Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Mike Bloomberg on Iraq?

When I was looking through the New York Times at work today, I noticed an article on Mike Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York City. The headline was "Bloomberg Parries Repeated Questions on the War in Iraq." Over the last few days, the article says, Mike Bloomberg has been asked questions about President Bush's support of the War in Iraq and about Cindy Sheehan, and has refused to go into specifics in response. The other day he quipped, "It's not a local issue and I don't have anything to say." And he shouldn't. New Yorkers should care about Mike Bloomberg's views on the Iraq war about as much as they, or anyone, should about Cindy Sheehan's views about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

So maybe that's a slight overstatement. The City has suffered significant losses of troops overseas in Iraq, but the mayor of New York City has nothing to do with foreign policy or the military. It's easy to see why Bloomberg's opponents from the left would want to press him on his views on Iraq. New York is a blue city, and Bloomberg a red mayor. New York Democrats see the mayor's ties with the unpopular President as an opening to weaken his support among New Yorkers who may oppose Mr. Bush but, at this point, support Bloomberg. Though there's no evidence to be found of this being a major issue in the campaign, any pressure put on Bloomberg to defend the President and the war is just political opportunism and should be avoided.

I'd be very disheartened with any Democratic candidate who pressed the mayor on the war, or on any other federal actions that New Yorkers might oppose. Stick to education, security, public transportation and the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. Heck, if the Democrats want an issue to be at the front of, why not come out against the appalling Freedom Center set to go up on Ground Zero and which Bloomberg has waffled on? If anyone in the state deserves to be asked questions about Iraq or the lack of any energy policy or anything else federal, it's New York's U.S. Senators, but a municipal politician certainly has no jurisdiction or responsibility for what goes on in Iraq, or in Washington.


At 6:13 PM, Blogger Jack said...

Sam, don't mean to take up comment space, but where are you?

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Chris Woods said...

To an extent, I think it is right for the media to ask Bloomberg about the War in Iraq, at least as it concerns New York city citizens. As far as we can tell, according to Army intelligence, the war in Iraq has actually made the world less safe from terrorism. If I were a New Yorker, I'd be a little afraid and I'd want to know Mayor Bloomberg's thoughts on that.

There are a couple of other things that related to the War on Iraq that'd be worth asking, but I think you get my point about wanting questions connected back to NYC.

And you're absolutely right, though, that the media of NYC and Mayor Bloomberg have a lot more pressing municipal issues to deal with.

Btw, I love the new layout. Keep up the good work!


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