Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Michael Bloomberg, narcissist extraordinaire

I give myself a huge thumbs up!
The Times (via NYmag) is reporting that Mayor Bloomberg isn't going to endorse anyone for president -- but that's really only because he only wants to endorse someone exactly like himself:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg of New York has remained coy about whether he plans to endorse a presidential candidate this year, even as Mitt Romney and President Obama aggressively court the billionaire media mogul.

The most that the mayor and his aides have said is that Mr. Bloomberg, who did not endorse in 2008, is carefully weighing his options this time around.

But during casual conversations at charity event a few days ago, Mr. Bloomberg was far chattier — and candid — about the subject, according to three people who overheard him.

Mr. Bloomberg said that he believed Mr. Romney would probably be better at running the country than Mr. Obama, according to two guests.

But Mr. Bloomberg said he could not support Mr. Romney because he disagreed with him on so many social issues, these two people said. The mayor mentioned two such issues: abortion rights and gun control.

As a result, Mr. Bloomberg said, he intended to remain neutral, said one guest.

By better at running the country, by the way, the billionaire probably means more likely to slash his taxes and make him even richer. On that front, yes, Romney is very much his kind o' guy.

Look, I generally like Bloomberg. He's a massive narcissist, and I can't stand his holier-than-thou (and in many ways right-leaning) centrism, nor his business-oriented worldview, but he's a decent enough "Red Tory" with admirably progressive social views, and he's been admirably right, and courageously so, on high-profile local issues like Park51 (the "Ground Zero mosque") and, more broadly, religious freedom (and by that I mean genuine religious freedom, not the religious freedom espoused by right-wing theocrats, which is just the freedom to institutionalize bigotry).

Obviously, I'd like him to endorse President Obama, though it's pretty clear his narcissism is getting in the way of any endorsement at all. What I don't understand, though, is what the president has done to make him think Romney would be better at running the country.

On issue after issue, including economic ones, Romney has been pandering to the right, to his party's base -- well to the mayor's right. I get that Bloomberg would prefer Romney's tax policy (which just amounts to cutting taxes on the rich, on people like... Romney and Bloomberg), and perhaps even that he would prefer Romney's hostility to regulation (even though Bloomberg is no enemy of regulation, at least when it comes to, say, sugary beverages), but Obama's fiscal policies have for the most part been solidly centrist. Bloomberg obviously prefers Obama to Romney on social issues like marriage equality, but does he not support Obama's efforts in foreign policy, particularly when compared to Romney's lack of experience and, when he does wade in, ignorant bullying? Even Obama's health-care reforms were centrist -- a market-oriented approach once promoted by Republicans (like, oh, by Mitt Romney himself).

So again, what has Obama done? How has he not run the country to Bloomberg's liking? Should he have let the auto industry go under? Should he have not ordered the mission to take out bin Laden? Should he not have pushed an economic stimulus package to pull the country back from the brink of disaster?

Or is this just Bloomberg being Bloomberg, musing idly but not really to be taken all that seriously, shamelessly self-promoting from atop the pedestal of his own imaginary superiority?

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