If Cathie Black is ultimately rejected as schools chancellor, Mayor Bloomberg is all but guaranteed to say it's city schoolchildren who will suffer. But the mayor himself will also be paying a price in the form of emboldened political enemies. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.
Taking office again almost 11 months ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg pledged that he wouldn't catch the plague of other mayors: third term fatigue. But a damaging narrative is already forming as it becomes increasingly likely Bloomberg's choice of schools chancellor won't get the State Education Commissioner's required okay. That is, the mayor's moxie is on the decline.
New poll numbers have Bloomberg at his lowest approval in five years with 55 percent giving the mayor a thumbs up, 20 points lower than his high two years ago.
"If Bloomberg has a PR operation, and I'm sure he does, you'd think that they'd be cranking away trying to build up counter pressure, because at the moment, the Quinnipiac numbers echo exactly the kind of stuff you're seeing in all the headlines: she's not qualified," said Maurice Carroll of Quinnipiac University.
Of course, a lot of mayors would envy those numbers, and that unemployment in the city is lower than the national rate.
While City Hall declines to talk about the latest setback regarding Cathie Black, they would strongly resist talk of mayoral malaise. Then again, education is Bloomberg's pet issue. And this all comes as new reports show progress in schools hasn't been as rosy as the mayor would have the city believe.
Improvement on past standardized tests was found to have been inflated. And regular public schools are outperforming Bloomberg's prized charter schools by one measure.
Going forward, the city's massive budget deficit could mean big trouble in all areas of government, with the secrecy and top down approach he wielded in tapping Black's appointment only reinforcing the mayor's rap that he's out of touch.
In the past, the mayor has fought that by touting his national popularity, with aides whispering of a presidential run. But closer to home, the setback is going to embolden those fighting him -- unions and others -- just as the economic rough patch will have Bloomberg begging for all the cooperation he can get.