A birthday is just a birthday. The mayor today is who he was yesterday and the day before. But it is also true that in recent months, he has refined his act, been even more dismissive of political considerations than he was before — probably not because of his age, but because he has less than two years left in office. That makes this legacy time.
All in all, 2011 was a decent year for New York. Compared with the widespread political dysfunction in Washington, New York seems to have regained some of its old moxie.
A trusted editor of mine would always intone, "You cannot take the politics out of politics," especially when money is involved, which it usually is. Hence the corollary: you cannot take the money out of politics.
It is at times like this that Mayor Michael Bloomberg must be wondering, yet again, why it was that he wanted a third term. The Occupy Wall Street protest is a headache for him. The world is watching and he is the man in charge of the city. If he antagonizes the protesters, he could wind up with a riot on his hands. If he lets them continue to protest, he looks weak and indecisive.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg must be taken aback by the dust-up over his effort to hide the real reason for one of his deputy mayor's resignation. The mayor's conduct was quintessential Bloomberg. Why was anyone even surprised?
Joyce Purnick, WNYC political analyst, longtime New York Times political writer and author of Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, discusses Mayor Bloomberg's use of private money to fight poverty and to fund Regents testing—and what New York City will do when it no longer has a billionaire mayor.
Turning a Congressional special election into a referendum on President Obama’s policies towards Israel makes perfect sense – to former Mayor Edward Koch. Koch, after all, thought up the idea and is off and running in pursuit of his plan to treat the local contest for a Queens-Brooklyn seat like an exercise in foreign policy.
To pretty much everyone else, even friends and supporters who generally agree with him, Koch’s latest quest is quite a stretch in both logic and politics.
The repercussions from the News of the World hacking scandal are slowly spreading across the Atlantic to American shores. Yesterday, the FBI opened an investigation into whether News Corp. employees tried to hack into phones belonging to 9/11 victims and their family members. They began the investigation after Republican Rep. Peter King, chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, made a call for the probe. In related news, Rebekah Brooks, the embattled chief executive of News International, News Corporation's British newspaper subsidiary, has agreed to step down following weeks of political and public pressure.
New Yorkers can, for the moment at least, relax. An adult is in charge.
For longer than the public would like to remember, New York's state government has been dysfunctional, its governors ineffective, erratic or both. Now comes Andrew Cuomo, who, during his first six months in office, has actually gotten things done. Even those who do not approve of his policies have to acknowledge his mastery of Albany's maddening game of three-dimensional chess.
How could it be? How could savvy, ambitious Anthony Weiner, the Congressman many thought would be New York City's next mayor, show such a lapse in judgment? His sexually tinged online exchanges with women, and repeated lies about them, did not mesh any which way with his reputation as a bright and brash politician with a big future.
Of all the controversies Mike Bloomberg does not need, Bermudagate has got to top the list. It must boil his blood, the relentless focus on where he travels when. Problem is, he has nobody to blame but himself.
Since he took office, Bloomberg has refused to let the public in on his whereabouts when he leaves the city. It is an old story. Two weeks after he moved into City Hall, he disappeared on a Monday. Here he is, the new boy in town, everyone focused on and fascinated by him, and he’s gone? Turns out he went to his alma mater, Johns Hopkins, in Baltimore. When he realized that a New York Post reporter had trailed him, he threatened to call the campus police and told the reporter, "I have no interest in talking to you."
That was nine years ago -- and nothing seems to have changed.
If Michael Bloomberg wasn’t such a practical man, he could be forgiven for preaching secession by now. Yes, independence for New York City — the centerpiece of Norman Mailer’s quirky platform in 1969 when, with Jimmy Breslin as his running mate, he campaigned for mayor. They did not, you may recall, win.
It is looking as though the public had it right all along. Two terms and out makes good sense for New York City mayors. A year into his third term and Mike Bloomberg has been infected with the disease known as third-termism. It is a political ailment that gets the best of them, from Fiorello LaGuardia to Ed Koch. They stay in City Hall too long and suffer the consequences in the form of trouble, trouble, trouble.
Though Bloomberg insists that he will not run for president, he clearly likes the spotlight, and preaching about his brand of New York pragmatism is one way to nourish the hope that lightning will strike. If it doesn’t, it gives him a national forum during his lame duck mayoral years.
There is, however, a problem with the idea of a United States of Centrism: New York is not the rest of the country. Its politics are radically different from those anywhere else in the nation, and so is its economy.
After nine years of Bloomberg rule, New Yorkers should not have been surprised by their mayor’s pick of Cathleen Black to be the new schools chancellor. Of course he chose someone with no connection to or experience with public education. Of course he picked a wealthy elitist with a professional lifetime in magazine publishing. Of course he selected an alumna of Chicago parochial schools instead of an educator or anyone who knew anything at all about education to run the largest public school system in the country.
The Black choice is classic, quintessential, in-your-face Bloomberg. He hasn’t packed his government with many such elitists, but he loves unorthodoxy and always has.
Sarah Palin and Michael Bloomberg each endorsed candidates all around the country this election season. Joyce Purnick, longtime New York Times political writer and author of Mike Bloomberg: Money, Power, Politics, and Shushannah Walshe, senior reporter for The Daily Beast and co-author of Sarah from Alaska: The Sudden Rise and Brutal Education of a New Conservative Superstar, take a look at how those candidates did and what impact the endorsements may have had.