My disgust with Republicans vs. the 2005 NYC mayor race.

So we New Yorkers have our two major-party mayoral candidates worked out: incumbent Mayor Mike Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Fernando Ferrer. Bloomberg, presumed by some dead in the water earlier this year, is currently the favorite in this election, and will probably win a second term. Some might think it unusual that New York, one of the most Democratic spots in the United States, would not only elect Republicans as mayors, but that it would be on the brink of electing a Republican for the fourth time in a row.

Indeed, New York City hasn’t gone for a Republican presidential candidate since Calvin Coolidge, some 81 years ago. But out mayors: notably LaGuardia, Lindsey, Giuliani and now Bloomberg, are often enough Republicans. Really, I wouldn’t call this unusual. While national Republican politics are usually far from liberal, New York City politics and politicians are quite different. Mayor Giuliani was a Republican, sure, but he never would have won that office if he weren’t in favor of gay rights, abortion rights, and spending on public works projects. Same with Mike Bloomberg.

Me, I’m a Democrat, and I haven’t voted for a Republican since I was living in my native Pennsylvania and voted for Tom Ridge for governor in 1994. For the next six years, I would have voted for a Republican whom I liked, but one that I liked never came up on any ballot during that span. And after 2000, I figured I couldn’t vote for a Republican on principle, since the party had been taken over by Bush, and so a vote for a Republican was a vote to strengthen the Bush agenda, and I couldn’t tolerate that. Hell, Clinton and Reagan tolerated dissent in their parties, but Bush is different, and I can’t tolerate that. With Bush in office, I couldn’t bring myself to back any Republicans at all. It was just too dangerous, and I still think that’s an appropriate synopsis.

But now, with apparent fractiousness in the Republican Party, it might be time to reconsider. Furthermore, on the local level, it’s understandable to vote for a member of a party you might not approve of nationally. Should I consider voting to reëlect Mayor Bloomberg? I’m sort of willing to do so. On the whole, he’s been a decent mayor, funding public works, keeping education afloat (though New York City schools still need loads of work,) standing in the way of suspending parking fees on Sundays, and he generally keeps well clear of the grating imperiousness of the Giuliani administration. And, in light of the fact that I think that the Democratic nominee Ferrer is a buffoon, I have to say that I think that Bloomberg is the more attractive option, even though his party still makes me gag.

But I can’t do it! No, it’s not that he’s a Republican; at least on the mayoral level, I’m sure I’m over that. No, what bothers me is the fact that Bloomberg poured loads of time and money into constructing a new stadium for the New York Jets football team, which he wanted to build on the already-crowded West Side of Manhattan. This would have been a civic nightmare, clogging traffic and consigning real estate that could have been used for something better to do duty as a stadium for a team that already has one! I mean, if Bloomberg wanted to build this stadium in Queens or somewhere where there’s wide open space that could accommodate the traffic and parking and increased stress on mass transit then I’d have been all for it, but as it was, he had to push for this ill-planned stadium, and so I can’t forgive him enough to vote for him.

However, I can’t bring myself to pull the lever for Ferrer, either. So what I’m planning to do is to write in Congressman Anthony Weiner, the runner-up in the Democratic primary, whom I voted for in that primary—unless someone can convince me otherwise. For now, that doesn’t seem likely. But four weeks from today, I’m going to have to have made up my mind.

What you are seeing in the New York City mayoral race is the latest cycle of the pattern that has been going on for at least a century and a half.

Over the decades, the office of Mayor of New York has alternated from the entrenched machine party (Tammany/Democratic) to Reform or Fusion opponents (now Republican, because that’s the other major line on the ballot). The Giuilani/Bloomberg years are just a reaction to the Dinkins/Koch years.

I would request a vote for Bloomberg, if only to help ensure that Ferrer doesn’t win. The city has been doing pretty well over the last 12 years, Ferrer scares the hell out of me.

