Ben Howe’s right that the rhetoric here is more notable than the underlying sentiment. Most pols would never be this blunt in describing the civil-libertarian price of new regulations; they’d either dodge the subject or sell those regs in an Orwellian way as an enhancement of freedom. Not Bloomy. The combination of being term-limited, governing one of the bluest cities in America, and being worth $20 billion affords him a candor that lesser nannies can only dream of. Just imagine: On Friday, this guy was heard publicly lamenting the growing threat of domestic drone surveillance — and not without reason — before throwing up his hands and insisting there’s nothing we can do to stop them. Really? He’s willing to spend his political capital in office on dopey things like soda portions and his financial capital on ad campaigns arbitrarily slamming “assault weapons” to the tune of tens of millions of dollars, but there’s nothing he can do to try to put the brakes on the surveillance state? That’s Bloomberg’s whole problem in a nutshell: He’s constantly playing small ball. He could have devoted his first two terms as mayor to bolstering the city’s hurricane defenses or improving its electrical grid, but instead he wanted to bear down on trans fats and smoking in bars. Even where I disagree with him, his moves make no sense. If you’re willing to spend $50 million or more to shape public opinion on guns, why would you focus on background checks and “assault weapons” rather than to try to do real damage by putting a dent in support for semiautomatics generally? It’s bizarre.
Howe’s right too that his use of pronouns in the clip is revealing. Who’s the “we” and who’s the “you” in “your freedoms”? If “we” get to regulate “your” obesity because, after all, we have to pay for part of the cost to treat it, what other behaviors do “we” get to regulate in the name of saving some money? To find out, watch the second clip below (via Mediaite) in which Coulter floats a proposal that wouldn’t go over as well with Bloomy’s very liberal allies. Or, if you don’t like that one, how about Nick Gillespie’s proposal to ban skiing? There’s no limit to the things we could prohibit in the name of cost-cutting. Which, of course, is the problem.