Michael Bloomberg thinks the only man capable of doing any job is Michael Bloomberg. He's the best candidate to replace himself as mayor, to run for president, and to serve in his own cabinet. Bloomberg really is the best guy around, according to himself.
On Monday, The New Yorker's Ken Auletta takes a deep, long look at the mayor's 12-year legacy on the job, complete with comments from Bloomberg himself, former friends and former foes on his performance over the years. Amid the job performance evaluations, there's one message that becomes clear: the only man Bloomberg thinks is the most qualified for any and every job is Michael Bloomberg. He is critical of the president and the entire crop of candidates lined up to replace him as mayor.
President Obama is failing to perform to his highest possible standards because he's not that great a manager, unlike Bloomberg, who owns a multibillion dollar business. The president is often criticized by Republicans for overreaching with his executive powers, but Bloomberg seems to think Obama doesn't do enough with his executive powers, while also chiding the President for not golfing with his opponents more often:
"I am sympathetic that he has a Congress that is partisan," Bloomberg told me, speaking of Obama. "In the past two hundred and thirty-five years, we’ve probably had lots of partisan Congresses. His job is to try to bring the parties together. And when he works at it he has actually done some pretty good things." But he faults Obama for failing to invite members of Congress to join him on his regular rounds of golf, for instance, and for delegating to Congress the drafting of important regulatory legislation, such as the Dodd-Frank bill and the health-care law. "His job is to lead," Bloomberg said. "He is the Chief Executive. It’s a separate but not an equal branch of government."
Bloomberg often espouses his criticism of the Obama "at dinner parties, while drinking copious amounts of wine," Auletta tells us. This is all despite a curious desire to serve in the presidential cabinet. "It would be fascinating to be Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, jobs like that," Bloomberg tells Auletta at one point.
While Christine Quinn has widely been considered as Bloomberg's favorite candidate in the mayoral race, Auletta points out that their relationship has fractured over the last year as his time in office winds down and her election campaign ramps up. Auletta reports Bloomberg can barely muster a care for any of his potential replacements because none of them compare to Michael Bloomberg:
Bloomberg is having a hard time reconciling himself to the inevitability of a successor, especially since, as his closest advisers make plain, he believes that the current candidates lack stature, gravitas, and independence.
Over the weekend, The New York Times released a new poll revealing New Yorkers may be tired of Bloomberg's firm grip on New York City, despite his reluctance to leave after 12 years serving residents of the Big Apple. Seventy-one percent of New Yorkers said they would classify Bloomberg's tenure as mayor as "good" or "fair." Bloomberg would probably fit in better with the 12 percent who would classify his time as "excellent," because of course he's the best man for the job.