He seems to be one of maybe three people in New York who think this is a good idea, but he can get away with that because he’s term-limited and therefore enjoys all sorts of extra “flexibility.” Something to remember when you’re in the booth on Tuesday. At least he’s consistent, though: When it comes to knowing what’s in your best interest, he’s a better authority than you are.
[P]eople aren’t good at describing what is in their own interest … What leaders should do is make decisions as to what they think is in the public interest based on the best advice that they can get, and then try and build a constituency and bring it along.
How many members are there in his “let’s have a marathon while people are freezing on Staten Island” constituency? Not even his pal Christine Quinn, the city council president, is with him. One of his basic problems here, I think, is that the marathon is just way too boutique an event to use as some sort of rallying point for the city. Thousands of people participate, I know, but beyond those who are running, no one cares. If we were talking about a Yankees World Series game instead of a marathon, that’d be a closer call. If you want to use sports as catharsis, make sure you pick one that the wider population is invested in.
Walter Russell Mead spies the demise of Bloombergmania, just a day after he tried to juice his national profile by endorsing Obama:
Michael Bloomberg must have hoped that Sandy would be his own 9/11. A population in shock turned to the mayor in their hour of need. He dominated the airwaves; he issued decrees. He seized the occasion to speak out on the big issues: climate change, endorsing a president. He worked to project an air of authority and calm: the Marathon would go on.
It must have looked for a while as if he had done a Rudy and resuscitated a tired mayoralty, relaunching a national career. Perhaps a cabinet appointment in a second Obama administration, perhaps another shot at an independent presidential campaign.
It is looking less that way by the hour. As the true dimensions of the damage in New York gradually appear, as the death toll mounts and as chaos at the gas stations and devastation in Staten Island undercut the narrative that the city has responded effectively to the challenge, Mayor Bloomberg looks more like the hapless officials of New Orleans than Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie.
Fair points, but even if the recovery after the storm had been smoother, without gas stations turning into mini-Thunderdomes and people without power resorting to copping a squat in their hallways, Bloomberg wasn’t going anywhere nationally. His legacy has already been defined by small things. Giuliani will be remembered chiefly for the aftermath of 9/11, and Mayor No Labels will be remembered for Big Gulps and smoking bans. I don’t underestimate what a billion dollars could do by way of image enhancement, but if Rudy, a vastly more charismatic politician, couldn’t parlay his legacy into something bigger, then I wouldn’t bet on Bloomberg doing so either.
Just as I’m writing this, a rumor’s spreading on Twitter:
Friend in the NYPD says NYC marathon canceled.
— Mike Memoli (@mikememoli) November 2, 2012
Stand by for updates. Exit quotation: “If they take one first responder from Staten Island to cover this marathon, I will scream.”
Update: Looks like I got this post in just under the wire. Bloomberg held out as long as he could but ultimately that constituency he built only included one person:
We have decided to cancel the NYC marathon. The New York Road Runners will have additional information in days ahead for participants.
— NYC Mayor’s Office (@NYCMayorsOffice) November 2, 2012
The lights just came back on in the east Village for 67,000 people. Presumably he didn’t want media outrage over the marathon cannibalizing the good news about power returning and the subways coming back online. Poof: Bye-bye, marathon.