Monday, November 8, 2010

Bloomberg, Hubris, and That Pesky Third Term

In 2008, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg convinced the city council to bend the law in his
favor. He was able to get the city council to pass a law allowing a three-term maximum for incumbent
mayors where there had previously been a two-term limit. 2008 was a desperate time, with Wall Street
crumbling and the economy in dire straights.

He persuaded the council to extend the limit so that he could run again and let the people decide if they
wanted him to continue navigating them through the treacherous waters of recession. Many felt that
Bloomberg's expertise in the financial sector would be a boon, and that to change leadership at such a
pressing time would only further exacerbate the problem, and so he was elected for a third time.

Now, as his third term is winding down, Mayor Bloomberg wants to change the law back to the way it
is was. Two terms for everybody else but he, who would go down as the city's last three-term mayor in
history. A spokesman for the mayor said, "Bloomberg supported three terms only for himself because
the situation was extraordinary." This after being a staunch of opponent of expanding term limits, even
going so far as to call council members proposing a vote for an extra term "disgraceful."

Bloomberg claims he was persuaded otherwise once aware of the gravity of this "extraordinary"
situation, but now, he wants to revoke the privilege for all his successors to come. This is a blatant
example of political arrogance, one that will allow Bloomberg to own his claim as the last three-term
mayor in the city's history.

It is like a child retiring on the playground as "king of the mountain" so others cannot be king
themselves; Bloomberg wants the distinction all to himself. He has bent the law to massage his ego
already, and now is bending it back to where it was to secure his place in history. I'm sure he likes the
ring of it: "New York's last three-term Mayor, Michael Bloomberg." He will presumably relish in his
title until another extraordinary time, with another extraordinary leader able to play the city council to
his or her advantage. Or maybe, just maybe, lawmakers will wise up before then.

Edward Stern, Guest Blogger

1 comment:

Pierre V. Ross said...

so we should wait for someone to play truman to his roosevelt?