Mayor Bloomberg’s decision to wipe out the Occupy Wall Street movement – and to do so unconstitutionally, by using the police to impose a de facto media blackout preventing coverage of the event – has given us all a little taste of just how high-handed and autocratic L’il Mikey naturally is. To be sure, these aren’t the actions one associates with the persona Bloomberg has spent so many years cultivating of a “semi-liberal centrist,” but instead with that of a privileged member of the 1% who is not used to being denied anything he wants.
Of course, until he was actually challenged by the Occupy movement it was easy for L’il Mikey to play his easy going, easy guy role. I keep thinking of Matt Taibbi’s description of Bloomberg after watching him in action at a Huffington Post event last year:
Bloomberg’s great triumph as a politician has been the way he’s been able to win over exactly the sort of crowd that was gathering at the HuffPost event that night. He is a billionaire Wall Street creature with an extreme deregulatory bent who has quietly advanced some nastily regressive police policies (most notably the notorious “stop-and-frisk” practice) but has won over upper-middle-class liberals with his stances on choice and gay marriage and other social issues.
Bloomberg’s main attraction as a politician has been his ability to stick closely to a holy trinity of basic PR principles: bang heavily on black crime, embrace social issues dear to white progressives, and in the remaining working hours give your pals on Wall Street (who can raise any money you need, if you somehow run out of your own) whatever they want.
He understands that as long as you keep muggers and pimps out of the prime shopping areas in the Upper West Side, and make sure to sound the right notes on abortion, stem-cell research, global warming, and the like, you can believably play the role of the wisecracking, good-guy-billionaire Belle of the Ball for the same crowd that twenty years ago would have been feting Ed Koch. (emphasis added).
But with the events of last night and this morning, I think it is fair to say that – when push comes to shove – Bloomberg has finally revealed what constitutes his highest priority: “giv[ing his] pals on Wall Street whatever they want.”
And what is even more revealing – in an extremely chilling kind of way – is the degree to which Bloomberg refuses to recognize any restraint on his ability to do whatever he wants in order to help his Wall Street buddies get rid of the nuisance that is OWS. In additional to unconstitutionally blocking the press from doing its job, he is apparently more than willing to simply disregard court orders with which he disagrees. Via ThinkProgress from earlier this morning:
A judge has ruled that Bloomberg cannot lawfully evict protesters from Zuccotti Park and has issued a temporary restraining order against New York City. The order allows the protesters to return to the park until after a hearing on the matter today at 11:30 a.m. In a news conference, Bloomberg said that it was his intention to open the park at 8 a.m. this morning but that, as a result of the restraining order (and contravening it), he will keep the park closed until the hearing.
During the question and answer period, Bloomberg added, “It’s our considered judgment that the best course of action is to leave it closed,” in the event that “the judge changes her mind.” (emphasis added)
Now, let’s be real clear about what L’il Mikey is telling us. He received a Court Order (i) explaining that he did not have legal authority to kick protesters out of the park, and (ii) requiring him to allow the protesters back into the park, but that he himself has decided to disregard that Order and instead act in accordance with his own “considered judgment.”
Is it just me, or doesn’t it strike anybody else that L’il Mikey essentially has decided that as Mayor of New York he alone has the authority to decide how the peace is to be kept in his city? The situation now has gone well beyond a simple dispute about the right of protest; by disregarding the Court’s legal Order and publicly explaining that he instead is going to follow his own judgment, L’il Mikey has effectively announced the imposition of autocratic law.
Where I come from, recognizing and adhering to the rule of law is one of the cornerstones of being an American. This is especially true when it comes to the rule of law as it applies to our different branches of government. Refusing to recognize that the Mayor of New York is bound by the lawful orders of the New York Courts to the same degree as is everybody else is positively un-American. And now, so is L’il Mikey Bloomberg.
So, can everybody please just shut up now about running L’il Mikey as a centrist, third-party candidate? He isn’t a moderate, and he isn’t a centrist. Like almost everyone who makes up the 1%, he is a rich autocrat who doesn’t believe he is bound by the same rules as everybody else.
And he’s an un-American shitbag to boot.