October 14, 2009

The Thompson-Bloomberg Debate: "Mike Bloomberg Lied to the People of New York City"

There was a surreal moment during the debate when the Mayor honestly, and without cynicism, didn't think that his $200M in donations influenced or bought any support; that most recipients of his largess don't even know where the donation is coming from. And you know I believe that he believes that. He believes his money is pure, that it doesn't "buy votes" and endorsements, or influence people's opinions. Thompson nailed it perfectly when he said it is simply "pay to endorse politics." But Bloomberg is so rich, so revered, so insulated, so detached, that he actually doesn't believe his billions influence the system. It's been so long since he's been on a level playing field his self-perception is that he is always right side up; like assuming that "due north" is always whatever direction you are facing.

Does the issue of term limits trump the Mayor's record? Thompson avoided answering the question, when his answer should have been a resounding, YES. The law trumps, or at least it is supposed to trump, an individual’s record of accomplishment (which is really a matter of opinion and interpretation).

The only time I thought Bloomberg sounded at ease, and fully comfortable in himself, was when he was talking about development and real estate. You could tell that ruminating about large swaths of open Manhattan land gets him off.

Thompson's reply to a question on replacing Ray Kelly, as if replacing a commissioner after eight years is sacrosanct, should have been Bloomberg's own 2002 quote about length of service in government: “There’s no organization that I know that would put somebody in charge for a long period of time. You always want turnover and change. Eight years is great. You learn for four years. You can do for four years." Except for Mike and his team.

Someone in the next debate has to ask Bloomberg why he didn’t hold a public referendum to ask the voters about extending term limits. The voters need to be reminded that he could have asked their opinion, but he chose backroom deals to a public vote.

Bloomberg said “no” when asked if he would seek a fourth term and no one followed up with why we should believe him. On that issue or any other. If he takes the City to the new “level” he envisions, then what could stop him from taking New York to term four, or five, or even Beyond Thunderdome...
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