Bloomberg's Snow Job

There's a delicious, ready-made irony in the similarities among Bush-Katrina, Obama-Deepwater Horizon, and Bloomberg-Blizzard 2010.  The upshot of each pairing of man versus the elements represents nature's response to the larger-than-life hubristic public image its namesake either sought for himself or was accorded by others.  That response: I'm bigger than you are. 

Each episode involves a chief executive and the quality of his answer to an immediate "natural" challenge.  And each has been indicted -- NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg very quickly -- in the court of public opinion, by a populace fed up with what it perceives is really on the inside of the whirling, blustery, self-serving, dirty tornado of governmental can-do, we're-here-to-help-you braggadocio: impotence and ordinary human imperfection.

Look, there are always mitigating factors one can identify with the aid of an appropriately aimed index finger: FEMA was slow, mold grew, there was looting; BP needed a boot on its neck while O was looking for "whose ass to kick"; and now, Mayor Bloomberg, who has excuses as abundant as -- and no better than -- those of any ordinary mortal schoolchild, or waitress who's only got two hands, honey:

We cannot do everything all the time and we are doing the best we can ... We are trying to get to every street as fast as we can and as safely as we can. ... I'm angry too.  (Quoted 2010-Dec-29.)

Additionally:

The mayor ticked off a variety of reason for the slow response:  the heavy winds, a shortage of tow trucks and private plows, motorists abandoning their cars and blocking streets, ambulances mired in the snow by trying to drive down blocked streets, and people jamming 911 with non emergency calls.  Ibid.

But like, yikes.  Those don't sound like the kind of excuses Superman or Green Lantern would make.  And with the public messing up that bad and deserving so much of the blame, there's hardly any left for the mayor!  Still, just in case, note the "I'm angry too" ploy by which Bloomberg attempts to squeeze himself out from behind the lectern and all of a sudden rush to join the unwashed multitudes in impotent but righteous solidarity by being "angry."  Shaking his own fist at himself, with us!  What brilliant positioning!  There are about 18 billion reasons (read: Mike's net worth) why that "angry common-man" baloney shouldn't go down.  Can't that tired, hollow gambit be retired already?

I don't think so.  Because Bloomy likes politics so much that he's tried being a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent, all within the last three years [1].  Now, there's the steely, steady resolution of a man who knows what he thinks!  And what he thinks is that he's going to snow people all the way to national office.  Charlie Crist has nothing on Mike Bloomberg.

New York City had enacted a two-term limit on mayoral tenure, which statute was passed in 1993 by popular referendum -- with 59% of the vote[2] -- in the early aftermath of Ed Koch's three terms and during David Dinkins' one-term-too-many.  This statute was directly, albeit perversely responsible for Bloomberg's being elected successor to Rudolph William Louis Giuliani ("Rudy" to you) in 2001.  Why?  Because although the redoubtable Giuliani would have unquestionably garnered a third term, he couldn't run for it.  Yet in 2008, Bloomy nonetheless circumvented that very law by torsioning the City Council to bend to his whim.  Council Speaker Christine Quinn asserted, "In times like these, voters should have the choice."  And Bloomberg himself argued that he was best-qualified to lead New York in troubled times because of his financial genius, yada, yada [3].  So much for plebiscite and respect for law.  The term limit easement passed in council, 29-to-22, a cabinet-level fiat that allowed Bloomberg to run, yet again, in 2009 [4].  His present third term is the bastard offspring of wealthy entitlement and flaccid, pliant political venality.  Said third term is illegal in spirit, if not in letter.  This emperor may have a birth certificate, but with all that money, he ought to at least have some clothes.

Making all kinds of national-office-bound noises lately, Hizzoner would appear to like to follow in the footsteps of one former Illinois state senator who, having failed miserably at building a cogent record in one venue, managed to convince his dupes -- I mean, his followers -- repeatedly to catapult him electorally to the next.  Bloomberg is an overachieving, bored, self-important billionaire of no particular observable administrative acumen.  Having built a wildly successful financial news empire, he then bought himself a Great City in the vain and insecure hope that it would make him great, too.  It ain't done so, and it can't.

