Pre-Mortem: Bloomberg's Billions vs. Freddy's Flaws
November 6th, 2005

Wonkster believes that an election is decided when voters go to the polls, not when pollsters go to the voters — decided on the second Tuesday of November, that is, not in the sample of voter sentiment taken in the days and weeks before Election Day.

This seems to be the minority opinion, however, and there has been a rash of commentary and analysis similar to one last Wednesday in the New York Sun by Julia Levy that begins: “It might be too early to write a post-mortem for Fernando Ferrer’s mayoral campaign, but the city’s political class is already beginning to discuss what might be known as a pre-mortem.”

One example is an article in today’s NY Times headlined: For the City’s Democrats, a Grim Future Could Last Long Beyond Tuesday. Another example is a string of columns by political consultant Joseph Mercurio (best-known now for the spat over a doctored campaign pamphlet with his former employer C. Virginia Fields) whose headlines, beginning on October 25th, have been: “It Will Not End Two To One—But It Will Be a Blow-out”; “Still A Blow-Out: Possibly The Biggest Win By a Republican”; “Can’t Get Worse”; “What Went Wrong”; “Elections To Beat” (meaning in order to set the all-time record).

The conventional analysis is that Bloomberg’s money hasn’t just created an unlevel playing field, “there is no playing field; it’s Mike’s,” according to the fabled Douglas Muzzio of Baruch College, while at the same time, the Ferrer campaign made several mistakes, including his failure to begin raising money early enough. Incumbency and press coverage have played a part too, as have pure chance, such as the collapse of the Jets stadium proposal for the West Side; Bloomberg’s support of it would have remained a popular argument against his re-election.

In the Daily News today, Michael Goodwin’s column, entitled Why Ferrer Will Lose, says that Bloomberg’s “exorbitant spending” is of course a factor, but not the deciding one: “Though Bloomy still claims he’s not a pol, the truth is he is skilled in both the lower and higher arts of the job.”

Ben Smith offered the cynical pre-mortem of a “Politicker source” that begins “diallo …. yada, yada, yada” More interesting than that particular post is the
lively discussion it prompted by Ben’s band of mostly anonymous politicos, especially a back-and-forth about whether the Campaign Finance Board could have and should have forced Bloomberg to participate in more debates.

In the New York Post, Fred Siegel argued on Friday that there have been three changes in the office of the mayoralty over the past two decades — thanks to a change in the city charter, the mayor has more power; the public has learned that the city is not ungovernable given the right mayor; and the public now also understands that “in the age of terror, the mayor has to have the capacity to manage the city in a crisis.” Siegel concludes: “Bloomberg is far from a first-rate mayor, but he comes much closer than Ferrer to meeting the new requirements of the office.”

But Election Day is Tuesday, the only poll that counts. That’s not just the standard slogan of losing politicians. For one thing, polls have been wrong — polls had Mario Cuomo beating George Pataki in 1994 (Green over Ferrer in the 2001 primary; for that matter, Dewey over Truman in 1948). But, also, isn’t that the way democracy is supposed to work?

By on November 6, 2005, 10:14 am
In category: Electoral Politics | 3 Comments »

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3 Responses to “Pre-Mortem: Bloomberg's Billions vs. Freddy's Flaws”

  1. Doug Muzzio Says:
    November 7th, 2005 at 9:17 am

    Mike Bloomberg owes Shelly Shelly a big “thank you,” for taking the albatross of the Jets Stadium from the Mayor’s neck.
    Indeed, in a classic case of the law of perverse consequences (you create the very condition you wish to avoid), Shelly Silver removed, as you note, what might have been a substantial obstacle to the mayor’s re-election.
    The West Side stadium was a “sticky” issue that could have held together the disparate dissatisfactions with and critiques of the mayor and his administration. If the PACB votes yes on the stadium, with New York not getting the Olympics only weeks later, Mike Bloomberg’s Jet deal looks like the act of an out of touch billionaire subsidizing another billionaire with hard-working New Yorkers tax dollars — whose misplaced priorities, epitomized but not limited to the West Side stadium, not only didn’t feel your pain but caused your (tax-paying) pain.

  2. Jason Gooljar Says:
    November 7th, 2005 at 12:09 pm

    It’s like I said before I blame alot of this on the NY media who turned this election into a self-fulfilling prophecy even back before the Democratic primaries.

    I also thing NYC government is to blame for not having real campaign finance laws. The only solution to this problem is public financing of campaigns, free air time on radio and television for the candidates, and no corporate donations or personal contributions to a campaign.

    If one dollar was diverted from each NYC tax payer to a special fund for candidates there would be more than enough money. Let candidates petition to get on the ballot, publically fund them, and let the voters decide.

  3. Matis hudpleie Says:
    June 15th, 2011 at 1:35 am

    Thank himself like much! This progression is animation until gee beyond belief, appropriate in a way bag strung out the care – what contriver boss time until deal with outset entrepreneur intercourse.

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