04 November 2009

A Victory

New Yorkers who have fumed for a year over how Michael Bloomberg overturned term limits, and simultaneously overturned democracy in the city, should have reason to smile this morning.

No, the blinkered billionaire megalomaniac did not lose. But for a man who spent $100 million on his campaign—"a sum without equal in the history of municipal politics that gave him a 14-to-1 advantage in campaign spending," as the Times reported; and who had no strong opposition to speak of, he did not win in any way that the Bloomberg administration could call satisfactory, let along a mandate.

51% to 46%. After 12 months of non-stop campaigning, of spending tens of thousands of dollars a day, of sending out whole forests of mailings, Bloomberg could not make half the city like him or forgive him for his highhanded power grab. Thompson was not a strong candidate. He had no money. No one knew what he was about. He didn't articulate his positions well, or give you a reason to vote for him. Therefore, it's a safe assumption that at least one out of every two Thompson votes was not a vote for the comptroller, but a vote decidedly, angrily against Bloomberg. The Times reported that "exit polls indicated that 45 percent of voters said that Mr. Bloomberg’s handling of term limits was a factor in their decision not to vote for him."

Rest assured Bloomberg and his minions feel the rebuke. Remember, our mayor ran for a third term not just because he wished to retain his hold on power, but because he likes being universally acknowledged and loved as a great leader and forward thinker. He's craves attention and praise. But he's lost our love, now. Even his supporters are kind of "meh" about him now, if you've read the various news reports in recent weeks. Read this, today, from the Times:

Stav Brinbaum, 37, a Web producer from Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, described his own vote for the mayor as “unfortunate.”

“I feel he bought himself the election,” Mr. Brinbaum said, and “ran a smear campaign against a nonexistent opponent.” But, he added, “He’s doing a really good job.”

“If there were somebody stronger running against him, I would have happily voted for them,” said Paul Ranson, 56, a designer also from Prospect Heights. “But there’s not, so I unhappily voted for Bloomberg.”

Some support base!

As expected, the turnout will be among the lowest in New York history, the voters enthusiasm sapped by the unfairness of the election. The third term debacle (and it was a debacle, for us, for City Council, and, inevitably, for the mayor) has ruined Bloomberg's credibility, forever besmirched his reputation. He's the man who first rigged the election, and then bought the election—and didn't even do a very good job at that, since he had to run his campaign at full speed in order to squeak by. Now, he can be considered corrupt and weak.

It's going to be a grim, cheerless four years. But at least it won't be grim only for us.


Anonymous said...

Sorry, but it seems you may be missing another reason for the low turn-out: the virtual certainty of the result. I support Bloomberg, but I had work yesterday. And because I knew there was no chance he would lose, I didn't vote. I'm not proud of that fact, but I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who made that choice. I only mean to say you may be overestimating displeasure with hizzoner. I'd say a more likely estimate would be to put the total number of thompson voters against the total number of eligible voters -- that'd give you a better estimate of dissatisfaction.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Good point, anon.

Anon said...

Well, I'm the Anonymous poster from above, and you've just made a life-long reader out of me. Not because your response suggests agreement, but because you took a comment that disagreed with your post, and handled it in a civil and professional manner. Just when I had lost all hope for the internet.... Thanks!

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Thanks, Anon. You made a good point that I agreed with; certainly of the result probably did keep people away. When people feel their vote doesn't make a difference, they stay home.

MartinD28 said...

I know this is Monday morning quarterbacking, but its kind of amazing to think that Anthony Weiner would have won--easily--if he had run. Then again, maybe Bloomberg would've literally handed out hundred-dollar bills in the event of a Weiner run...

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I thought the same thing, Martin, when I read Weiner's comments this morning. I'm sure he's kicking himself right now for withdrawing.

Anonymous said...

Thats is exactly why my vote was
for Thompson,( who had the personality of an undertaker),a protest vote against Emperor Bloomberg.
Now I wonder how many more hi-rise
buildings will be made in this city
as Bloomberg raises the tax burden for small landlords ,so that they have to sell to developers, Oh my!