Political Animal


October 25, 2012 3:44 PM Ignoring Michael Bloomberg

By Ed Kilgore

Before getting into the issue of the insufferable egocentrism of Michael Bloomberg, let me confess something: I’ve spent my whole adult life in a state of chronic annoyance with Gotham Chauvinism in media and culture. Growing up in the Deep South, I pitied those kids (and there were some) who worshiped before the Great Apple Idol and fantasized about moving there as soon as they could afford it. It bugged me that you needed a good working knowledge of New York geography and history to navigate a significant portion of American literature, films and even sports coverage. And the famous New Yorker disdain for the rest of benighted humanity didn’t help. I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine World Capital if we have to have one, and I know I’d enjoy visiting there more often that I have, and would probably enjoy many aspects of living there if I had to reason to do so. So forgive me, New Yorkers in our readership; we all have our irrational prejudices, much as you probably have about this guy:

So it’s unsurprising I’ve never paid much attention to the Michael Bloomberg Really Ought To Run Our Country meme, any more that I credited the media-inflated presidential aspirations of such past New York mayors as John Lindsay or Rudy Giuliani. Yes, he’s incredibly rich, and sure, he’s done some good things as mayor, and of course, he’s right that the NRA-imposed moratorium on gun legislation is an abomination and that same-sex marriage ought to be legal everywhere, instantly. But an actual New Yorker (or at least someone who writes for the New York Observer), Jim Newell, captured better than I ever could the arrogance of Bloomberg’s latest demands that the two parties and its politicians bend to his particular points of view:

If you see Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the street on the No. 4 train in the next week or two, do offer him a cup of cocoa and an hour or two of your time, to listen. He is sad. Neither of the presidential candidates have had the courage, the will, the determination to stick it to their entire coalitions of supporters in exchange for the endorsement of the Mayor of New York City.
He gives each of them a checklist of competing priorities, and what do they do? They disagree with some of them. Mitt Romney will not endorse same-sex marriage; President Obama refuses to cease his domestic reconstruction of the Soviet Union. Neither will ban guns. What’s a billionaire 22 times over left to do but throw change at people like Scott Brown and otherwise whine to the New York Times about how he can’t get what he wants?….
Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t like Mr. Obama because he’s placed light restrictions on large banks that help New York City balance its budget when they inflate to ungodly proportions in fake-good times. That’s his prerogative. What would it cost to procure the endorsement of this one man, who’s most known nationally right now as the jerk who won’t let hardworking folk purchase big-ass cups of soda pop? Too much, for very little.
Mr. Bloomberg sounds like a guy who really, really wants to endorse Mitt Romney, doesn’t he? He likes that Mitt Romney is rich. He made a lot of money doing whatever in the financial sector—Mr. Bloomberg loves this. But Mr. Romney won’t support gun control or action against climate change, because those are directly against what his coalition supports, so, yeah, no Bloomberg endorsement there, and who cares about this guy anyway?

Not me.

UPDATE: I should make it clear my comments on New York were half-facetious and in any event far less abrasive than much of what I regularly say about my native South. But I must remonstrate with commenter Nancy Cadet that I by no means intend to be “dismissive” about New York. Love it or hate it, or (as in the case of most Americans) some of both, you can’t “dismiss” New York! I don’t care how many electoral votes the Empire State has lost, it will remain the economic and cultural capital of the country for the foreseeable future.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • Larry Eitel on October 25, 2012 3:54 PM:

    Ed. I agree with everything you say. But please don't equate our goofy mayor's narcissism with the culture of an entire city. We are actually a pretty grounded bunch of people - at least outside of Midtown.

  • Kathryn on October 25, 2012 4:02 PM:

    Amen brother, started to read the article about Bloomburg's disappointment with the candidates. Only got a couple of paragraphs into it when the whine got to me. It is possible to have too much self regard.

  • Gummo on October 25, 2012 4:02 PM:

    What Larry Eitel said.

    Bloomberg lost all credibility in our fair city when he blatantly bought himself a third term as mayor which was at the time against the law. No problem! He bought himself a change in the law, too.

