Monday, May 16, 2011

Mike Bloomberg Better Start Swimmming-Or He'll Sink Like a Stone

In yesterday's NY Post Michael Goodwin takes apart the lackluster Bloomberg third term: " The winter of public discontent with Mayor Bloom berg has turned into the spring of white-hot anger. If he's got any more Kool- Aid in his emergency kit, Bloomy better break it out now because the natives are decidedly restless."

From our standpoint, it's about time the folks woke up to the man's sheer incompetence-and if the press were paying better attention this reality might have made it into the public consciousness a bit earlier than this. Put simply, the man's got no game and all of the PR moves now won't put this Humpty Dumpty back together again.

As Goodwin points out: "Starting with the Christmas blizzard debacle, the grievances against him continue to pile up. Hardly a day goes by without a new scandal headline, yet he seems unable or unwilling to respond in ways that would move the needle. He spent several millions on TV ads and direct mail, but it didn't work. He fired his unpopular choice for schools chancellor, Cathie Black, but didn't get a boost from that, either."

And we like the description of the mayor's own defense as a "loser's narrative." Bloomberg doesn't understand that sometimes a cigar is only a cigar, and in his case the wrong moves are simply that-not in any way a sign of his righteousness in the face of the public's ignorance:

"Most peculiar, he seems stuck in a loser narrative -- that he is unpopular because he is right and everybody else is wrong. His mind is shut tight against any view except his own -- bicycle lanes uber alles -- even as New Yorkers believe his third term is a bust."

What about the mayor's signature issue of education, the one that was hyped as his defining exemplar of excellence? Not much good news, it seems: "By a whopping 64-25 percent, voters turn thumbs down on his management of the schools. Among New Yorkers with children in those schools, 78 percent disapprove, and only 20 percent approve. Overall, by 57 to 23 percent, New Yorkers say his takeover of the schools has been a failure. That could put mayoral control in jeopardy for his successor, with the unions and their lawmaker puppets eager to curb City Hall's power."

And it turns out that the entire educational edifice was little more than a house of cards: "The fundamental reason is that he and his first chancellor, Joel Klein, sold themselves as national school reformers based largely on gains in standardized test scores. But when those scores fell by 30 percent in a single day, thanks to moderately higher state standards, the "mission accomplished" claim looked hollow and, frankly, fraudulent. With 75 percent of high-school grads needing remediation when they get to CUNY community colleges, rising graduation rates are also suspect."

What this all means is that Mike Bloomberg-despite all of the money he has lavished on not for profits in order to create a shadow army of supporters-has little support left among the cohort of regular New Yorkers: "For Bloomberg, this is beyond the lame-duck danger zone -- this has the makings of a collapse. Unless his attitude changes, and he is able to convince the public he is fully engaged, I don't see how he can substantially recover...In all its angles, his predicament threatens the essence of Bloomberg's cultivated image: savvy guardian of the public dollar, competent manager and historic school reformer."

In spite of the mayor's collapsing popularity, however, he continues to plow ahead in the promotion of his corrupt enterprise at the Iron Triangle-propped up by an equally corrupt Queens political establishment led by the old war horse Claire Shulman. As WPU continues to expose EDC's malfeasance at Willets Point this will be the last shoe to drop-and we expect it will be one with a pointy steel toe right to Mike Bloomberg's arrogant self image.