Public Opinion, Like a Paper Doll, is Fickle (Whatever That Means)
Feb 24, 2009 | 28915 views | 0 0 comments | 2308 2308 recommendations | email to a friend | print
What is more fun than a barrel full of monkeys? An assortment of unpopular politicians, that’s what! It seems like Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Governor Dave Paterson are shedding popularity points like tears from a disappointed mother, despite the fact that they are now going by their abbreviated, “chummier” first names.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that most New Yorkers thought that our prominent executive electeds were the bees knees, but that was in the early 2000’s, when our fair boroughs were too busy being steamed at President George W. Bush to care too much one way or the other about a mayor or governor. (Unless somebody was hankying and pankying in black business socks.)

But now that Barack Obama has been elected president on a tidal wave of good cheer and positively positive vibes, New Yorkers are looking for someone new to despise, and they have realized that they don’t have to look very far. Compared to the shining beacon of hope that is President Obama, Bloomberg and Paterson look like the persnickety/cantankerous duo of Walter Mathau and Jack Lemon, and not in the original Odd Couple or even the Grumpy Old Men films. They only remind us of the duo as they appeared in the appalling, road-trip themed Odd Couple 2. We’ll leave it to our readers to figure out which silver-age silver screen star corresponds to which slippery, “sagacious” pol.

Both men were extraordinarily popular when they were elected to, or, er, inherited their respective positions. Bloomberg owns the media, and coasting in on a wave of 9/11 patriotism was able to spread his gospel of good, independently minded government. And Paterson not only regaled the public about his days of doing drugs in a Motel 6, but was exactly what the public needed at the time, specifically somebody that wasn’t Eliot Spitzer. So how did it all go so wrong?

Maybe the question we should be asking is, at least in Bloomberg’s case, how did it all go so right for so long? Elected officials of any prominence will always fall on their face, and the higher they fall the harder the landing. Bloomberg seemed to have it going on, as far as public opinion went (although he’s got a lot of money going on too, which he probably cares about a lot more than his public perception), and he had it so going on that it took somebody with even more going on to steal the mayor’s thunder.

But that leads us to our next question, regarding when (or if) President Obama is going to fall in public opinion. We’ve never seen anybody fly as high as him, and if he does fall, we predict it’s going to be a spectacular catastrophe.

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