Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Bloomberg Is Off the Rose

My father had a penchant for mangling people’s surnames. Although some of his mispronunciations were sincerely delivered, I long suspected that many more were intentional—his inimitable way of showing disdain for certain folks, most notably in the political class.

His more memorable mispronunciations were of a recent vintage and targeted New York City mayors Giuliani and Bloomberg. Instead of Giuliani, it was always “Gooliani,” and Bloomberg was “Blumberg.” Now, my dad clearly heard these famous fellows’ names mentioned on the television from time to time, but it didn’t deter him from getting their names wrong always and every day. And although he voted for both men in his lifetime, I imagine he just couldn’t bring himself to fully respect anybody who plied his or her trade in the world’s second oldest profession.

While on the subject of Mayor Bloomberg—for whom I voted for three times, with decreasing enthusiasm I might add—the bloom is definitely off the rose. This week’s blizzard has unquestionably tarnished his veneer as a manager with a golden touch. But I don’t blame him for the snow-cleanup snafus. These things happen. However, I do blame Mayor Mike for his runaway haughtiness—his billionaire’s tin ear that has manifested itself through the years, and for which I largely overlooked because he was much preferred to his hack Democrat opponents in this one-party town.

In the immediate aftermath of the snowstorm, Bloomberg’s initial reaction to legitimate complaints was a testy bristle. Festooned in his green Christmas sweater vest, the mayor said something to the effect that the world’s not coming to an end. In other words: Shut your mouths and shovel your snow. I recall him uttering something similarly callous when a smoking ban was enacted in city bars that were previously exempt from the prohibition. Granted, these business establishments traffic in more than a few unhealthy life choices. But they serve adult beverages to adults with free will in a city that never sleeps in the land of the free. Not surprisingly, some proprietors feared their businesses would suffer, or even go under with an enforced ban on smoking. “If a business can’t make it, another one will take its place,” said the always-empathetic mayor.

The third term has not exactly been a charm for Bloomy, who single-handedly cast asunder term limit laws to get it. I don’t know…but maybe two terms of our billionaire nanny may have been enough. And if salt is banned in city restaurants anytime soon, you'll know who to blame.

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