It is said that once a man be comes a bishop, he never again hears the truth or eats a bad meal. Imagine, then, the pampered life of the Emperor of Bloomstan.
To understand how King Mike could deny the snow truth that all New Yorkers could see, you first must understand his golden bubble. It's not just the weekend trips to warmer climes, or the routine comforts of a multibillionaire with homes here and there.
It's that he surrounds himself with yes men and women. They don't dare bring him bad news. They know he doesn't want to hear it.
We can call them cowards, and they are, but that misses the point. The corruption of power multiplies over time, and few inconvenient facts penetrate the walls of his bubble these days, especially now that he is focused on winning the White House.
The mayor himself is the problem, and it won't be fixed until he decides to fix it. To save the city and his reputation, he's got to get his head back into the job.
So far, there is zero evidence he will. His performance last week was distressingly shoddy. The failure to competently manage the Sanitation Department was only the tip of the blizzard.
The greater failure was to understand and manage public expectations. His reaction to the criticism was a microcosm of the worst moments of his tenure. The tone-deaf elitist, the haughty rich guy who oozes contempt for anybody who challenges him -- all of it captured on the X-ray cameras of television.
"I regret everything in the world," he snapped at one press conference, secure in his screw-you attitude. He insisted the sanitation commissioner was "the best sanitation commissioner the city has ever had."
In his bubble, that's self-evident. If the sanit man weren't the best, the self-declared best mayor would not have appointed him.
Imagine being the deputy mayor or lesser aide who knows that New Yorkers are rightfully furious. After the mayor's public lashing of critics, few are the brave souls willing to tell him the truth and risk a blow-up or banishment.
Ah, but perhaps the King didn't know, didn't realize the life-and-death implications of ambulances stuck in the snow.
Perhaps, but then it was his choice not to know or to care. All roads lead to the leader.
He bought the third term not because he wanted it, but because it was the best job on the market. He wanted to run for president but didn't have the courage to try.
Now he and New York are stuck with each other, but we're not really in it together. Emotionally and mentally, he has checked out. The job is beneath him now.
So New York burns while he fiddles. The signs of imperiousness are everywhere.
The CityTime scandal, an $80 million rip-off, was just another day at the office for him. Bike lanes proliferate even though nobody except a few zealots want them.
Commissioners in health and transportation brazenly fudge facts to sell his pet projects. Land-use rules are manipulated to justify sweetheart deals to favored contractors, such as the whopping homeless shelter on West 25th Street.
It's a rotten time to have a disengaged mayor. If Andrew Cuomo is the reform governor he promises to be, revenues from the state will be slashed. That will make City Hall's job tougher.
The Sanitation budget shows the hard times are just beginning. Spending has gone up 20 percent since 2006, even as its uniformed work force has fallen by nearly 10 percent. So we're paying more, and as we saw last week, getting less. That can't go on.
The only hope is for a course correction at the top. And New Year's is the perfect time for a new beginning. But even kings can't merely wish a change. They must commit to it and work at it, all day and every day.
So which is it, Mayor Mike? Are you in or out?
Goodwin hits it EXACTLY - Bloomberg doesn't want to hear ANYTHING that doesn't conform to his expectations or world view.
With the curtain coming down on The Wizard of Accountability and people getting a good glimpse of the petulant, self-absorbed, clueless Bloomberg last week during the Bloomberg Blizzard Disaster of 2010 and last month during the CityTime scandal, perhaps the press will take a closer look at all the data and stats Bloomberg's administration throws out to show what a success they have been.
The crime rates, the fire fatalities, the homeless population stats, the grad rates and test scores in the schools - all phonied up by Bloomberg's managers because they KNOW the Wizard of Accountability doesn't want to hear bad news.
But you know what?
New Yorkers need to know this stuff.
And the press needs to start publishing these stories.
Up until now, Bloomberg has gotten pretty much a free ride from the press.
Little scrutiny has been paid to his "accomplishments" in policing, education and other areas.
That time must now end.
The Mayor of Accountability MUST face some accountability of his own.
New Yorkers and the press must NO LONGER assume Bloomberg knows what he is talking about on any issue.
After CityTime and the Bloomberg Blizzard, it is Bloomberg's job to prove to us he knows what he is talking about, not the other way around.