  • David in NY on October 25, 2012 4:05 PM:

    Bloomberg is a real blockhead. Really he's Romney with just a few different priorities. But he could have given a version of that talk about the 47% and meant it.

    It is a shame that City government here gives the Mayor total control of everything, because it lets guys like Giuliani and Bloomberg get even bigger heads than they started out with.

  • David in NY on October 25, 2012 4:11 PM:

    "Only got a couple of paragraphs into it when the whine got to me ..."

    His actual voice is a whine. Not sure where it came from -- he's from Boston originally, I think, but he's all nasal all the time. Must be his personality.

  • David in NY on October 25, 2012 4:14 PM:

    Also, since I'm still annoyed. The only time I've ever been in his presence, he disparaged his daughter for not being smart. He was, to be sure, in the presence of some incredibly bright high school students. But dumping on his own kid by comparison was truly without class.

  • KK on October 25, 2012 4:15 PM:

    He is not from here. I also think he'd easily endorse Obama but he sells his machines and owes his billions to Wall St. I can imagine how many fools would pull their otherwise fine BBG machines out if he endorsed the evil Obama.
    Ed, you may dislike some of the NYC arrogance but I can assure you, we despise the South, other then the weather and some of the food. The ignorance down there just hurts.

  • Anonymous on October 25, 2012 4:15 PM:

    I have lived in the NY area my whole life. I have never understood the resentment of people around the country. Most New Yorkers are nothing like they are pictured in the media.
    As far as Mayor Mike goes his influence is really limited. The idea that he can influence events on a national scale because he is wealthy is overdrawn. Most New Yorkers neither love him or hate him. Actually he rarely moves the needle. I do like his gun control efforts though. If his money can make that a crusade more power to him.

  • Nancy Cadet on October 25, 2012 4:26 PM:

    The New York Observer is a haven for conservatives (see the editorial board's endorsement of Romney for President), so I would take the snarky, nasty tone of this excerpt discussing a liberal, socially progressive Republican official and millionaire with several grains of salt, or cups of cappuccino , or leaves of arugula....I don't care about Evan Bayh's or Harold Ford Jr's opinions either, but somehow the MSM lionized certain figures and gives them lots of coverage. Contrast that to the fantastic, hard working and smart progressives --activists, public intellectuals, social commentators or poltical candidates whose thoughts would be unremarkable in Western Europe, but are considered virtually seditious here.

    I'm a native New Yorker, never voted for Bloomberg, and know him as a rich carpetbagger, but still don't appreciate Ed's dismissive writing in this context about my city or its place in popular culture/consciousness. I'd rather be in Paris, but tant pis....j'y suis.

  • SadOldVet on October 25, 2012 4:57 PM:

    While my background is rooted in the midwest, I share your distain for the over-rated, self-inflated egos of both New York City & especially Bloomberg.

    Bloomberg actually has some beliefs that he is willing to stand up for; compared to RawMoney whose only discernable beliefs are in money and the Mormontology Cult. Bloomberg is essentially a repuke at heart, but has views on gun control, climate change, same sex marriage and a few other areas that are each an automatic disqualifier for nomination by the repuke party. He knows that he can never get the nomination of either viable party and it probably frustrated the hell out of him.

  • Anonymous on October 25, 2012 5:06 PM:

    @ KK... I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Southerner (mother from Arkansas, father from North Carolina, raised in Virginia) who has lived in Norhteastern Nj for over 30 years. I worked in Manhattan for 25 years, most of that time with global financial firms.

    Yes, of course, there are ignorant Southerners. But proportionally, there are just as many, if not more, ignorant natives of the NYC metro area. In addition, their parochialism is well-nigh beyond belief. If I had a dollar for every person I've ever met from Long Island who has never set foot in New Jersey, I'd be a wealthy man.

    I'm glad to hear that you despise the South. I trust that means that when I go back for visits, I'll never encounter you. And please... convince all of your friends and family as well to stay away. We really like the South much better when you lot are where you belong.

  • TCinLA on October 25, 2012 5:07 PM:

    The world would be a better place if Al Qaeda had managed to blow up New York City on 9/11. I found myself (for once) rooting for the Confederate spies in "Copper" and their plot to burn NYC to the ground with Greek Fire in 1864.