The West Side Stadium (and the Olympics, IMHO) was a bad idea that never got off the ground. I’m willing to accept, though, that an honest and thoughtful person could disagree with me on that. The fact that Cablevision was the primary opponent of it kind of made me think it might not have been all that bad. Cablevision is interested only in securing their monopoly, and will lie and cheat to do it.

I think it’s a singularly bad idea to allow the stadium controversy to turn the city over to someone like Ferrer.

You might have a point, Cheesesteak. But I recall being insensed about the stadium when Bloomberg started pushing for it, and I still am. I, too, am willing to accept that an honest and thoughtful person could disagree with me on that issue, as well, but my issue is that Bloomberg would have four years to press the issue again—what are the chances? Okay, since we lost the Olympics bid, the chances are a bit diminished, but still—could this one rise up again? It’s an unpleasant thought.

The hell of it is that Bloomberg is the rare kind of Republican whom I’d consider voting for. I’m sure lots of other Democrats feel the same way, which is probably why Bloomberg is mayor of one of the most Democratic cities in the country. But I swore I’d never vote for him because of that damned stadium, and if there’s a possibility that it could come up again, I can’t loan my support to him.

Come to think of it, I seem to remember something about there being a 99-year contract signed with New Jersey to keep one of the football teams in the Meadowlands, if not both. I can’t remember. I’ll have to look into it. This would count as a plus in the Bloomberg column, as far as I’m concerned.

Before Bush, I always leaned Democratic, but I was always willing to consider crossing party lines, and I did on several occasions. A Democrat since 1988, I voted for Tom Ridge for the House twice, then for governor once. I voted for Senator Heinz. I would have voted for Senator Specter, but for the fact that each time he ran for office, I was either too young or I was living outside the state. Since Bush came to power, the thought of pulling the lever of a candidate with an R next to his or her name is sheer agony; I really loathe the idea of even considering it. I used to oppose such partisanship in principle and in practice, but no longer.

What should be an easy decision has been rendered difficult. I mean, on the whole, I think Bloomberg’s been a decent mayor, and yes, I have to say that Ferrer scares the hell out of me, too. One example of the reasonable government I appreciate is where Bloomberg keeps insisting that we should have metered parking on Sundays because it makes sure the spaces aren’t hogged all day by people who find good spots in front of churches. Ferrer has referred this as “pay to pray” and has called for a repeal of parking fines on Sunday. I think Bloomberg’s dead right about this (even if you don’t figure that this would probably require that everyone’s sabbath have no parking fines, which would be an understandable corollary complaint.) Not only is it a dumb idea to repeal parking meters on Sunday, it’s awfully flimsy stuff on which to base your argument that you could do a better job than the current mayor.

The Republican Party these days sucks ass, and I have to vote for one of theirs just because I feel he’s the best man for the job. I guess I’ll do it, but it doesn’t ease the bitterness I feel toward the current party leadership, which has referred to me and those similar to me as the enemy, as terrorist sympathizers and the like. The Atwater/Rove school of political thought is just unforgivable. I think I’d feel better if I could vote for Bloomberg under the column of some other party (that’s not the dodgy Independence Party.) I guess when it comes down to it, I still care about the issues more than I do anything else, and part of what stings is the fact that this newfound party prejudice has found its way to me through the vile politics of the Bush years. I realize this isn’t the same as voting for a national Republican. Bloomberg is still in favor of rights for gays and fiscal responsibility, so he’s not really a Republican through and through (indeed, he was a Democrat who campaigned for Al Gore, switching parties just to circumvent the crowded Democratic primary in 2001.) Bloomberg even supports abortion rights f’Chrissakes! He’s a great Democrat! (Except for that damned stadium, anyway.)

If it were Bloomberg versus Weiner, it’d be easy: Weiner, hands down. However, I’m all for changing horses in midstream, though I’m reluctant to do so when that other horse is actually a jackass. I lean Bloomberg.

