The Brazen Word

After Sept. 11, 2001, the New York City mayoral elections have turned into a local election with national ramifications. Considering New York’s stature as the quintessential American city, its nature as the leader of free trade and a foreground for capitalism, and its people’s unequivocal fortitude and defiance in the face of disaster, the responsibility as the mayor of New York City is far greater than any other local politician.

The ties between Washington and New York have been strengthened in recent years, not only because Republicans have coincided in the White House and Gracie Mansion, but also because the national agenda against terrorism was founded in New York. While Republican Mayor Michael Bloomberg has maintained these ties to Washington, the 2005 Democratic mayoral primary candidates have used his relations to President Bush in order to incriminate the mayor.

In last week’s debates, C. Virginia Fields revealed the dark Republican underbelly of our ex-democratic mayor when she said, “Mike Bloomberg is a Republican. And this is the same Republican who supported George Bush for reelection and said that George Bush would be the best person for this city, and we all know that that simply is not true.” In liberal lingo, especially in the ultraliberal state of New York, linking someone to the name “Bush” is like robbing an Irishman of his garden gnome- it’s that low.

Despite Bloomberg’s links to the White House, for there is an “R” next to his name, New York Democratic voters seem to love him. Recent polls have revealed that if Bloomberg were to run in the Democratic primary, he would win the nomination handily. It is for this reason, and the fact that his City Hall and campaign staffs are largely steered by Democrats, that the Democrats running for New York City mayor find it impossible to avoid his looming shadow.

In an attempt to make the mayor look conservative (gasp), his Democratic counterparts have focused on his neglect of minorities and the poverty stricken. Primary favorite Fernando Ferrer pointed out in last week’s debates that, “Mike Bloomberg is a Republican; he supports Republican policies that have hurt this city. But Mike Bloomberg’s own policies as a Republican have hurt this city. Look, he hasn’t gotten serious about -despite his promises – affordable houses and apartments in this city. He hasn’t gotten serious about the dropout rate in this city that brings us all down. He hasn’t gotten serious about chronic unemployment in this city…He hasn’t gotten serious about poverty in this city. That’s a failure of his.” I guess if you say “Mike Bloomberg is a Republican” enough times, it will “seriously” stick in the minds of Democrats?

When Ferrer repeatedly emphasizes Bloomberg’s need to “get serious” about the aforementioned issues, it seems to mean that he has to invest more money into social programs, an idea that requires enormous financial investments. And the capital for these investments will come from where?

While not really explaining a plan on how to get more money for his many projects, Congressman Anthony Weiner has concocted perhaps the most miraculous political agenda I have ever heard of.

As explained in the primary debates and in his television advertisements, Weiner vows to give teachers a raise, hire more police officers, and develop a telecommunications contingency plan for police and firefighters all while executing a ten percent middle class tax cut. He likewise vows to increase taxes for the rich and cut New York’s, “most useless programs.” It is not clear on what programs he deems “useless,” who exactly fits into the middle class and rich demographics that he labels, or what he means when he vows to give principles the power to discipline students.

The only thing more outlandish than the numerous political promises made during the Democrats’ campaigns are the questions that were asked in the primary debates. In the exciting “lightning round” in which candidates could only give yes or no answers, the candidates were actually asked if they give money to panhandlers on the street. That is like asking them if they like puppies. Who in their right mind is going to say that they do not give money to the poor, especially in a primary for a political party largely dependent on poor voters?

One of my favorite responses to the questions asked in the debates came from uber-politician Weiner, when he was asked how many times per week he rode the subway. After the other candidates craftily claimed they rode the subway frequently, Weiner said, “About once or twice a week; the other times I’m in my hybrid car.” This has been the most blatant form of political speak seen in the mayoral campaigns, as Weiner managed to throw in his deep concern for the environment while answering how many times he used mass transit.

After the primaries are through, the Democratic primary winner will face-off against New York’s favorite Democrat in Mayor Bloomberg. When there is a Republican running for election in New York that is liked by more liberals than any other candidate, what hope does a Democrat have against him? Bloomberg will draw both Republicans and Democrats to the polls, as he has gained support from liberals and conservatives through his fiscal policies and loyalty to abortion-right advocates and other liberal policies.

While local Democrats complain about Bloomberg’s ties to Bush, national Democrats plead every day for political moderation. But alas, that is the nature of the downtrodden beast- to compromise when the winner has no need to. If moderation is what liberals want, then moderation is what they will get in Bloomberg. Any of the other candidates will provide New York with a divisively liberal leader. Besides, Bloomberg’s ability to converse with the Bush administration provides metropolitan Democrats with the best of both worlds- a mayor that stands for much of what they believe and possesses the faculty to communicate with the White House.

In a time where Democrats yearn for a federal middle ground, Bloomberg will provide continuity and moderation both locally and nationally, as his position of authority is one of national influence. It will be nearly impossible to defeat the incumbent mayor, unless an utter disaster of Watergate proportions occurs.

With power in hand and billions in his pockets, Bloomberg will remain in Gracie Mansion, riding steadily on his moderation.