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October 28, 2009 @ 12:31 pm

Notes from a Reader: Can We Please End This Pretend Mayoral Election?

From Bob Salzman, Barking at Traffic:

Its time to stop the silly charade that New York City is having a mayoral election.

Its just too painful to watch Bloomberg pretending to be interested in what non-billionaires have to say as we all wait for the fake election to be over with. This is an $85 million acquisition – not an election. We should at least be honest about it. The media should back off – cover it minimally and focus on something more interesting – like Halloween.

My nausea level boiled over last week watching Bloomberg sit quietly beaming as Giuliani stoked up a conservative Jewish group with his trademark brand of race baiting and fear pandering. it was a reminder of why Giuliani’s poll numbers with New Yorkers were in the toilet before he shamelessly exploited the nation’s grief after 9/11 to market his “America’s Mayor” brand. Let’s not forget his venomous, sneering attacks on Obama last summer before whooping mobs of angry white Republicans. Although, he has done one good thing – he resigned from the Donald Trump migratory fowl nest combover club.

Remember in September 2001 when Giuliani tried to use 9/11 to extend his term because he felt New Yorkers couldn’t live without him? Even in September 2001 the response was “whoa – what are you talking about – isn’t this still a democracy?” Fast forward to 2008, and Bloomberg rolls over us by rolling out the power of his bank account to buy the right to a third term.

I used to like Bloomberg because he was the anti-Giuliani – the non-ideological, boring, competent, engineer whose billions had untethered him from this city’s traditional power bases – the mayor as CEO. In this campaign Bloomberg does not appear to be untethered from anything and stands for nothing except as an unvarnished spectacle of American democracy as a rich man’s hobby.

What would it have cost him to show a smidge of daylight between himself and Giuliani – a one trick pony – government by racial division and temper tantrums? Would Bloomberg’s conservative base have threatened to vote for William Thompson if he had said even something bland like “I don’t agree with Mayor Giuliani on everything.”

Of course what he should have said was – “I don’t agree with Mayor Giuliani’s position that voting for a black person will cause NYC to go back to being plagued by crime and crack.”

After Bloomberg’s election in 2001 a cab driver asked me “what is it about that position that would make a man spend $60 million to acquire it?” I still don’t have an answer to that question and now his campaign has spent $85 million – with a week to go before election day.

But I guess for a bored gazillionaire, it’s alot more bang for one’s buck than plunking down $35 million for a ride on the space shuttle.

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