Your Tattler remembers well the Chicago blizzard of 1979 that buried the city under several feet of the stuff, along with the political future of Chicago Mayor Michael Bilandic. Days after the snow stopped, the side streets were still not plowed, main arteries were narrow two-lane ruts in the snow, and parking was a matter of driving into a snow bank and digging your car out the next day. If that was not aggravating enough, Bilandic had the chutzpah to go on TV and assure Chicagoans all was well and that things had been plowed – including designated public parking areas – that were not. The anger of city-dwellers reached the boiling point over those jaw-dropping pronouncements and, in one of those incredible political miracles, Daley Machine inheritor Bilandic lost his sure-thing nomination to Jane Byrne in the Democratic primary, and Byrne went on to become Chicago’s first woman mayor.
New York City’s independent ‘No Labels’ Mayor Michael Bloomberg apparently forgot the lesson of Bilandic, if he ever learned it. Yes, voters often have short memories, but not when it comes to the tangible physical and mental stress engendered by a massive snowstorm. Seeing your expensively-attired billionaire mayor, appearing dry and comfortable on TV, braying that everything is fine, all that can be done is being done, and to stop complaining, is not the message snow-besieged proles want to hear. I think this stunt finishes Bloomberg’s future in politics, just as NYC Mayor John V. Lindsay’s presidential ambitions were plowed under by his failure to adequately respond to a Big Apple blizzard 41 years ago.
Next door, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, the GOP’s emerging Golden Boy already declining in popularity back home from his managerial incompetence – he lost $400 million in federal aid for state public education due to bumbled paperwork, for one – and obsessive Republican addiction to cutting any program, including state pensions, that benefits the ‘little guy’ while protecting his wealthy benefactors from economic pain, will likewise see his political future melting like a Newark snowball in June, as the clueless Guv has remained on vacation in warm and sunny Disney World in the aftermath of the crippling storm. Christie has, as yet, made no public announcement or curtailed his vacation in order to deal with his state’s weather crisis – perhaps an acknowledgement that his blustery Tony Soprano style of governing may intimidate some, but not Mother Nature.
Massive blizzards demonstrate the need for full-capacity city and state services during a time of crisis, the very things manic cost-cutters like Bloomberg and Christie have put on the chopping block; and the need for leadership that understands what’s happening on the ground, even when that ground is covered with snow; something these conservative budget-balancers forget, to their political peril.
President Bloomberg? President Christie? Fuhgedabouit!
© 2010 RS Janes. LTSaloon.org.