Here’s a pie chart Bill Thompson’s campaign is sending out in an effort to dispel the notion that Michael Bloomberg is independent.
The chart purports to show that 88 percent of Bloomberg’s political contributions since 2002 has gone to the Republican Party.
The Thompson campaign also sent out a video, subtly entitled “Bloomberg Loves Bush,” of Bloomberg’s appearance at the 2004 Republican National Convention, which was held in Manhattan.
Whether or not the data becomes more compelling in graph form, the political intent is clear. It’s a familiar tack, using what is, on paper, the mayor’s biggest liability.
It’s not a new idea. Note the similarity of this line of criticism to one that was leveled against Bloomberg in the run-up to the 2005 mayoral race, which he ended up winning convincingly. In a 2003 poll, Democrats saw that tying Bloomberg to the Republican Party drove his negatives through the roof, and increased the lead any generic Democrat had over Bloomberg in head-to-head match-ups.
(From the November 16, 2003 story about that poll: “ In the ‘message-testing’ section of the poll, voters were read a positive assessment of Mr. Bloomberg’s tenure (‘Not a career politician’ who has produced balanced budgets and falling crime) and one of two different attacks. One portrayed him as ‘an out of touch billionaire who can’t relate to the problems of ordinary New Yorkers’ and rattled off a list of unpopular policies, from raising property taxes to closing firehouses. The other reminded voters of the Mayor’s support for President Bush and other Republicans. ‘How can Bloomberg fight for us, when he’s defending the Republican Party line?’ it asks.”)
But, as Freddy Ferrer can tell you, calling Bloomberg a Republican doesn’t necessarily move as many voters to support a real, live Democratic candidate in this overwhelmingly Democratic city as one might think.
“Didn’t Mark Green and Fernando Ferrer run this campaign in 01 and 05?” asked Bloomberg campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson.
Wolfson, in case you forgot, helped push the “out-of-touch billionaire” line when he was the spokesman for the New York State Democratic Party.