I Take It Back!

Last week I wrote a post (half-facetious, but only half) saying some unkind things about New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presumption in demanding that the two presidential candidates accept his positioning on a variety of issues in order to earn his endorsement.

My personal estimation of Bloomberg and his administration went up rapidly for obvious reasons since then. And then he removed the main basis for complaining by dropping his my-way-or-the-highway list of candidate demands and making an endorsement based on his overall sense of priorities, which now, after Sandy, understandably make a commitment to doing something about climate change at the very top.

In other words, he did what we all ultimately ought to do in politics: join a coalition of people with similar values and priorities and accept compromises on the less important–which is not to say unimportant–stuff. They’re called “political parties,” and it’s impressive that after a year of encouraging and promising to fund some supra-partisan political effort to take over the country, he’s arrived where the rest of us are: making a choice.

You can say I’m pleased with Bloomberg because of the particular choice he made, and there’s no question I am. But it may be more important that someone with the money and influence to hold himself above politics has done what Political Animals must all do, and subordinate his wishes to a larger cause.

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.