For those of us paid to type about city politics for a living, there can be no merrier Season’s Greetings than Mike Bloomberg’s new presidential tryout. For one thing, it gets mayoral aides clicking on all six cylinders when it comes to anonymous quote making, like this gem donated to the News‘ Adam Lisberg for his column about Bloomberg’s kickoff speech Wednesday about national economics before a selected crew of business honchos in Brooklyn:
“He literally sat down and wrote this out in longhand on a yellow legal pad,” said an aide close enough to know. “His attitude is, ‘I f—— know this stuff.'” (Since there are only six dashes after “f” I am guessing the aide did not say “freaking.”)
Lisberg described the event at the Brooklyn Navy Yard as “beautifully staged, artfully promoted and unmistakably aimed at presenting him as a man who could run America.”
Of special interest is the take on Bloomberg’s new foray by Joyce Purnick, the Times veteran who was allowed special sit-down time with the mayor and his team for her 2009 bio, “Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics.” Purnick was on WNYC this morning where she pointed out that the theme of Bloomberg’s speech — that America should learn from his New York successes — has a few holes:
“Wall Street bounced back because it got stimulus money,” said Purnick. She added that if Bloomberg wants credit for things that go right, he’s going to have take the rap for “things that do not go right.” Homelessness — still setting new records, despite a 2004 mayoral vow to cut its numbers by two-thirds is one, said Purnick. Rising city poverty is another.
In a column for WNYC’s politics blog, Purnick quotes avowedly pro-business Crain’s exec and former Ed Koch economics adviser Alair Townsend on the question of how much influence a mayor can have on the overall economy: “The mayor has done smart things,” says Townsend, ticking off energy, tax, and job training policies. She adds: “But it is all at the margins.”
But don’t count on this clear-eyed view dominating the discussion as Bloomberg keeps beating the 2012 drum, as he’ll do loudly at the No-Labels conference on Monday up at Columbia University.
Mayor Mike’s reach is so pervasive these days, and there are so many on his payroll, that he creates his own echo chamber.
Take these quotes from Hank Sheinkopf, the savvy consultant who has run campaigns all over the country, to Gabe Pressman about the favorable political landscape for a Bloomberg candidacy:
“We’re living at a very critical time. Many voters are disgusted with both parties. It’s an era of irrational surprises. Fewer people are voting because they don’t think Democrats or Republicans are understanding their needs or promising to help.
It’s a crisis like nothing we’ve seen since the Civil War. The tax package has disappointed the people. Unemployment is high. We’re on a collision course with our own ineptitude. The greatness of the country is at risk. Bloomberg is right about that.”
And that’s only a taste of the serious money that will be feeding the helium pumps as Bloomberg tries to launch this latest trial balloon.
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 10, 2010