It’s not that Mayor Bloomberg hasn’t done a lot of good for this city. He took office shortly after September 11, 2001, taking control of a city in turmoil and, carrying on many of the policies of the Giuliani administration, restored the city to one of the greatest in the world. Barring his occasional missteps, he’ll likely go down in history as one the greats. But his last-minute effort at getting a third term will likely ruin his legacy, unless it succeeds, which would be even worse.
Citing the global economic crisis as the primary reason why he would need to stay in office, Bloomberg makes a lot of good points. He made his billions in the financial industry, and it would be a lie to say that he isn’t qualified to, if not pull the city out of economic turmoil, at least manage it successfully. But politicians and administrations stagnate, which is why the people of New York worked so hard to create term limits in 1993, and stood by them once again in 1996.
If the city was in a desperate situation and it was apparent that there was one, and only one person, who could rescue it, then perhaps bypassing term limits might be a reasonable option. But Bloomberg, despite what he thinks, is not the only person that can lead us in these trying times. This crisis pales in comparison to 9/11, and yet Bloomberg seamlessly transitioned into City Hall and seven good years.
His upheaval of the twice-voted on term limits smacks of desperation, as the mayor’s not-so-secret presidential ambitions sputtered out, leaving him with no executive political seat to rise up to. It appears that he would like to remain mayor for another four years so that he can stay in the public eye until the next governor or president is elected. Of course, when his loftier ambitions sink like a stone four years of ill-will earned by circumventing the will of the voters, he can always legislate himself a fourth term and try to smooth things over with us.