Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Terrorism Comes to Times Square; Bloomberg Fails to Lead

Crises provide leadership opportunities. After 9/11 Mayor Giuliani became a national hero. After last Sunday's failed car bomb attack in Times Square, Mayor Bloomberg became a national joke.

For now, let's stop laughing long enough to think about what happened.

Lacking any information about who was involved, Bloomberg went on national television... not to lead, not to express anger that his city had been attacked, not to stand tall and resolute against a continuing terrorist threat... but to demonstrate his mastery of politically correct thought.

A reasonable, and perhaps less intelligent, man would have suspected that the perpetrator was a Muslim extremist. 99% of the world's car bombs are set off by Muslim terrorists.

Given the evidence, Mayor Bloomberg declared that the responsible party was anything but. He sounded like he was channeling the Daily Kos, playing Charley McCarthy to Markos Moulitsas's Edgar Bergen. Here is what he told Katie Couric: "If I had to guess 25 cents, this would be exactly that. Homegrown, or maybe a mentally deranged person, or someone with a political agenda that doesn't like the health care bill, or something... There is no evidence that it's tied in to anything else. It looks like an amateur job done by at least one person." Link here.

As though it could have been done by less than one person.

Bloomberg could not have made any less sense if he had tried.

As we know, President Obama has been peddling the line that the Tea Party demonstrators, coupled with conservative talk radio and right wing bloggers, has been fomenting violence. It has simply been laying down a predicate that it might one day be able to use to discredit the loyal opposition.

As it happened, the administration had learned from its mishandling of the Christmas Day panty bomber, and did not jump to any conclusions about the Times Square bomber. It did not have to do as Bloomberg will have to do: eat his words.

You cannot provide leadership in a conflict if you do not know who the enemy is. You cannot lead if you are afraid to name the enemy. You cannot lead your city or your nation in a fight against Islamic terrorists if all your attention is directed against the threat posed by those big, bad Tea Party activists.

As I suggested, Bloomberg's views were identical to those of the leftist blogosphere. The Daily Kos took a poll that yielded results that would have warmed Bloomberg's heart. Link here. Most of those who participated believed that the bomber was a militia type or a Tea Party activist. I do not believe that any of them reached the level of intellectual abjection required to label it a protest against Obamacare.

Once the bomber had been identified and captured, leftists across the nation were wiping the egg off their feace. Not without regrets. As MSNBC host Contessa Brewer confessed: "There was part of me that was hoping that this was not going to be anyone with ties to any Muslim country." Link here.

In reality, the bomber hated George Bush and was strongly opposed to the war on terror. And this would make his intellectual fellow travelers who, exactly?

Of course, bloggers and other commentators have every right to offer fledgling theories. That is their business. Those who inhabit the extreme left work very hard to advance a narrative which says that when Muslim terrorists attack the country and murder its people, the first thing we should do is self-censor any and all references to Muslims, and then to declare war on those who are really responsible: Republicans.

Clearly, Democrats have been exploiting this narrative. They made themselves the anti-war party in the last election, and, even today, the Obama administration seems to have an allergy to calling Muslim terrorists Muslim terrorists.

And yet, once a Democrat became Commander in Chief, expediency dictated that the Democratic Congress cease its opposition to the war. Such is politics. And, we must add, the Obama administration reacted well to the Times Square car bomber.

In one sense we just got lucky. But, in another, the government mobilized rapidly and effectively to capture the terrorist.

How then does it happen that a man as supremely intelligent and capable as Michael Bloomberg can entertain such ridiculous ideas? Why is it that these billionaires-- think of George Soros-- are so vulnerable to the siren song of leftist thought?

If I had to speculate, I would suggest that they have arrived at the pinnacle of career success, and find that there are no more lands to conquer. When you have conquered the world of information, as Bloomberg did, become the wealthiest man in New York City, made yourself a good mayor of the city, what is left to do?

Perhaps these billionaires believe that after conquering the real world, the only world left to conquer is the world of ideas, a world filled with metaphysical entities. Many of them seem to want to take their place beside the philosopher kinds. After all, George Soros seems to imagine that he can gain more prestige by pretending to be a political philosopher than he does by succeeding as a hedge fund manager.

The problem is, in order to conquer the world of ideas, it appears that you need be accepted by the intelligentsia and the cognoscenti. As it happens, this is not true, but if you ask any intellectual he will swear that it is. And he will tell you that he holds the keys to the kingdom of ideas.

He will tell you that you need to belong, that you need to be one of them before you can stand out among them. You can do as Soros did and buy your way in, but you cannot do that if you are mayor of a city.

Your best bet is to make yourself the vehicle for propagating their ideas. Does it matter that the ideas that reign supreme in the world of the intelligentsia are often fictions masquerading as theories? Apparently not. You still need to demonstrate that you can help disseminate those fictions. Reality be damned.

As we see, painfully, those billionaires who seek to gain entry and even prestige among the intelligentsia are really babes in the woods, naive and innocent. They do not know the rules of the game or even the players. In the end they get exploited and manipulated and made fools of.

Before they begin their journey they should reread Moliere's Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme.


Anonymous said...

""" How then does it happen that a man as supremely intelligent and capable as Michael Bloomberg can entertain such ridiculous ideas? """

Is he "supremely intelligent?" He's smart about the world of finance and information, where he got his wealth, but is he really as capable a mayor as you allude he is? I think he's just riding on the remnants of the results of Giuliani's efforts. The man has a brain that belongs in a retirement home for obsessive/compulsive neurotics, what with all his health edicts and whatnot. He's a little old lady hiding in the body of an insufferable ninny.

Anonymous said...

last one. mr. shneiderman, i see u're obsessed with bill clinton. why's that?

you rant a lot about people hating sarah palin yet you display a kind of disturbing hatred for mrs. clinton your self.

maybe u're senile. i don't know.