All Political Corruption is Local
Matt Yglesias is befuddled that Michael Bloomberg is ineligible for re-election as NYC mayor:
It really does seem a bit odd that a mayor with a 67 percent approval rating should be forced from office because of a term limits law. I suppose I understand the theory that presidential-level term limits serve as a check on tyranny, but there doesn’t seem to me to be a good reason to worry about that at the local level of government.
One could point to the Daley Machine in Chicago or William “Boss” Tweed and Tamanny Hall as obvious counterpoints.
State and local politics is by no means my expertise; I had one undergraduate course on the subject and have followed it much more peripherally than I have national and international affairs. My sense, though, is that mayors, especially big city mayors, get re-elected almost automatically and they have far more ability to hand out spoils than do presidents.
Indeed, despite it being theoretically and logically true that local government is closer to the people and therefore more closely watched, the opposite is clearly true. After all, virtually everyone knows the name of the president, the president’s wife, the president’s kids, the president’s pets, and the names of major candidates for president and the names of their wives. Not so much their local mayor or city councilmen.