Bloomberg Defends Keaney, Offers Ethics Lesson

During his reelection campaign, Mayor Bloomberg regularly pounded the pulpit about the dangers of "politics as usual." But the Gospel According to Mayor Mike got a new chapter yesterday as the mayor defended his promotion of Maura Keaney, a top campaign aide who was fined $2,500 for hitting up union pals for political donations while negotiating with them over legislation.

It turns out that politics is like church, and that confession and penance can clear everything up.

As recorded by the Daily News' Kate Lucadamo, the mayor had this to say about Keaney's transgression of city ethics rules: "What she did, she did with the best of intentions. And when you screw up, you fess up to it, pay your penalty and get on with it."

This is a fairly different perspective than that offered by Bloomberg during his campaign, where he thundered that the city's past problems stemmed from the permanent political class that sees nothing wrong with bullying donations out of favor-seekers. There was, for instance, his stirring primary night speech where he proclaimed his reelection as being about "Progress, Not Politics."

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"We can't forget that it was 'politics as usual' that inflicted so much pain on our middle class by ruining the public school system, letting crime get out of control, and allowing our subways to break down and our parks to suffer," he said then. "There's a steep cost to politics as usual -- in failure, neglect, corruption, dysfunction, waste -- and the middle class always gets stuck with the bill. We can't afford to let that happen again."

Keaney now moves on to a brand new post as the Education Department's $143,000 a year Executive Director of External Affairs, a title that sounds suspiciously like it was lifted out of a Graham Greene novel. As the Times' Jim Dwyer reports, the mayor is sure Keaney is "going to be spectacular."


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