The most interesting thing about Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s re-election campaign – you know, the one made possible by his directing the City Council to overturn voted-in term limits – is watching him implode a bit. If a person deep down knows they did something not on the up-and-up, even if they’re getting away with it, I think they battle against an inner critic despite seemingly bypassing the outer ones.
Our Mayor is very wealthy and has gotten away with so much because of it (buying two elections for starters) and he seems to have a sense of entitlement that is causing him to, uh, act out a bit.
Most of the press gives him a free pass much of the time, other elected officials rarely speak out, his “competition” (ending term limits was supposed to give us more “choice” but instead has just given us less) is small and dwindles every day (Anthony Weiner just declared himself officially out of the race), and groups that might, with any other administration, speak out against some of his policies are quieted by his “private” “philanthropy.”
Therefore, it becomes almost gratifying to watch him take on himself and his inner demons in public with some verbal blunders.
From today’s New York Times, “The Latest Stray Words of An Off-The-Cuff Mayor“:
When you’re worth $16 billion, it’s all relative.
On Monday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg — who owns homes in Bermuda, Florida, Colorado and London; travels the globe on two private jets; and plans to spend $80 million of his own money on a re-election bid — said that President Obama “does not get paid that much.”
That is, if a $400,000-a-year salary, a $50,000 expense account and a $19,000 entertainment budget qualifies as not much.
It was the latest puzzling remark in a re-election campaign filled with colorful foot-in-mouth mayoral utterances.
Campaign aides to Mr. Bloomberg are seeking to portray him as a sympathetic chief executive in touch with ordinary New Yorkers (witness a parade of commercials featuring a tieless mayor talking about jobs).
Mr. Bloomberg, however, has not made it easy. Since deciding to seek a third term last fall, he has declared that “we love the rich.” Reaching for an economic barometer, he described dwindling crowds at Bergdorf Goodman, the luxury department store.
He has scolded a disabled blogger, Michael Harris, who uses a wheelchair, for accidentally turning on a tape recorder at a news conference. And, last week, he bitterly rebuked a reporter, Azi Paybarah, who asked about his decision to overturn the city’s term limits law, telling him, “You’re a disgrace.”
Given Mr. Bloomberg’s commanding lead in the polls — he remains at least 10 points ahead of any rival — the missteps suggest that the biggest obstacles to his re-election are his own, unpredictable words.
If I hadn’t started the Washington Square Park Blog, my other idea was to write a blog about Mayor Bloomberg. I think a well done blog chronically the real effects of his tenure could make a difference. Maybe somebody else out there wants to take that on?