HOW THE BRUISED APPLE WAS WON
James Campion on Bloomberg
This is a tough time
to write about politics. What with a smoking crater on the lower west
side of Manhattan and half the tri-state area crazy with fear over terrorist
activities, real and imaged. Not to mention this reporter's late-summer
exodus into the Garden State via the Bear Mountain run, making this the
first campaign season that I spent away from all the cronies at Gracie
Mansion in nearly fifteen years. It was hard to follow anything in Jersey
after the first week of September. There were some e-mail invites to Bret
Shundler events down in Wayne, but one of them fell on the night the Counting
Crows were over at William Paterson University, and my sister-in-law and
her husband were visiting from Syracuse. It was a timing thing.
It was also a reverse vengeance move on my part. This was
something I learned in Journalism 101 over at Trenton State in the early
"Reverse Vengeance" is when someone attacks the validity of
a story you
write, then asks you to cover another. That's a no-go in the reporting
I was able to actually practice this "theory" during a spring
internship program in which students were asked to pen a query letter
to an editorial department head critiquing the periodical's material and
direction, and then offering their "unique" services to correct
it. Most of my fellow classmates chose Esquire or The National Review
or Sports Illustrated. My choice was TV Guide.
My only mistake, apparently, was trashing the whole concept of television
in the thing. This was curious to my professor, seeing how I was a radio/television
major. None-the-less, my query letter was laced with expletives and references
to the entire medium "resembling the pasty substance spewed from
a coke-head on a whiskey binge." It was good writing though, just
not something a big-time editor wanted to read from a snot-nosed college
kid. I received a one-sentence response a month later on TV Guide letterhead
from a mister Gerald Eisen that read: "You think its amusing to compare
the entire television industry to a drug addict's puke?" I still
have the damn thing. But I think I was just writing about Bret Shundler.
Seems someone in the Friends For Shundler group denied a story I wrote
in the 7/4 issue of Aquarian about the candidate spinning doughnuts up
on Route 59 in Rockland County during the primaries. This was a spurious
argument on all ends. The Bergen Record broke the story. I just commented
on something a friend of mine from Haverstraw described as
"pretty out there behavior for someone running for governor."
So Jim McGreevy won. And from all accounts Jersey Dems are thrilled. Many
of them remember the mess Jim Florio made of the taxes here, threatening
to use the National Guard on the Garden State Parkway against "any
motorist making hand gestures at the coin baskets and then blowing their
horns in an attempt to travel for free."
Florio was a madman, but he was right. There are no free rides on the
parkway, not then, not now, not ever. Which brings me to the NYC mayoral
race, that wasn't much of race at all four days before the polls opened.
By Saturday afternoon before 11/6, Democrat Mark Green had a solid 16%
lead over Michael Bloomberg. And that was after a furious comeback which
took him from a nearly 30% quagmire last summer.
Of course, last summer his Republican meal ticket, Rudy Giuliani was mired
in divorce proceedings, his wife threatening to kick him out of the mansion
downtown. The mayor of NYC was reduced to shacking up with an assistant
in a one-room walk-up on the lower East side. He was in no shape to stump
It was a bitter denouement to 18 months of cop beatings and the slaughtering
of innocents by the NYPD. Moreover, there was a sense that New Yorkers
had somehow traded their civil rights for safety and truckloads of Disney
money. People were starting to forget Uncle Rudy's amazing reconstruction
of the cesspool of hate and disorder David Dinkens had left him. I could
not blame them. They weren't sitting next to me at Giuliani's campaign
hub in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn on the night Uncle Rudy was elected 107th mayor
of New York. He was one of their own, come home to clean the streets and
kick the ass, and if I close my eyes right now I can see his grinning
face up on that twenty foot screen telling his people not to fear anymore.
Driving home on the BQE that night, it was hard to decipher just
who "his people" were exactly. White people? Cops? Italians?
Either way, it was only a few months into Uncle Rudy's reign that
the Third Avenue bridge exit off the Major Deegan, once crawling with
stoned and violent squeegie guys, turned into a police state. This was
good news for everyone, even the squeegie guys, who were given
three-squares a day with the homeless in prison camps up in Ossining.
Now where was I going with this? Oh yes, Bloomberg's comeback.
The press loves to talk about things like miracles. But there are no miracles
in politics or sports. The Mets won in 1969 because they had better pitching
and clutch hitting than the Orioles. The '78 Yankees made up a 14 game
deficit in six weeks to the Bosox because they had a guy named Ron Guidry
who took the ball every fifth day and rammed it down the throat of anyone
holding wood. And they had Thurman Munson, who once told Maury Allen of
the NY Post that he would "gladly pistol whip anyone with a 'B' on
their cap for five minutes of peace."
Bloomberg will be the next mayor of the Big Apple because it was bruised
on 9/11 and Uncle Rudy rose from the political grave to do what he does
best: "clean the streets and kick the ass." And all those people
who'd forgotten "the scary years" remembered what kind of Wild
West show New York had been under Dinkens and feared Green like the plague.
Not to mention Green, a liberal democrat, was pummeled in the all-important
Hispanic vote due to his shameless dismantling of Bronx Borough President
Fernando Ferrar two months ago.
Green tried the same crap with Bloomberg, playing up court records and
minor league race bating, but he is grass, and Mikey is the toast of the
town because his buddy, Uncle Rudy said so.
The Big Apple will miss him.
You know, the apple with the smoking crater downtown.
more from James
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