What would the world have thought of Mayor Nagin if he’d diverted resources from Katrina relief efforts to holding a Mardi Gras parade? Mayor Bloomberg may be about to find out. As
Michael Bloomberg must have hoped that Sandy would be his own 9/11. A population in shock turned to the mayor in their hour of need. He dominated the airwaves; he issued decrees. He seized the occasion to speak out on the big issues: climate change, endorsing a president. He worked to project an air of authority and calm: the Marathon would go on.
It must have looked for a while as if he had done a Rudy and resuscitated a tired mayoralty, relaunching a national career. Perhaps a cabinet appointment in a second Obama administration, perhaps another shot at an independent presidential campaign.
It is looking less that way by the hour. As the true dimensions of the damage in New York gradually appear, as the death toll mounts and as chaos at the gas stations and devastation in Staten Island undercut the narrative that the city has responded effectively to the challenge, Mayor Bloomberg looks more like the hapless officials of New Orleans than Rudy Giuliani or Chris Christie. The decision to divert badly needed resources to the Marathon looks callow.