In the wake of perhaps the most venomous presidential election in United States history, one in which Democrats depended on and received a large portion of the electorate from the traditionally liberal state of New York, how is it that the last two mayors of our city have been Republicans? Simple: they are about as conservative as Michael Jackson is black.
In actuality, the “R” next to Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s name is only slightly more substantial than the term “Catholic” that John Kerry so pretentiously marketed in his 2004 presidential campaign. It is evident that in New York, a city that rivals only Los Angeles for its number of off-the-wall liberals, Republicans manage to draw support in local elections by moderating their party’s political platform.
The malevolent opposition between liberals and conservatives in the red state-blue state political divide can be traced to the reelection of President Bill Clinton in 1996, and further accentuated at President Bush’s election into office in 2000. This relatively new brand of disdain between the political extremes, largely sparked by Bush’s War on Terror, various appointments, and Social Security reform, has partitioned the United States into a divide unseen in this country since the civil rights movement.
Amidst an overwhelming aura of metropolitan snooty liberalism, there is a growing movement towards sensibility in New York, as our last two mayors and our current governor, George Pataki, have been “Republicans,” or rather, somewhat reasonable Democrats.
The New York City mayoral race will be taking place this November, and, as of now, it seems that the most viable option for the Democrats to defeat Bloomberg is local Bronx native and former Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer, a politician that is anything but moderate. As is the norm from New York Democrats, Ferrer is nothing short of a pseudo-socialist. His agenda is laden with education reform that entails enormous funding increases.
It is evident that the New York City public school system is in nothing short of an academic and disciplinary crisis. However, an increase in academic funding is not the solution here. The core idea behind an increase in education spending is to attract better teachers, a plan that is, quite frankly, silly.
I attended a small private Catholic elementary school on Long Island. The teachers were terrific, they were paid next-to-nothing and there was nothing extravagant about the school; my third grade computer class was equipped with 1985 Apples that ran about as fast as the old nun that taught the class. Despite our lack of the latest technology and exorbitant teaching salaries, I received an excellent elementary school education.
To think that offering higher teacher salaries will attract better teachers is absolutely ludicrous, as the teaching industry will always, no matter what the salary increase, be trumped by the money offered in the business world. Unless a teaching salary can compete with J.P. Morgan or Microsoft, it is frivolous to grant public school teachers a significant pay increase.
Good money does not equal good teaching.
“Today there is an education crisis in New York City,” Ferrer said on his website, www.ferrer2005.com. “And no small solution will solve this big problem. I’m calling on Wall Street – an industry that benefits most from educating our children and understands the value of an investment – to help us invest in our public schools.” The investment Ferrer speaks of is another subtle liberal attempt at taking from the rich private sector to feed the poor, a policy that has engrossed this country in a battle between capitalists and socialists. The education crisis is the city’s trickiest problems, as its roots lie in a disciplinary epidemic. Teachers are forced to fight violence and misconduct while attempting to manage an educational environment.
While Ferrer looks to spend Wall Street’s capital on what he calls an “investment,” Bloomberg fights on to construct his notorious West Side Stadium, a development that will cost tax payers billions of dollars. Despite the stringent opposition to the stadium’s fruition, it is evident that Bloomberg is to be trusted, if on anything, when it comes to economic decisions.
The billionaire businessman knows how to handle money, and his fiscal policies are what keep the mayor teetering towards the Republican side of the political spectrum. His push for a new Jets stadium is largely based on a desire to win an Olympic bid for New York, possibly a money-making gift to a city that has struggled to regain its economic gusto since Sept. 11. In the case of the West Side Stadium, Bloomberg demonstrates classic fiscal conservatism in the face of stereotypical liberal opposition. His plan is one of investment; if the city invests into the stadium for now, it will surely pay for itself in no time and trump the initial hit that tax payers would suffer at its construction.
Despite Bloomberg’s fiscal conservatism, the mayor has continually contorted his Republican affiliation. A former Democrat converted Republican, Bloomberg wavers between liberal policies of expanded government and conservative ideals of large-scale development and financial investment.
In the 2005 mayoral race, Democrats truly will win out, as their primary elections will display a plethora of the finest crazy liberals that New York has to offer, from Manhattan Borough President C. Virginia Field, to City Council Speaker Gifford Miller, to Ferrer.
Amidst an abundance of liberals battling for Democratic supremacy in the primary elections, New York conservatives are left only with a compromise: a liberal Republican in Mayor Bloomberg. As New York Republicans continue distancing their political platforms with that of their national counterparts, these New York faux-conservatives will undoubtedly lose support from right-wing voters, though it will not make a bit of a difference as they often times catch cross-over votes from a number of reasonable Democrats.
In the end, the race will most likely come down to a two-man battle between Bloomberg and Ferrer, a faceoff between a moderate money-making genius with the political personality of a jar of mayonnaise, and a liberal personable socialist with a trademark bushy moustache.
Liberalism throughout, I am left in virtual solitude amidst a vast sea of Democrats. New York is, and will always remain liberal. I take no notice.