  • hornblower on October 25, 2012 5:26 PM:

    These seem like comments on Yahoo. Let's end this session.

  • KK on October 25, 2012 5:26 PM:

    Unfortunately one cannot retract posts. I kid, honestly. After retreading it I saw that it looked serious. I was waiting to get a signal to repost and apologize to all the lovely thoughtful southerners. So please do accept my apology. A cheap, gratuitous flame.
    And Captcha has made it even harder.

  • jjm on October 25, 2012 6:23 PM:

    Doh. What's with this? The GOP has tried every which way to diminish Obama's accomplishments, and Bloomberg has tried to look non-GOP-ish. But this does take a bit of the cake, doesn't it?

    Seriously, Obama got passed more and more progressive legislation in his first two years in office than ANY OTHER president in a full eight.

    Bush only created 2 million jobs over his eight years, with no major recession; for Obama the record is 5.3 million with a near depression.

    Where or what has Bloomberg been drinking lately? GOP Kool-aid?

    And I don't ascribe his views to "New York" -- they're better ascribed to his enormous wealth. It seems to stupidize people.

  • Madeleine Begun Kane on October 25, 2012 7:48 PM:

    I write this as a life-long New Yorker:

    Open Limerick To Michael Bloomberg
    By Madeleine Begun Kane

    Dear Mike, I have long been a fan,
    But alas, you're no longer my man:
    Prez endorsement? You waffle,
    Though Romney is awful.
    Need attention? Find something to ban!

    Open Limerick To Michael Bloomberg

  • Objective Dem on October 25, 2012 11:02 PM:

    I like that you use music with your posts but keep in mind that you should pick songs that support your view, not ones that diminish who you are.

    I really hated the Buck Owens song. It is nothing but a bunch of stupid stereotypes and regressive attitudes. I particularly hated the line about seeing stuff that would shame Sodom and Gomorrah. Don't you find that a bit homophobic?

  • Millsteam Pigworker on October 26, 2012 8:42 AM:

    Brooklyn born and bred here, with plenty o' deep deep prejudices against the South. But please, let's not assume that we Yankees -- or Mets -- don't dig the Bakersfield Sound. That's like saying there are no Velvet Underground fans south of the Mason/Dixon and as the musical history of Athens, GA tells us, that's simply not true.

    That said, I recently got to tell a Marist pollster that I thought Bloomberg was D: The Worst Mayor In New York History. Felt good, too.

  • Anonymous on October 26, 2012 11:39 AM:

    I donít care how many electoral votes the Empire State has lost, it will remain the economic and cultural capital of the country for the foreseeable future.

    It's true that New York City is the cultural capital of the United States. Which is a pretty damning indictment if you think about it.

  • Robert Waldmann on October 26, 2012 12:05 PM:

    I'm pretty sure New Yorkers other than Alvey Singer* and Maybe Woody Allen don't grasp what non New Yorkers think of them (and the very thought that there I just typed non New Yorkers).

    I grew up just south of the Mason Dixon line in a rich liberal suburb of DC and I resent New York arrogance. Look to earn the resentment of a privileged child of the rich area near the capital of the strongest country the world has ever seen, you gotta work at it.

    *for the kids the Woody Allen character in Annie Hall.

  • ninja3000 on October 26, 2012 12:36 PM:

    FYI, the "Michael Bloomberg Really Ought To Run Our Country meme" likely did not originate with my fellow New Yorkers.

  • Anonymous on October 26, 2012 4:55 PM:

    To TCinLA: You may not like New York. That's your prerogative. But your vicious, obnoxious, narrowminded post here dignifies neither you nor this blog.

    Regretting that Al Qaeda didn't destroy the city hardly makes you look like some kind of terrific person, you know? In just what way do such prejudice and hate make you a superior being?

    I'd suggest that many of those who rail about New York have very little knowledge of what New Yorkers are really like. Even if you've visited, if you never get out of Times Square, you know nothing--nothing--about this city, which is full of hardworking, taxpaying, not-rich people--like me. If you get your information from TV and the movies, you know absolutely nothing about life here or the people who live here. So turn off the TV, stop believing everything you see, and give your prejudices a rest, OK?