Peter, the answer to your question about Mayor Mike’s politics is: He doesn’t seem to be much of anything, actually. We can presume he is socially liberal by the fact that — unlike Rudy Giuliani — he has no interest in or hunger for confronting the city’s ideological elites. And he did raise property taxes 21 percent, though, to be fair, property taxes in New York City had been kept on the astoundingly low side for a long time.
In one key respect, though, Bloomberg has embraced a central principle of Republicanism — the necessity for stimulating economic growth through deregulation. In New York City, you must deregulate in part by loosening up the city’s demented zoning rules. He knows that a cash-hungry, benefit-consuming municipal government can only function if the city’s economy is allowed to grow and grow. That’s why he’s staked his future on the construction of a new stadium on Manhattan’s West Side–because he believes with some justification that the stadium, combined with rezoning, is the key to unlocking two square miles of dormant real estate. The infusion of public money that the stadium will require, which gets conservative hackles up unnecessarily, will be returned many times over by the infusion of private development funds resulting from the construction of an entirely new neighborhood west of Penn Station.
I underestimated Bloomberg in one regard four years ago. I thought he was a dilletante. Turns out he’s pretty hard-charging. He’s not a great mayor, not even all that good a mayor, but he’s a competent mayor, and next to the bozos who are trying to unseat him, he towers like a Colossus.