When push comes to shove, the man in City Hall is no more efficacious in Making Things Happen than your average John, Abe, Ed, or David, and maybe less than your average Rudy.  Unless making things happen means he's gonna go national in restricting your salt intake in Montana and Texas, as he's doing for New York restaurant-goers.  But then, Michelle's already got a job.  Or turning Pennsylvania Avenue into an alfresco pedestrian mall, as he's done for Broadway.  How metrosexual is that?  And speaking of pushing and shoving, which once-mighty NYC can no longer seem to do even to snow, Bloomberg's long-term performance and imagination are as lackluster as his predictable salt, mall, soft-drink, and smoke-free nanny-obsessions -- and all of it conveyed in his ceaseless, tiresome singsong cadence.

One more irony may be the richest of all.  The City Council in January is going to investigate the response to the snowstorm.  That would be the same City Council which gave Bloomy leave to run for this third term.  Now, there's governmental efficiency for you at its richest and best.  Give the candidate leave, give the officeholder grief.  The Urban Mandarinate at circular make-work.  Who'll investigate it?

Look, Mr. Mayor.  When you're done at City Hall, go back to being a tycoon in your eponymous skyscraper uptown, and all will be forgiven.  But if you're even thinking of trading in Gracie Mansion for the White House and hopscotching yourself to Washington -- where you dream the crowds'll go crazy embracing you as the Fiscal Savior of New York -- well, not so much.  Your path will be about as clear as the streets of Brooklyn, whose residents still couldn't move three days after the snowstorm.  And your travel outlook is the same as theirs: fuhgeddaboutit.  You ain't goin' nowhere.

[1] "Few Know Bloomberg's Party Affiliation, Poll Finds", New York Times, June 8, 2009, http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/08/few-know-bloombergs-party-affiliation-poll-finds/

[2] "New Yorkers Approve Limit of 2 Terms for City Officials," New York Times, November 3, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/03/nyregion/new-yorkers-approve-limit-of-2-terms-for-city-officials.html

[3] "City Government", Gotham Gazette, October 24, 2008 http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20081024/203/2690

[4] "N.Y. City Council extends term limits for mayor, other officials", CNN, October 23, 2008, http://articles.cnn.com/2008-10-23/politics/bloomberg.third.term_1_term-limits-public-vote-council-speaker-christine-quinn?_s=PM:POLITICS
There's a delicious, ready-made irony in the similarities among Bush-Katrina, Obama-Deepwater Horizon, and Bloomberg-Blizzard 2010.  The upshot of each pairing of man versus the elements represents nature's response to the larger-than-life hubristic public image its namesake either sought for himself or was accorded by others.  That response: I'm bigger than you are. 

Each episode involves a chief executive and the quality of his answer to an immediate "natural" challenge.  And each has been indicted -- NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg very quickly -- in the court of public opinion, by a populace fed up with what it perceives is really on the inside of the whirling, blustery, self-serving, dirty tornado of governmental can-do, we're-here-to-help-you braggadocio: impotence and ordinary human imperfection.

Look, there are always mitigating factors one can identify with the aid of an appropriately aimed index finger: FEMA was slow, mold grew, there was looting; BP needed a boot on its neck while O was looking for "whose ass to kick"; and now, Mayor Bloomberg, who has excuses as abundant as -- and no better than -- those of any ordinary mortal schoolchild, or waitress who's only got two hands, honey:

We cannot do everything all the time and we are doing the best we can ... We are trying to get to every street as fast as we can and as safely as we can. ... I'm angry too.  (Quoted 2010-Dec-29.)

Additionally:

The mayor ticked off a variety of reason for the slow response:  the heavy winds, a shortage of tow trucks and private plows, motorists abandoning their cars and blocking streets, ambulances mired in the snow by trying to drive down blocked streets, and people jamming 911 with non emergency calls.  Ibid.

But like, yikes.  Those don't sound like the kind of excuses Superman or Green Lantern would make.  And with the public messing up that bad and deserving so much of the blame, there's hardly any left for the mayor!  Still, just in case, note the "I'm angry too" ploy by which Bloomberg attempts to squeeze himself out from behind the lectern and all of a sudden rush to join the unwashed multitudes in impotent but righteous solidarity by being "angry."  Shaking his own fist at himself, with us!  What brilliant positioning!  There are about 18 billion reasons (read: Mike's net worth) why that "angry common-man" baloney shouldn't go down.  Can't that tired, hollow gambit be retired already?

