New York, NY – In a wide-ranging interview with Mayor Bloomberg featured in this week’s edition of The Atlantic (http://goo.gl/6Q0Iq) which included his recent crackdown on sugar, streamlining government, and campaign finance, among other topics, the Mayor talked about how he views his role and his tenure as mayor.
“I said one time that if I finish my term in office — at that time, we were talking about eight years, or four years — and have high approval ratings, then I wasted my last years in office. That high approval rating means you don’t upset anybody. High approval rating means you’re skiing down the slope and you never fall. Well, you’re skiing the baby slope, for goodness’ sakes. Go to a steeper slope,” the Mayor said. “You always want to press, and you want to tackle the issues that are unpopular, that nobody else will go after.”
Case in point, the Mayor noted, was his recent victory in the battle over the regulation of metzitzah b’peh, where he remained firm in his position in the face of tremendous opposition, including “10,000 guys in black hats.”
“I think it’s fair to say that nobody else would take that on. I mean, come on! Forget about the fact that — “They do what!?” — Who wants to have 10,000 guys in black hats outside your office screaming?
And yet, I said to the rabbis: The science is not perfect, and it is to some extent an art — medicine — but there is a reasonable chance that this is dangerous to kids’ health. There have been some kids who we believe die or have brain damage from the practice. My obligation is to protect the citizens. I understand freedom of religion. Nobody stood up for it more than me — go back to the [Ground Zero] mosque, where I got beaten up for doing what was right….,” the Mayor said.
Asked what he sees as the Obama administration’s biggest success to date, the Mayor responded, “I suppose, well, you can step back and say: showing that the country has gotten beyond the ethnicity or religion or whatever of an elected official. That was a big deal.”