Patrick Healy's NYT story about weakening Democratic control of New York City, as exemplified by Freddy Ferrer's sacrificial campaign against Michael Bloomberg, strains itself trying to paint Bloomberg as a typical Republican, and would be laugh-out-loud funny if it were a little more self-aware. There's a bare paragraph of lip service to the fact that Bloomberg's rhetoric and track record are "pretty liberal", and there's this:
Mr. Bloomberg has effectively driven ideological wedges among Democrats: They split sharply over embracing him as a socially liberal mayor who reduces crime, maintains services without raising taxes too much, and keeps corruption and special interests out of City Hall.
Since when are high-profile Republican elected officials noted for their willingness to raise taxes at all? Bill Owens in Colorado just ended his political career for realizing he owed more to his oath of office than he did to Grover Norquist. Healy seems to be arguing that the modern dynamic is between nice reasonable Republicans who promise to raises taxes just enough, and nutty Democrats who pledge to raise them rather too much.
The story's full of vague fearmongering about the weakening of municipal Democratic institutions, but it asserts with nothing but conventional wisdom that Bloomberg's limitless personal fortune is the deciding factor, rather than the icing on his having governed as a dedicated, innovative, technocratic liberal.
Bloomberg was a registered Democrat until he decided to get into the race in 2001 and found the Democratic primary overly crowded. Was that opportunistic? Sure. But with Republicans like this, the need for Democrats is markedly diminished. To the best of my recollection I've voted for one Republican in my life, but on this votin' day, I'd take Bloomberg over Seattle's confused Democratic executive Greg Nickels in as much time as it takes to fill in a little oval. In my enthusiasm, I might even tear through the paper. 10:24PM «
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