Ignoring Michael Bloomberg

Before getting into the issue of the insufferable egocentrism of Michael Bloomberg, let me confess something: I’ve spent my whole adult life in a state of chronic annoyance with Gotham Chauvinism in media and culture. Growing up in the Deep South, I pitied those kids (and there were some) who worshiped before the Great Apple Idol and fantasized about moving there as soon as they could afford it. It bugged me that you needed a good working knowledge of New York geography and history to navigate a significant portion of American literature, films and even sports coverage. And the famous New Yorker disdain for the rest of benighted humanity didn’t help. I’m sure it’s a perfectly fine World Capital if we have to have one, and I know I’d enjoy visiting there more often that I have, and would probably enjoy many aspects of living there if I had to reason to do so. So forgive me, New Yorkers in our readership; we all have our irrational prejudices, much as you probably have about this guy:

So it’s unsurprising I’ve never paid much attention to the Michael Bloomberg Really Ought To Run Our Country meme, any more that I credited the media-inflated presidential aspirations of such past New York mayors as John Lindsay or Rudy Giuliani. Yes, he’s incredibly rich, and sure, he’s done some good things as mayor, and of course, he’s right that the NRA-imposed moratorium on gun legislation is an abomination and that same-sex marriage ought to be legal everywhere, instantly. But an actual New Yorker (or at least someone who writes for the New York Observer), Jim Newell, captured better than I ever could the arrogance of Bloomberg’s latest demands that the two parties and its politicians bend to his particular points of view:

If you see Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the street on the No. 4 train in the next week or two, do offer him a cup of cocoa and an hour or two of your time, to listen. He is sad. Neither of the presidential candidates have had the courage, the will, the determination to stick it to their entire coalitions of supporters in exchange for the endorsement of the Mayor of New York City.

He gives each of them a checklist of competing priorities, and what do they do? They disagree with some of them. Mitt Romney will not endorse same-sex marriage; President Obama refuses to cease his domestic reconstruction of the Soviet Union. Neither will ban guns. What’s a billionaire 22 times over left to do but throw change at people like Scott Brown and otherwise whine to the New York Times about how he can’t get what he wants?….

Mr. Bloomberg doesn’t like Mr. Obama because he’s placed light restrictions on large banks that help New York City balance its budget when they inflate to ungodly proportions in fake-good times. That’s his prerogative. What would it cost to procure the endorsement of this one man, who’s most known nationally right now as the jerk who won’t let hardworking folk purchase big-ass cups of soda pop? Too much, for very little.

Mr. Bloomberg sounds like a guy who really, really wants to endorse Mitt Romney, doesn’t he? He likes that Mitt Romney is rich. He made a lot of money doing whatever in the financial sector—Mr. Bloomberg loves this. But Mr. Romney won’t support gun control or action against climate change, because those are directly against what his coalition supports, so, yeah, no Bloomberg endorsement there, and who cares about this guy anyway?

Not me.

UPDATE: I should make it clear my comments on New York were half-facetious and in any event far less abrasive than much of what I regularly say about my native South. But I must remonstrate with commenter Nancy Cadet that I by no means intend to be “dismissive” about New York. Love it or hate it, or (as in the case of most Americans) some of both, you can’t “dismiss” New York! I don’t care how many electoral votes the Empire State has lost, it will remain the economic and cultural capital of the country for the foreseeable future.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.