Wednesday, March 27, 2013

NY Times Attack on Quinn Part of Plan to Make Lhota Mayor by Making Thompson Dem Choice?

So I am a suspicious sort. I agree that Quinn is awful and believe everything in the NY Times article and would never vote for her. But something is fishy. Note this quote from a 2010 Wayne Barrett piece:
Friends of Thompson expect him to try, like loser Rudy Giuliani did in 1989, to stay in play on the sidelines and run for mayor again in four years, when a departing Bloomberg might throw him an endorsement or some checks.... Thompson often looked like a befuddled shadow-boxer, tied to Bloomberg at the hip while serving up obligatory campaign lip.
See Perdido St. comments:
NY Times: Christine Quinn Is A Petulant, Tantrum-Prone Child
and Backlash Against Quinn Grows.  RBE at Perdido has often branded Thompson as the worst candidate in history. 
I do think there is a plan operating here. And that is to make Joe Lhota mayor and the only way to do that is to have the weakest possible Democrat as a campaigner run against him.
And that is one Bill Thompson the worst candidate to run for mayor and the supposed behind the scenes choice of Bloomberg both in 2009 and most probably this time too as a stalking horse for Lhota.  The Times has run some puff pieces on Lhota and a look at Thompson's backers leads one to some suspicion -- sorry I can't find the link. Ignore the talk about rifts between Bloomberg and Lhota. They are both part of the undemocratic oligarchy that has a choke hold on the city, especially when it comes to the education and real estate gravy trains.
I wrote about the Wayne Barrett piece in the Voice Jan 10, 2010
The next time you read a New Action leaflet bragging about how they were the only caucus to endorse Bill Thompson, suggest people read this revealing Wayne Barrett piece in the Voice about Thompson's girlfriend/wife and how Bloomberg has helped her.

Bloomberg and Thompson: The (Really) Odd Couple

Now it can be told: The surprising ties between the billionaire mayor and the poor slob who ran against him

