The Times reports that Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of New York who has everything, now also has a pretty sleazy — and by all indications, gratuitous — campaign dirty trick to his credit. It’s push-polling to slime his rival for the mayoralty, Anthony Weiner:
As his campaign sought to overpower any candidate considering challenging him, Mr. Bloomberg commissioned a telephone poll last month that spread derogatory information about Representative Anthony D. Weiner, one of the mayor’s possible rivals in the race.
The calls came around mid-March, even as Mr. Weiner announced he was not certain he would run for mayor.
In interviews, several people who received the telephone calls said that they were told when they picked up the phone that a survey was being conducted, but were soon asked a series of questions featuring negative information about Mr. Weiner.
The questions began benignly enough: Are you registered to vote? Do you plan to vote in the mayoral election? But then they shifted to Mr. Weiner, asking whether the person’s views of Mr. Weiner would be altered if he or she knew of certain problems involving Mr. Weiner, from missing votes in Congress to having difficulty keeping staff to accepting campaign donations from foreign fashion models.
I like Mike, even if he is a bit of a reckless scofflaw. He’s running for the post of Mayor for Life, of course, and that raises the problem: We loved Ed Koch, who was — in so many ways — no Mike Bloomberg, and vice-versa. But that third term… oofah. That left a mark.
There is something unhealthy about it, as there is regarding any unnatural attachment to state power (via Insty). Maybe we’re starting to get a preview of what that something might look like for Mike. All power, all the time.
Originally posted on Ron Coleman’s pretty good Likelihood of Success blog.