Odd, but I don’t remember ever having agonized so much in an election of any kind…

Why not, exactly? (Your post #4 gives us very little of substance.)

To make you feel better, the Jets and Giants agreed to build a new stadium in the Meadowlands. The West Side Stadium is as dead as Elvis. Link

You may be unaware that Bloomberg became a Republican nominee simply to get on the ballot (the Democratic ballot was too crowded). He also ran on the Independent ticket. Prior to the 2001 election, he had always been a member of the Democrat party.

I keep seeing this mentioned, and I have no doubt that it’s true. But just as Zell Miller went from calling John Kerry a “true American hero” to equating him with something he found stuck to the bottom of his shoe, Bloomberg seems to have seamlessly made the transition from Democrat to Bush-endorsing Republican.

I would have a lot less trouble with this line of argument if, while being a Republican, Bloomberg gave some indication that he still preferred the Democratic way of doing things. But since he stumped for Bush, he seems to have gone Republican whole hog (in some sense - obviously he’s still pro-choice, etc), and saying “but he used to be a Democrat!” doesn’t really hold that much water with me.

Fair point. One of my biggest gripes with Ferrer is his lack of substance, for one, so I owe it to you to flesh this out.

Ferrer seems to be running on image alone, and that’s not enough. Everything he says seems to be calculated to get reactions, and he’s talked very little about substance. And when he does open his mouth, he usually gets a good deal of foot in there, as well. The best example of this is his not-so-deft handling of the Amadou Diallo incident. In 1999, Ferrer was a vehement critic of the New York City Police who put a few dozen bullets into the unarmed Diallo. Now no matter how you might feel about that incident, he came off a bit disingenuous when in 2005 he said, while speaking to some New York City police officers, that the police department had been “over-indicted.” I’ll admit that he could well have come to view the incident differently, but if he really did change his mind, he needs to say so.

Ferrer is pandering to Christians with his “no pay to pray” initiative. He’s tried to make an issue out of how he feels that parking fines should be suspended on Sundays, so people can park in front of churches. On one hand, we can disagree on this, but on the other—this is the biggest issue I’ve heard him raise! I mean, c’mon!

Another mini-tempest has come up recently, too. Ferrer has talked about how he attended public schools for his education, but after very little digging, it’s been shown that he actually attended Catholic and other private institutions for his entire education. Ferrer said it was a staffer who mistakenly put it on his blog, but the blog post was signed “Posted by Fernando Ferrer.” While the staffer explanation is probably correct—I mean, what politicians actually write their own speeches and material?—having his name signed to it as if he actually wrote it just leaves me as cold as the calculated nature of the comment about the public schools.

I hope that answers your substance question, BrainGlutton. And, of course, if anyone wants to persuade me that Ferrer’s not so bad, feel free.

When does construction start? :slight_smile:

Well aware of this, Odds. I know Bloomberg was a Democrat who even stumped for Al Gore in 2000, and forsaked the Democratic Party only because of the crowded field. I’d have had more respect for him if he’d run without affiliation, and I believe he could have won if he’d done that.
And thanks for the link, Cheesesteak. I’d say that’s good work on Codey’s part, and I’m coming to like Codey more and more. That doesn’t make it any less irresponsible to have pushed for that furshlugginer West Side Stadium, though.

This is a bit off topic, but I believe that we’d be well served if we could extend the 7 train out to the stadium. This would cut down on car traffic to the stadium and would make that part of New Jersey more accessible to Manhattan. Maybe a couple of stops in between—why not? Or just call it a PATH train, if you must. Or run the Hudson-Bergen Light Rail out to the Meadowlands. Something…

Bloomberg’s policies

He is pro-choice. He supports same-sex marriage. He supports immigration reform.

