George Orwell put it well in his sardonic book, “Animal Farm.” He wrote:
“All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.”
And now Mayor Michael Bloomberg has shown us that Orwell wasn’t far off the mark. In 2009, Bloomberg, through his superiority in power and money, strong-armed the City Council to pass a law overturning the ban on more than two terms as mayor. Now, the Mayor has reversed himself. He will vote for a two-term limit for everyone else — even as he continues in his third term.
He has affirmed that, in the political jungle of New York, he is the one animal more equal than others.
The Mayor should get credit for having chutzpah. Originally, he favored a two-term limit. He called an effort to extend term limits “disgraceful.” Then, although the people had voted twice in referenda to install term limits, he put all his political and financial muscle into lifting those limits so he could run for re-election in 2009. Now he apparently has seen the light. And he wants to go back to the two-term restriction.
He almost lost in 2009 — and many believe it’s because many voters didn’t like the manipulation. He won’t win a prize for modesty. He told the voters that, in view of the fiscal crisis, he felt New York needed him. But they almost elected Democrat Bill Thompson.
The former comptroller reacted bitterly to the latest pirouette at City Hall. “This is just incredibly hypocritical!” he told the Daily News. “You just changed the law two years ago to suit yourself and now you’re going to change it back?”
Professor Douglas Muzzio at Baruch College bristled. He told me: “The Mayor represents total expediency. He’s Louis the XVI. He has a monopoly on the truth and doing right.
“Term limits is a sordid saga—no one could be proud of it.”