Bloomberg So Far
When Michael Bloomberg was elected mayor in 2001, New Yorkers had little idea what to expect from him. A liberal Democrat by disposition turned Republican by opportunity, the billionaire media baron had no previous political experience. He had used his fortune to conduct a stealth campaign, bombarding the public with direct mailings and television advertising and making virtually no unscripted appearances. Wrapped only in the halo of outgoing mayor Rudolph Giuliani’s belated endorsement, and widely expected to lose, the would-be mayor was barely questioned, let alone tested, before he took office.
In the immediate wake of 9/11, Bloomberg’s conciliatory and willfully apolitical style turned out to be well suited to the city’s sense of trauma. The political neophyte seemed to promise Giuliani-like results without the ex-prosecutor’s abrasive, stentorian style. Now, halfway through his tenure and with talk of the next mayoral election already in the air, Bloomberg has a record and an established public personality. He is far more of a known quantity, even if much of what can now be said about him is neither especially flattering nor encouraging for the future of New York.
About the Author
Fred Siegel is a contributing editor of the Manhattan Institute’s City Journal.