Tuesday, September 27, 2005I wrote a few days ago why I wasn't crazy about Freddy Ferrer's candidacy for Mayor. But vote for Bloomberg? That's going beyond the pale.
The rationale for Bloomberg has been laid out by Fred Kaplan at the Prospect:
The truth is, neither Bloomberg nor his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, is a
Republican by the national party's standards. Both men favor abortion rights,
gay rights, immigrants' rights, and gun control. (This is why, despite his
ambitions and popularity, Giuliani will never head a GOP presidential ticket.)
Bloomberg isn't even really a Republican: Until 2001, he was a registered
Democrat, and a liberal one at that; he ran for mayor that year as a Republican
strictly to avoid a crowded primary. (Opportunistic? Yes, but shrewd in an
inventively New Yorkerish way.) It's quite likely that if he had run in the
Democratic primary this year, he would have won handily.
Those who decry the Democrats-for-Bloomberg movement nonetheless admit that Bloomberg has been a surprisingly very good mayor. He's balanced the budget, averted union strikes, improved education (albeit marginally), pushed down the crime rate further (fairly significantly), and repaired much of the damage that Giuliani inflicted on the city's race relations. Giuliani had made New Yorkers doubt -- he wanted them to doubt -- that a big city could be run effectively and inclusively. Not the least of Bloomberg's accomplishments is that he showed that you can do both.
This might be a plausible case if one had no long-term memory. But unfortunately I can remember events more than three months ago. First, there is more to being a Democrat than social liberalism. Bloomberg's singleminded obsession with big corporations and stadiums betrays a big business sensibility greatly out of touch with Democrats.
Second, his list of accomplishments is appallingly meager: he failed to get the Olympics here, and failed to build a new stadium in Manhattan, failed to get any money from his buddies in Albany and Washington, failed to do anything about the housing crisis, and failed to institute non-partisan elections so that more people like him (i.e. not Democrats) could get elected. The crime rate was already falling (they have been for over a decade). His education policies are more style than substance, and are excessively top-down. He has tried to break local unions. His budget policies created the illusion of a surplus this year so he could offer a tax rebate, but the long-term situation is horrific. He has also thrown a lot of his personal money around for political purposes, creating a "creeping corruption."
But Bloomberg did invite the Republicans to exploit 9/11 for political purposes by holding their convention here, and he also authorized the abuse of peaceful protestors. He also replaced fresh with frozen and/or spoiled meals to seniors. What a guy.