I voted for Kerry, even though I was pretty sure Bush was going to get 4 more years. Bloomberg saw the writing on the wall. Being a Republican party member, even in name only, he was obligated to endorse Bush. Plus, let’s face it, Bush isn’t one to extend olive branches to those that disagree with him. It was a pragmatic decision.

In my view, MB is a conservative Democrat. Give me a conservative Democrat or a liberal Republican any day over a liberal Democrat or conservative Republican.

Chance, am I to take from your posts that your biggest misgiving with Bloomberg is simply that he runs on the Republican ticket? You’ve said that Bloomberg has been a decent mayor during his first term and that you are unimpressed with Ferrer (I agree with both). I understand you disliked his West-Side stadium plans; I was wholly against the Olympics coming to NYC. Maybe one day I’ll find a politician who agrees with me on all issues, until then I must compromise, weigh each issues importance, and decide which person represents me. Vote the person, not the party.

I am very against bloomberg. What I’ve seen under Bloomberg is an increase in a property tax that makes it increasingly prohibitive for the poor/middle class to own a home in New York City. I’ve seen an incredible amount of crushing of dissent with permits being hard to get for protests and other mass gatherings. When he took office we heard that the city was broke and that’s why he needed to raise taxes. He used a threat that we’d need to let go of police, but all I have seen is a constant recruitment drive for police, with the police presence increased across the city, at a time where the crime rate was at it’s lowest in the city’s history. I’ve seen legitimate businesses shut down due to the Nightlife Taskforce, which favors wealthy megaclubs over people’s attempts to gather for their own satisfaction. I’ve rarely seen a party that was more than 10 admission busted, but have frequently seen parties that were under 10 busted. He is the mayor for the rich yuppies that are moving into New York in droves. This is the mayor who went on a campaign to make a 1 o’clock curfew for nightlife in this city. This curfew of course wouldn’t apply to the wealthy in their posh private clubs, only to the average citizen that goes out to public establishments. Nightlife is a huge source of jobs in this city for people who are in between work, it fills in the gaps very well for people, and a lot of people I know are having trouble making ends meet in this arena whereas a lot of people I know were making money hand over fist before Giuliani doing video installations and such.

I think Bloomberg is purely out for the wealthy of this city, he’s an awful mayor, and when he couldn’t get the Jets stadium built he put $ 86 million in funds toward a new Mets stadium when they can’t even fill the one they’ve got. How come the government isn’t paying for me to build infrastructure for my business, but they are paying for businesses that rake in hundreds of millions every year. If I buy a building, I’ll get a mortgage, why shouldn’t the Mets?

Bloomberg is awful.


Yep, that’s about the size of it. Like I said, I’ve been willing to cross party lines in the past, but since Bush became the standard-bearer of the Republican Party, voting for a Republican has been too repulsive to me. Post Bush, I haven’t voted Republican at all, but there haven’t been any elections in which I would have voted for a Republican at all. For example:

2001: McGreevey vs. Schundler—I was tepid about McGreevey, but revolted by Schundler. Even in light of McGreevey’s later scandal, no regrets.

2002: Lautenberg vs. Forrester—Forrester? Running as a Bush stooge? No fucking way. He seems to have learned his lesson about running as a social conservative in New Jersey, considering how he’s running his current gubernatorial campaign.

2004: Schumer vs. Mills—I really like Schumer. Case closed.

2004: Kerry vs. Bush—Well, like I said: Bush is the problem.

2005: Ferrer vs. Bloomberg—My first real conflict since the 1994 Ridge-Singel race in Pennsylvania.

