Michael Bloomberg's plan to outlaw giant sodas in New York City has divided the town and the nation, but probably not in the way many people expected. In a somewhat surprising twist, the liberal, pearl-clutching elitists at The New York Times published an op-ed attacking Mayor Bloomberg's anti-sugar plan, while both of New York's more populist-posturing tabloids came out in favor of it, denying us a delightful 'SODA JERK' headline on the front page of The New York Post.
Everyone seems to agree that our beverages have gotten too big and that America's love affair with sugar is killing us all. They also agree that Bloomberg's constant nagging about our health problems is both annoying and surprisingly useful. Smoke-free bars and restaurants with calories listed on the menu have been a tremendous boon to city life. But where as a lot people feel the drink regulations are intrusive and unworkable (and possibly discriminatory), the normally nanny state-hating Post and Daily News think the mayor should keep it up. It's an odd predicament for both pro- and anti-Big Government types when the "regular Joe" newspapers call for more regulation, while the Democratic Assembly leader wants to create a new state law (that would trump the City's laws) in the name of greater freedom.
As Bloomberg himself put it during his media blitz yesterday, somebody has to stop "wringing their hands" and take some kind of action. Even The New Yorker came out in favor of the ban, arguing that it will probably be a miserable failure when it comes to curbing obesity, but if it can at least get people to think about what they're drinking for five seconds, then it's worth giving it a shot. Bloomberg may never do for soda what he did for cigarettes, but sometimes having a controlling, worrywart for nanny isn't the worst way to grow up.