideals. Indeed, I thought it was smart of Bloomberg to go the Independent route, because while many ideals of the Democratic party are ideologically close to Bloomberg's, the mayor has proven himself to be smart enough, and perhaps now and then wily enough, to borrow from any philosophy, any party, that works for the city of New York.

The second time around I voted for Elmer Fudd. No, I'm not kidding. I did it as a write-in vote and I guess no one ever requests a write-in vote in Astoria because my request simply terrified both the Republican and Democratic election representatives at my voting place, and they had to look up how to operate the paper ballot in the machine because they hadn't a clue how to do it. I do understand the argument that I tossed my vote away, but I still couldn't bring myself to vote for Bloomberg -- I oppose his reckless toadying to real estate developers and antipathy toward historic preservation -- but I couldn't vote for Freddy Ferrer because, to be blunt, he was just an awful candidate with no chance of winning.

But what really made me angry was when Bloomberg rammed through the City Council the alteration to the term-limits laws, thus circumventing the will of the people. I've blogged about this before, but the real, or greater, reason for this post is this story in the New York Daily News and how it crystallizes for me how offensively cynical the mayor is being.

The very idea that someone advised Bloomberg that he ought to pick up some shiny shovel so as to fix a pothole -- who believes in this as a publicity stunt? Indeed, who thinks this is anything but a publicity stunt designed to drive up his the mayor's positives? I understand it may work, but my point is that the citizens of New York City are going to have to make a choice: buy into this crass and cynical pandering to local interests or conclude, regardless of how they eventually vote, that Bloomberg is one of the most shamelessly cynical politicians ever in our government. It may win him the election this year, but let's at least call it what it is.

Just read this silliness from the Daily News story:

Back in 2008, when Mayor Bloomberg looked like a man closing out his last term in office, he spent a lot of time talking about energy policy, visiting Europe, and consulting with business leaders about the economy.

So far in 2009, when he wants voters to give him another term in office, he's paid a courtesy call on a nation important to New Yorkers - and filled a Brooklyn pothole.

"That's the mayor's job, filling potholes and showing the flag and trying to support those that help us keep a safer world," the mayor said Monday, after he grabbed a shiny new shovel from a Department of Transportation crew to sprinkle asphalt on a street in Sheepshead Bay.

Er, isn't it also the mayor's job to uphold democracy? Isn't that, in fact, the job of all elected officials on a certain level? I guess when you're Mayor Michael Bloomberg, you can pick and choose your battles -- I mean, your job description.

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