Is there a term limit on the battle over term limits?
Five years after Mayor Bloomberg and the City Council overturned term limits – allowing the mayor and Speaker Christine Quinn to maintain City Hall's leadership status quo – the issue is still percolating on the campaign trail.
On Monday, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson accused Bill de Blasio of flip-flopping on the issue, saying that he supported overturning them legislatively in 2005 and then later opposed the repeal in 2008. Yesterday, mayoral candidate Bill Thompson piled on, saying de Blasio "supported overturning term limits through the back door, through the City Council, undermining the will of the people of New York City."
De Blasio maintains that – at least five years ago -- his fight against extending term limits was strong, saying of Thompson: "He'll admit that I was the one calling him to play a role in the effort."
So when most people can barely remember last week -- let alone 2008 -- why all the fuss about political history?
For some New Yorkers, the extension of term limits was a deal-breaker for their support of Mayor Bloomberg. While the mayor was still re-elected in 2009, it was by a much closer margin over Thompson than many had predicted (51 to 46 percent). In addition, exit polls showed that Democratic voters were angrier over Bloomberg and Quinn's term limits powerplay than the average New Yorker.
The question is whether that anger still resonates five years later. The term limits argument has been lobbed at Quinn by almost all of her rivals on the campaign trail and now it's a tactic that Thompson is trying to use on de Blasio. But are all Democratic voters angry that -- with Quinn's help -- Bloomberg steamrolled his way into a third term? It's not clear to me that this issue trumps concerns about education, stop-and-frisk, and the economy. New Yorkers' memory will be put to the test on Sept. 10th.