See, this isn’t really about that old saw about “Vote the person, not the party.” I’ve been like that in the past, as I’ve said, and I’m conflicted about that way of thinking now. The Republican Party has used an inordinate amount of muscle in elections across the country in 2002 and 2004, and it’s left a really bad taste in my mouth. It seems irresponsible to figure which candidate best represents me over the greater good, since parties inevitably do figure into what an elected official is going to do. Consider Rhode Island Senator Lincoln Chafee, who is rather liberal as Republicans go, but who’s still been voting largely in step with his party. He hasn’t offered as much dissent from Bush as one might expect from an independent-minded progressive, and this seems to be the trend among so-called “independent” Republicans anymore. I do get a sense that Bloomberg is somewhat different, but it’s difficult to get past these past five years of Bush-style politicking. If I were facing these questions as recently as 2000 I’m sure I wouldn’t be as conflicted, but it’s a different atmosphere these days.

Chance, I see we differ. I despise Schumer. I think he’s so far left that he makes Hillary look Republican. I did vote for him over D’Amato, because Alphonse was the kind of politician DeLay might look up to and learn tricks from (or vice versa). But I really don’t want two lefty Democrats representing me in the Senate. Weiner is my representative, and I’m glad he stayed there rather than run for Mayor. While I don’t have much positive to say about him, I don’t have anything negative to say about him, thus the positives outweigh the negatives.

As for Bloomberg, I think he is between a rock and a hard place. I think he wants Bush II and his Department of Homeland Security to spend money here, so he has to tiptoe around what he says about Georgie. Bush II does not take dissent well, especially from the party. Bush II knows NY is a blue state, and it’s hard enough to get him to take us seriously as is. Of course, that’s just opinion and I certainly understand and respect how you may see it differently.

I see no great need to oust Bloomberg, even if he is a republican. I don’t get the impression that Ferrer will be an improvement.

As an aside, I’d like to see the Bloombergs in the republican party wield more power, but he’s an oddball and that’s just wishful thinking.

Odds—Being to the left of Bush (or less corrupt than DeLay) is no remarkable occurrence, but I wouldn’t say that being left of Bush makes one a “lefty,” though the fact is that I keep hearing people say that Schumer and Clinton are to the left. Sure, they’re progressive, but I never hear anyone explain why they think these two are extremists. What on earth is it that makes them so?

I agree with you about how Bush doesn’t take dissent well. Bloomberg probably knows he can expect punishment if he doesn’t toe the line to the Bush family and, considering how New York City is extremely unlikely to respond well to Bush and his ilk, Bloomberg knows he can’t expect rewards from Bush if he does toe the line. It’s no coïncidence that grain silos along the Platte River are getting the same kind of Homeland Security funding that New York City’s getting. With a Democrat in the White House, the pork would be distributed a little differently, no doubt, and New York would be getting nice hams instead of Slim Jims. Considering we’re one of the most likely terrorist targets, I’d say things would make much more sense that way.

I’m very content with Senators Schumer and Clinton, and I can’t think of any candidate the New York Republicans could run against them whom I’d find worth voting for. Mills… Cox… Pirro… Pataki… Giuliani… Golisano (sort of)… a pretty weak bench, and I’d be uncomfortable with any of those folks representing me in the Senate. Until the Republican Party starts noticing moderates and progressives again, I’m going to continue to blanche at any candidates they put up. A probable connection with Bush is reason enough for me to fear them.

Every time I hear Schumer talk, I get the feeling that he wants a mommy government to take care of all or us children citizens (if I had a few hours, I dig up a bunch of quotes and stances I disagree with). I think he’s as irresponsible about spending as is our current President. I didn’t like him as a Representative and was glad he didn’t represent my district, and I don’t like him as a Senator where he is a direct representative. Being left of Bush is one thing, and I don’t mind people left of Bush. However, Schumer is as left as Bush is right, and I like neither end of the spectrum. When he ran against D’Amato, I felt he was the lesser of two evils, plus I was a fan of Moynihan. Now, I prefer Senator Clinon, but that’s damning with faint praise. NY is a stepping stone for her, and I’m feeling used. Still, just her name carries weight in the Senate and on the national stage, so she does have some worth when fighting for NY causes.

I know what you’re saying here, but the way it’s phrased is kind of funny. :slight_smile: