Friday, January 7, 2011
Shades of Lindsay?
From Gatemouth on Room Eight:
To paraphrase Churchill, we have reached here, if not the beginning of the end, then at least the end of the beginning.
I speak here of Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s reign as America’s prince of the ideology that dare not speak its name--hence it’s faux name, “No Labels.”
Maybe it has no label because, upon inspection, the package is empty.
There may not be a label, but there is a name. In the damning words of Leon Wieseltier, that ideology which claims it is not is called: “Philanthrogovernment.” or, colloquially, “Bloombergism.”
I will be the first to admit that some of the governmental results of Bloombergism have been impressive much of the time. I myself have called Bloomberg’s reign a “mostly benign dictatorship.”
Yes, complain if you will that the trains don’t run on time and Bloomie will be happy to offer to take them over as well.
As long as you give him complete power and make him answerable to no one.
But that was then.
For Bloomberg, since his re-election, has undergone a subtle transformation not noticeable until recent weeks.
He has stopped being a Rockefeller Republican.
Mike Bloomberg a Lindsay Republican.
Even to some who remember the era quite vividly, the differences between those two breeds of Republican were often indiscernible.
This is because two very different products were quite often sold with the same label, something like “liberal Republican.”
Even in terms of what is labeled as ideology, this is not quite accurate.
Rockefeller liked building roads. Lindsay wanted to encourage alternative modes of travel, including bikes. Remind you of anyone?
Rockefeller was near the left end of his party’s spectrum on any number of issues, but his ideology was “control,” “show toughness” and “build.” Other than the edifices he built, some of which are already gone, and the manner in which he died (en flagrante delicto), Rockefeller is most remembered today for the brutal manner in which he ended a prison uprising at Attica (against the advice of his own negotiating team), and the devastating impact of the take all prisoners (and keep ‘em locked up) Drug Law which bore his name.
By contrast, Lindsay was a real liberal, and in fact emblematic of a particular liberal breed. City Comptroller Mario Proccacino, usually known was his lack of familiarity with the subtleties of the English language (Proc once told an African American group “my heart is as black as yours”), had his one moment of brilliance when he dubbed Lindsay a “limousine liberal.”
Nelson Rockefeller was a man in control. Lindsay sometimes seemed to travel around followed by a black rain cloud. On his first day in office, the City was paralyzed by a devastating transit strike. An awful sanitation strike later followed; the 1968 teachers’ strike exposed the soft underbelly of the City’s ethnic and racial conflicts, and then there was an ugly police corruption scandal (not to mention lesser scandals at other agencies).
Not to mention the devastating aftermath of a 1969 snow storm in which outer borough neighborhoods waited days without seeing a plow.
Starting to sound familiar?
Like Rocky, Lindsay saw himself as America’s salvation. In preparation for what he saw as his destiny, he changed his party enrollment and laid the groundwork for a Presidential Campaign.
Is this like déjà vu all over again?