This is an odd story about an even odder couple, and the surprising ties that bind them. It's a tale of intrigue about a mayoral contest that left New Yorkers feeling so cheated fewer of them voted than in any election since 1917. It also reveals how one of these odd partners compromised the other, subverting the independent checks and balances required of a mayor and comptroller by law.
As the curtain opens on 2010, the stars of the year in city politics, Mike Bloomberg and William Thompson, who were awkwardly allied since being inaugurated together eight years ago, are each moving on to new and uncertain phases of their public lives.
Bloomberg, who has suffered recent stunning setbacks in the City Council, has already discovered that third terms and narrow wins can diminish even mogul mayors. Thompson—entertained at Gracie Mansion at a post-election private breakfast and praised by Bloomberg as "a quality guy" who the mayor hopes "stays in public service"—is still considering a 2010 race against our unelected senator, Kirsten Gillibrand, or unelected state comptroller, Tom DiNapoli ("Go for it," cheers Bloomberg). Friends of Thompson expect him to try, like loser Rudy Giuliani did in 1989, to stay in play on the sidelines and run for mayor again in four years, when a departing Bloomberg might throw him an endorsement or some checks.
Thompson, who only promises he will run again sometime for something, has suddenly become a darling of the media, which are now overcompensating for relying too obsessively on inaccurate polls that failed to anticipate a four-point margin of victory. Thompson, it turns out, got virtually the same total vote Fernando Ferrer did in 2005, while Bloomberg pulled in 180,000 fewer votes than he received last time. Thompson's close margin was less a result of his underappreciated strengths—the Times' Mike Barbaro correctly reported two weeks before the election that his "biggest obstacle" was "his own undisciplined campaign"—than they were of a result of Bloomberg fatigue. Thompson, in fact, had an "oddly relaxed" campaign schedule, with a single event some days, observed Barbaro, and was "chronically late" and often failed to appear at all. He spent more than half his money before the mid-September nominal primary, forcing him to rely on blink-of-an-eye, 15-second TV commercials in November.
But that wasn't enough. Thompson's real role, for Bloomberg at least, was to help force the feared congressman, Anthony Weiner, out of the race, a goal that Bloomberg guru Howard Wolfson has openly acknowledged. Thompson obliged, giving up a sure third term as comptroller. Weiner himself explained in a Times op-ed when he withdrew in May that "running a primary against Thompson would only drain the ability of the winner to compete in the general election." Having lost to Ferrer in 2005 by 11 points, Weiner understood that minority candidates have won all but one of the Democratic mayoral primaries since 1985. So when the leading black politician in the city decided to make his improbable run, Weiner had nowhere to go but out. Thompson and Bloomberg might as well have had a first-round victory party together that night.
Like other powerful New York pols, Mike Bloomberg wanted to pick his own opponent. Gillibrand and Chuck Schumer spent a year setting the table for 2010, and, as one-time putative opponents Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney can attest, the incumbent pair used every knife and fork available. Ed Koch picked his opponent when he derailed ex-congressman Herman Badillo and won a third term in 1985, and Giuliani did it when he submarined a possible challenge from Alan Hevesi in 1997. Faced with internal polls that we now know rarely put Bloomberg above 50 percent, he preferred an opponent whose vulnerabilities were well known to him, having already exploited them for years.
Thompson couldn't, for example, attack Bloomberg's development policies since, as a member of the city's Industrial Development Agency, he had voted 876 times in favor of the $9.6 billion in bonds that underwrite the projects, opposing them only five times. Charged under the city charter with assessing Bloomberg's budgets and auditing his agencies, Thompson had instead gushed about the mayor for most of his two terms, leaving him with virtually no viable way of distinguishing himself from his golf buddy when the two ended up on opposite sides of the ballot.
What Bloomberg got with Thompson was a made-to-order challenge, so tame at times that a reporter, frustrated by Thompson's unwillingness to say a single critical word about Bloomberg at one September press conference, asked why he'd called it, and so over-the-top at other times (as when he promised to fire Police Commissioner Ray Kelly), that he looked grotesquely out of touch. The Daily News' Adam Lisberg captured it in a classic headline: "Nice-guy Thompson can't find the jugular." Thompson curiously decided to make schools the core of his attack on Bloomberg even as his key campaign consultant, Roberto Ramirez, was lobbying in Albany on behalf of a Bloomberg-tied group championing mayoral control. Thompson often looked like a befuddled shadow-boxer, tied to Bloomberg at the hip while serving up obligatory campaign lip. As for Bloomberg, he'd contended in 2008 that all the term-limits extension did was give voters the additional choice of voting for him, a supposed "expansion" of the franchise even as he overrode the result of two referendums. Then he maneuvered successfully in 2009 to narrow that choice to the opponent he wanted to face.
Read it all here. 
Here are some ed notes pieces on Thompson:
Dec 26, 2011
Thompson only lost by 50,000 votes. Denis Walcott will continue his jihad against city schools. Christine Quinn will be Mayor Bloombergs proxy in retirement. Nothing will change. The UFT must support Bill Thompson for ...
Nov 04, 2009
The big winner, and maybe the only winner in the mayoral election, was Bill Thompson. 51% to 46%. Add the other anti-Bloomberg candidates and it's a statistical tie: 51-49%. All along I felt he was running for the 2013 race.
Dec 14, 2007
The man who stood beside her in October to announce the project, city Controller William Thompson, could have warned her about the problem. His office was aware during negotiations that the developer refused to promise ...


  1. Sorry to self link, but the link you were looking for regarding Thompson's fishy campaign donations is here:

    I think you're wrong about the agenda behind the Quinn article, btw.

    She has MANY enemies, people literally joined the Chelsea Democratic Club recently just to oppose that group's eventual endorsement of her candidacy, she has a dedicated cadre of protesters who follow her around wherever she goes to protest her, the people she works with hate her.

    It's not a surprise that this kind of story emerged, nor is it a surprise that they put it on the front page. They did a similar piece about what a jerk Weiner was to his staff a few years back before PenisGate.

    Also, this is when the oppo research gets dumped - a few months before the summer when a damaging meme can start to harden around a candidate.

    Clearly the meme here is that Quinn is temperamentally unfit to be mayor.

    I think that meme is right.

    I don't think Lhota has a chance to win, even if Thompson is the candidate against him.