I don't think so.  Because Bloomy likes politics so much that he's tried being a Democrat, a Republican, and an Independent, all within the last three years [1].  Now, there's the steely, steady resolution of a man who knows what he thinks!  And what he thinks is that he's going to snow people all the way to national office.  Charlie Crist has nothing on Mike Bloomberg.

New York City had enacted a two-term limit on mayoral tenure, which statute was passed in 1993 by popular referendum -- with 59% of the vote[2] -- in the early aftermath of Ed Koch's three terms and during David Dinkins' one-term-too-many.  This statute was directly, albeit perversely responsible for Bloomberg's being elected successor to Rudolph William Louis Giuliani ("Rudy" to you) in 2001.  Why?  Because although the redoubtable Giuliani would have unquestionably garnered a third term, he couldn't run for it.  Yet in 2008, Bloomy nonetheless circumvented that very law by torsioning the City Council to bend to his whim.  Council Speaker Christine Quinn asserted, "In times like these, voters should have the choice."  And Bloomberg himself argued that he was best-qualified to lead New York in troubled times because of his financial genius, yada, yada [3].  So much for plebiscite and respect for law.  The term limit easement passed in council, 29-to-22, a cabinet-level fiat that allowed Bloomberg to run, yet again, in 2009 [4].  His present third term is the bastard offspring of wealthy entitlement and flaccid, pliant political venality.  Said third term is illegal in spirit, if not in letter.  This emperor may have a birth certificate, but with all that money, he ought to at least have some clothes.

Making all kinds of national-office-bound noises lately, Hizzoner would appear to like to follow in the footsteps of one former Illinois state senator who, having failed miserably at building a cogent record in one venue, managed to convince his dupes -- I mean, his followers -- repeatedly to catapult him electorally to the next.  Bloomberg is an overachieving, bored, self-important billionaire of no particular observable administrative acumen.  Having built a wildly successful financial news empire, he then bought himself a Great City in the vain and insecure hope that it would make him great, too.  It ain't done so, and it can't.

When push comes to shove, the man in City Hall is no more efficacious in Making Things Happen than your average John, Abe, Ed, or David, and maybe less than your average Rudy.  Unless making things happen means he's gonna go national in restricting your salt intake in Montana and Texas, as he's doing for New York restaurant-goers.  But then, Michelle's already got a job.  Or turning Pennsylvania Avenue into an alfresco pedestrian mall, as he's done for Broadway.  How metrosexual is that?  And speaking of pushing and shoving, which once-mighty NYC can no longer seem to do even to snow, Bloomberg's long-term performance and imagination are as lackluster as his predictable salt, mall, soft-drink, and smoke-free nanny-obsessions -- and all of it conveyed in his ceaseless, tiresome singsong cadence.

One more irony may be the richest of all.  The City Council in January is going to investigate the response to the snowstorm.  That would be the same City Council which gave Bloomy leave to run for this third term.  Now, there's governmental efficiency for you at its richest and best.  Give the candidate leave, give the officeholder grief.  The Urban Mandarinate at circular make-work.  Who'll investigate it?

Look, Mr. Mayor.  When you're done at City Hall, go back to being a tycoon in your eponymous skyscraper uptown, and all will be forgiven.  But if you're even thinking of trading in Gracie Mansion for the White House and hopscotching yourself to Washington -- where you dream the crowds'll go crazy embracing you as the Fiscal Savior of New York -- well, not so much.  Your path will be about as clear as the streets of Brooklyn, whose residents still couldn't move three days after the snowstorm.  And your travel outlook is the same as theirs: fuhgeddaboutit.  You ain't goin' nowhere.

[1] "Few Know Bloomberg's Party Affiliation, Poll Finds", New York Times, June 8, 2009, http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/06/08/few-know-bloombergs-party-affiliation-poll-finds/

[2] "New Yorkers Approve Limit of 2 Terms for City Officials," New York Times, November 3, 1993, http://www.nytimes.com/1993/11/03/nyregion/new-yorkers-approve-limit-of-2-terms-for-city-officials.html

[3] "City Government", Gotham Gazette, October 24, 2008 http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/searchlight/20081024/203/2690

[4] "N.Y. City Council extends term limits for mayor, other officials", CNN, October 23, 2008, http://articles.cnn.com/2008-10-23/politics/bloomberg.third.term_1_term-limits-public-vote-council-speaker-christine-quinn?_s=PM:POLITICS

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