Bloomberg racing out of the hearts of New Yorkers

Opinion Column

Photo by Jim Hendricks

Photo by Jim Hendricks

With a huge natural disaster, the focus tends to be the reaction of those in charge and those who wish they were.

Coming as it did just before the presidential election, the wreckage of Sandy threw a serious kink in the Obama and Romney campaigns just as the presidential race was getting tighter than 25-year-old senior prom pants.

Under the circumstances, it was a no-win situation for both President Obama and his challenger, Mitt Romney. Everything they did was scrutinized by the other side, broken down, misrepresented, criticized and tossed back at them with the worst possible spin.

For the most part, both came through it about as well as could be expected, balancing the exhibition of concern for the storm victims with the fact that while Sandy may have shut down the subways in New York, it didn't cancel election day.

Frankly, the best thing either one of them could have done was get out of town and campaign or whatever, while letting the state and federal recovery experts do their jobs. Siphoning off personnel and resources to accompany Obama or Romney while they walked around and looked with great empathy and concern at the disaster areas.

But the worst reaction by an elected official has to go to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who I suspect many New Yorkers would like to send packing just now.

I'm not sure what was more amazing Friday -- Bloomberg coming to his senses or the pure-out dumbedness -- as my old friend Duke Petty used to describe this self-inflicted mental affliction -- that preceded it.

After the worst storm in heaven-knows-when slammed into the Northeast, bringing the City That Never Sleeps to a standstill and swamping New Jersey, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last week that the New York Marathon would be going on as scheduled today.

That is, until the sheer stupidity of trying to pull off a marathon while thousands and thousands of people are without power, food and places to sleep created such a collective uproar that the mayor decided, well, maybe this isn't a good time for a road race.

Ya think, ya honor?

In initially defending his indefensible decision to go on with the race, Bloomberg invoked 9/11 and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani, saying he'd made the right choice in 2001 to go on with the marathon two months after the terrorist attacks.

"It pulled people together, and we have to find some ways to express ourselves and show our solidarity with each other," he was quoted by The Associated Press as saying. "You have to keep going and doing things, and you can grieve, you can cry and you can laugh all at the same time."

As one observer said, Bloomberg's mental boat very often doesn't have a paddle. It's almost surprising that he didn't send out cups -- no Big Gulp ones, of course, 12 ounces or less only -- so New Yorkers could start bucketing the water out of the subway tunnels.

Even after reluctantly doing the right thing, Bloomberg blew the apology, which you would think would have been to suffering constituents.

"I'm sorry," he said to those would were coming into New York for the race. "I fought the battle. And sometimes things don't work out."

But self-indulgent nature doesn't restrict itself to just elected officials. Here is a note from Reid Epstein of Politico, a pool reporter aboard Air Force One on Halloween as it was preparing for the 45-minute flight to New Jersey's Atlantic City, where Gov. Chris Christie was to meet President Obama.

After reporting critical information on what the president was wearing -- khaki pants, a blue windbreaker and brown hiking boots -- Epstein made the most inane comment of any I've seen in connection with the disaster:

"And on this Halloween, your pooler notes with some degree of sadness that Air Force One is out of the traditional on-board M&Ms."

Sometimes dumbedness knows no bounds.

Email Jim Hendricks at jim.hendricks@albanyherald.com.


FryarTuk 3 years ago

Could it be that you are pissed because Billionaire Mike didn't endorese your Mittens? Oh, my goodness, no. You reporter types never lose your objectivity do you? Bloomberg did reverse himself and make the correct decision. Maybe he didn't "dress it" in the right language but he did get there didn't he?


waltspecht 3 years ago

Blomberg bought every election he has won. He will just buy his way back into the New Yorker's hearts. That is exactly what is wrong with Politics.


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