    He's an even bigger swine than Quinn and I have a hard time seeing him run an entire mayoral campaign without having a couple of public meltdowns/ferret moments.

    I agree that the powers that be are not happy with Quinn as Bloomberg's successor and want somebody more amenable to them like Lhota.

    I don't doubt that Thompson is in the race to do damage for the corporatists.

    But it is possible de Blasio could get the most out of a Quinn implosion, not Thompson.

    de Blasio is polling higher than Thompson in the last Marist and Quinnipiac polls, so don't assume Thompson is the only "real" opponent for Quinn in the Democratic primary.

    That doesn't mean de Blasio isn't damaging to progressive values in his own way, btw.

    The guy they REALLY fear (Liu) they already destroyed.

    I think the powers that be figure they will have to deal with four years of somebody less than Bloombergian or Rudyesque (but still malleable) before they can engineer another corporate takeover of City Hall.

    That's my two cents.

    1. Food for thought. I don't see any Dem out there that they feel comfortable with. Bloomberg is a sexist swine and they covered it up for him. In a 4 way race -- imagine Quinn not getting the conservative anti-gay vote -- and Thompson picking up the black vote -- a 2 way runoff like in 2001 -- and Thompson could win. Then play the same weak role again. The Times has run Lhota puff pieces and Thompson funders from what I remember are suspect of conspiracy.

  2. As I've written before, and as the history substantiates, Thompson is a Potemkin candidate, there for show and to divert votes among Democratic primary voters.

    The only thing we know for sure is that the city's - indeed the global - Overclass wants NYC to remain firmly in the grip of Neoliberalism. While Quinn is brittle and rightfully hated by many, she is a reliable broker of their wants. Llota might be preferable, but seems to have a weak chance, unless one of the losing Dems goes third party to split the November vote.

    As RBE says, Liu has been destroyed by Bloomberg's ability to manipulate law enforcement, and the ruling class, like the rest of us, may not be happy with its choices.

    All the more reason to organize outside the electoral system, and ideally make them come to us.

  3. Isn't this the Bill Thompson that you Norm and many leading MORE guys regularly trash the UFT over not having supported in the last Mayoral election? You trashed the UFT for 1) not having a functioning crystal ball and knowing that there would be a small gap separating the candidates that the union might have been able to make up 2) not throwing in a huge push supporting Thompson to get Bloomberg out. Yet now you make out, through your comments and the articles you reference that Thompson is (was) in cahoots with Bloomberg, a stalking horse, his golf partner, didn't oppose him in his offical capacity, whatever, certainly not the guy the UFT could have looked to to make positive changes, recognize that his campaign was purposely inept and was really looking to 2013. Are you revoking your criticism of the UFT in not endorsing Thompsone and going to the wall for him in 2009? You seem to be be validating all the reasons they had for not supporting him.

  4. Not me but New Action and some ICE people trashed the UFT over that but I agree that the UFT should have endorsed him.
    The diff is that New Action has actually endorsed and pushed this loser while James at ICE said support him as last resort.
    Remember Paul Egan we can only move the needle 2 points? Why not endorse anyone but Bloomberg?
    But what book of sophistry are you using here when UFT has supported the worst people in the world without blinking. In this case where anyone but Bloomberg was good for us you punted? Really pathetic excuse. You suddenly got religion?
    Of course you should have gone to the wall for him -- maybe 100 less closed schools and less charter co-locos. But then again maybe having Bloomberg support the UFT charters is the most important thing.

  5. I agree that the ruling class of this city can live with Quinn just as they could have lived with Thompson but just as they preferred Giuliani and Bloomberg they certainly prefer Lhota. The very same people behind those two campaigns are now behind Lhota's and neither Giuliani or Bloomberg required a democratic third party candidate to run in order to win the election. It just took lots of cash and a compliant media and most important working class conservative democrats - all of this is beginning to coalesce. The piece in the NYTimes today is the beginning of the campaign to get working class democrats over to Lhota - cultural / religious politics is the surest way to do it and is absolutely the key ingredient for him to be able to win just as they were the key for both Bloomberg and Giuliani.



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