Saturday, February 21, 2009

Who is the real dictator?

Earlier this week, Erin Einhorn, the fearless City Hall reporter for the Daily News, tried to ask Mayor Bloomberg about whether he should have allowed the public to vote on extending term limits, as did Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela. As you can see, the Mayor brushed her aside:

Q: Mayor, it’s hard to compare New York City to Venezuela but as you know, Hugo Chavez did his second effort - this time sucessful - to extend term limits. You chose to go through City Council. Do you have any second thoughts about this? Do you wish you should have had a chance to take to the...

A: I don’t understand your question. What on Earth do we have to do with Hugo Chavez?

Q: Well, like you, he wanted to extend his term.

A: if you wanted to ask Hugo Chavez, call him up! Maybe he’ll take your call. My suspicion is he doesn’t have press conferences and let people ask questions or if they ask questions, he probably throws them, I don’t know he does with them...Who knows? (Laughs). I still fail to see a connection.

While saying that Erin should win an award for her question, the Economist magazine also pointed out that Chavez holds regularly televised press conferences in which ordinary citizens are allowed to query him; one can hardly imagine our petulant Mayor allowing that.

For more on the contrast between Chavez or Bloomberg, and who acted as though he believed in democracy more, see Clyde Haberman's column in today's Times:

The people voted a while back to impose term limits on their political leadership. That was a nuisance for the man in charge. He was in his second term and prohibited by law from running again. But he sorely wanted to try for a third term.

Here’s what he did. He went back to the people to ask if they’d had a change of heart.

Obviously, he was not from New York.

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