Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Buyer's Remorse?

CAN'T HELP BUT NOTICE how testy Mike Bloomberg has been acting lately. Despite a tightly controlled, almost scripted narrative of a run for his third term, it hasn't been all smooth sailing for Bloomberg, who has recently squeezed in a full campaign season's worth of verbal blunders -- and it's still early June.

The most recent example came in the aftermath of Dategate: the First Couple jetting into New York City for dinner and a show. Asked how much the president's trip cost the City in security expenses, Billionayor Bloomberg swatted the question away while typically boiling everything down to tourism: "I can't think of anything that is better as an advertisement for our tourism industry, for Broadway, for our restaurants, for saying that this is a safe city and an affordable city."

Then, as if intentionally trying to compound the absurdity of calling New York City "affordable," he belted out the following gem: "The President doesn't get paid that much. He's on a budget, too."Well, as you might expect, the tabloids let Bloomberg have it for that one, with one Daily News story headlined:

Get a clue, Bloomy! Mayor touts Obamas' 'affordable' night on Broadway

The Times couldn't resist piling on. As Michael Barbaro put it in a fairly caustic Monday column:
"It was the latest puzzling remark in a re-election campaign filled with colorful foot-in-mouth mayoral utterances. 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." This kind of foot-in-mouth syndrome would have to manifest itself on almost a daily basis from now until the election in November for the 67-year-old frontrunner to be denied his third term. Toward that end, Bloomberg has already spent $20 million of a projected $60 million on radio and TV ads.

"I'm not feeling very lucky. I'm sorry I can't agree with that. My children are not feeling very lucky either. It's a very puzzling comment to make." -- also revealing that, "When my husband died it was on the media before they called to tell me."

One of the free daily papers here today noted that Bloomberg has spent 10 times more than his closest challenger -- City Comptroller William Thompson, who is 15 points behind in the latest poll. Then a chart showed what the $20 million could restore to the mayor's 2010 austerity budget:

$12 million -- cuts to prekindergarten classes

$3.8 million -- afterschool programs

$561,000 -- home meals for senior citizens

$1.5 million -- literacy classes

$500,000 -- Housing Court

$1.3 million -- dropout prevention

$360,000 -- anti-predatory lending awareness

Of course, the whole premise is kind of unfair -- the campaign spending is coming out of Bloomberg's own deep pockets while the cuts are part of a $59 billion municipal budget -- but I'm not hating it. Because after all 20 million dollars is an obscene amount of money to spend on a race that is for all intents and purposes uncontested.


ib said...

For an outsider on the other side of the water, this is all news; ill-informed as I am.

What an ass. What a king of asses, coronations be damned.

ib said...

Damn entertaining reading, too.

The Warden said...

Thanks, ib. I see Gordon Brown's days are numbered too. He's about as popular as Bush was his last few years.

ib said...

Yes, "our" Gordon is something of an idiot. The former chancellor, no less, whose fix on reassuring the voting public on policies of fiscal soundness is to proclaim from the rooftops that he is a firm fan of the X-Factor. And champion of Susan Boyle, at a pinch, just to cement his Scots roots.

What a w@nker.