The ancient Greeks gave us the gift of democracy, a system defined as the rule of the people.
They also gave us the word hubris, the attitude defined as overweening pride or arrogance.
As he runs for a third term. our mayor is using -- or misusing -- the processes of democracy by investing tens of millions of dollars in an effort to smother his financially poorer opponents and return to City Hall. And, if you doubt that he has hubris, consider what he said the other day about this campaign.
Bloomberg, who is not facing anyone in a primary, told reporters he wasn’t really running against anyone. His challengers, Bill Thompson and Tony Avella, who are competing for the Democratic nomination, the mayor suggested, are irrelevant.
Now that’s a modest man for you! Apparently when you are the richest man in New York, you don’t have to recognize the existence of others.
"I’m not running against anybody," Bloomberg said, "I’m running on a record, and I’m trying to lay out the things that I would do if given another opportunity."
Democrat Bill Thompson’s spokesman Mike Murphy said: ‘’If he isn’t running against anyone, why is he spending so much money and why does he have his hired guns lob baseless negative attacks at Bill on a daily basis? This is an election, not a coronation.’’
Referring to the debate the Democrats had on Wednesday night, when Avella and Thompson spent a lot of time attacking Bloomberg, the mayor said they ‘’wasted an opportunity. ‘’ Bloomberg said he didn’t watch the debate so he apparently was filled in by his staff. But he pointed out: ‘’I’m not going to face either of them . I’m going to answer the questions and say why I should deserve the opportunity to serve the public for four more years.,’’
A Quinnipiac Poll shows that the mayor is ahead of Thompson by 15 points but it also points out that, by a 2-1 margin, people think the mayor’s tremendous campaign spending is "overkill." And a majority finds his advertising avalanche ‘’annoying.’’
So what is one to make of all this? Here’s a mayor who made his fortune exercising the first amendment guarantee of freedom of the press denouncing the press for pushing him to have debates and then saying debates are worthless anyway.
The mayor says; "I’m not running against ‘’anybody." Does that make him the only "somebody" in this race? Bloomberg says Avella and Thompson "need to make the case that they’re not just political animals." If the Mayor is a political zoologist, what kind of animal is he? An over-confident one, that’s for sure.
The ancient Greeks would say he’s suffering from an incurable illness. They would call it hubris.