In football, they call them Monday morning quarterbacks. On the road, they are back-seat drivers. In politics, well, they are political analysts.
At Bloomberg headquarters last week, while we reporters were scratching our heads as the stunning results rolled in, more than one expert did a little revisionist politics.
“I told you this was gonna happen,” one said to me. “You did?” I responded in disbelief. “‘Yea,’” he answered. “A while back.”
Oh sure, a while back. No wonder I had no recollection. It’s not that nobody ever warned me that this election was closer than it looked. Somebody named Bill Thompson told me on election eve, “The numbers are now single digits, and we’re closing.” I took his comment as bravado. It wasn’t.
Mike Bloomberg kept saying that he was taking nothing for granted. Now we know why. The political second-guessers are also having a field day with the Thompson campaign. “Amateurs” is the word I’ve heard. Really? True that there were missed opportunities. Thompson did not go as negative as he could have. He ignored a golden opportunity when former Mayor Rudy Giuliani stepped into the storm with fired up rhetoric that surely could have helped rally Thompson’s base. He could have made better use of Congressmember Anthony Weiner, a tough campaigner who dropped out of the race earlier?this year.
But let’s be fair. Thompson was outspent 10 to one. He was deserted by some New York City Democrats, some unions and one President of the United States. Barack Obama seems to be a new force in New York politics, and he’s doing a heck of a job there! The White House surely could have helped close a five-point gap. But the fix was apparently in. The President also fixed it so Senator Kirsten Gillibrand would have no opposition. Except from a Republican!
Now our first African-American President has dissed New York State’s first African-American Governor, and New York City’s African-American candidate for Mayor. Nice.
So with everyone and everything lined up against him, Thompson got some 507,000 votes, about 4,000 more than Fernando Ferrer got in 2005. He did it without big money, without going too negative, without playing racial politics, without help from the White House. Maybe the voters appreciated the classy approach.
Thompson lost the race. But he can hold his head high. It was Bloomberg who was deserted, perhaps by supporters who thought “Mr. Moneybags” had it in the bag. Or by some voters fed up with all the robocalls and commercials that made every channel The Bloomberg Channel (don’t we already have one of those? Random question: Does Bloomberg pay for commercials on Bloomberg? Answer: Of course).
The Yankees spent $200 million but won a championship and the hearts of a grateful city. Mayor Bloomberg spent $100 million and won an election. Good luck with those four more years . . .
For comments, contact Dick Brennan at Dbfox5news@aol.com.