This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Mayor Bloomberg’s call yesterday for the re-election of President Obama reminds of us his statement opposing the confirmation of Chief Justice Roberts. These columns suggested at the time that it epitomized “everything that many of us see as the disappointing side of the mayor — his spinelessness, his tendency to pander, his disregard for political loyalty, his self-righteousness when it comes to what he defines as matters of ‘public health,’ his special interest-driven politicking accompanied by blather about how he isn’t motivated by politics. His allegiance only to himself. His abuse of public resources. His arrogance. His hypocrisy. His combination of grandiosity and smallness.”
Dang, it turns out that we overlooked shamelessness. In the middle of a crisis in which hundreds of thousands, even millions of his constituents are desperately trying to cope with the destruction to life and property of Hurricane Sandy, the mayor moves in to exploit the city’s travail for his narrow political purposes. In his statement endorsing Mr. Obama for re-election, the mayor admits that he doesn’t know one way or another whether climate change has anything to do with the extreme weather. It’s the risk that it does, he writes, that “should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action,” which, in his case, turns out to be endorsing the president for re-election.
Where does one even begin? The mayor claims that Hurricane Sandy “brought Tuesday’s election into sharp relief.” In fact it wasn’t the election that the storm put into sharp relief. For most New Yorkers, the relief of the election was plenty sharp before the storm. What the storm put into sharp relief was the fact that even after a decade of Bloombergian rule — a decade that has seen vast increases in taxes and spending — the city’s public systems are in a state of vulnerability, even decrepitude. For this it turns out he wants to blame the weather and proposes as a solution re-electing, in Mr. Obama, a president whose first four years he admits have been “disappointing.”
Climate change isn’t the only issue on which Mr. Bloomberg thinks — or, rather, feels — Mr. Obama would be a better president than Governor Romney. Another one is the same issue that, in 2005, precipitated the mayor’s tirade against the man who was about to become Chief Justice of the United States, namely abortion. The mayor says abortion “weighs heavily” on his decision to support Mr. Obama. No wonder. In the past decades New York City has become the nation’s premier abortion mill. This was marked in January 2011, when the leading clergy in the city called a press conference to warn that 41% of all pregnancies in the city that did not end in miscarriage were ended by abortion.
In at least one minority community, this rate is a ghastly 60%. Yet neither the mayor nor the city’s health department has had anything to say about it. The clergy made it clear they understand abortion-rights are unlikely to be restricted. They are talking about the rate at which the choice is being made for abortion in the mayor’s city. The mayor is prepared to force New Yorkers to cook their French fries in a certain way, to restrict the amount of soda they can buy in one cup, to make them go to restaurants in New Jersey to smoke, and to block the most religious Jews from circumcising their newborn boys the way their religion requires. But he hasn’t raised his voice once to encourage the pro-life movement in a city in which nearly 90,000* pregnancies are lost each year to abortion.
This is all the more tragic because the mayor sometimes seems to understand that more people are better. He claims he wants prepare the city for a million new residents. He is a leading, and at times eloquent, voice for immigration. In his endorsement editorial, however, he made only glancing mention of this issue, no doubt because it’s not an issue where Mr. Obama has shown any imaginative leadership. The last president who did that was George W. Bush, whom Mr. Bloomberg endorsed. The mayor has many fine qualities. But a fidelity to life, to growth, to free markets, these are values that would have kept a consistent leader in the Republican Party that Mr. Bloomberg used to win his mayoralty. Fidelity, New Yorkers have learned this past decade, turns out to be one of virtues Bloomberg has lost in the storm.
* 87,273 is the number of abortions in New York City in 2009. If that number were repeated every year for the 12 years that Mr. Bloomberg will have been mayor by the end of his third term, the loss would be equal to about 1.5 times the population of Seattle. We are not making a point about the right to abortion, the constitutionality of abortion, or who is entitled to make the choice. We are simply contrasting the scale of the tragedy and the silence of the mayor.