Barring a change to New York City law—which Michael Bloomberg already got once before—the city’s Nanny-in-chief will be term limited out of office in January. With his reign nearing an end, commentators are beginning to question what his legacy will be.
A CNN retrospective on Bloomberg’s public health initiatives suggests that on obesity policy it may be too soon to tell what that legacy might look like. Indeed, the evidence supposedly supporting the mayor’s policies is extremely limited. As CNN reports:
“The legacy is yet to be written on some of these initiatives,” [attorney Peter Zimroth] told the conference, adding that the evidence that such efforts would reduce obesity was itself thin and could wind up being counterproductive. “There’s a limited amount of capital, I think, that government has to engage in coercive measures,” he said.
However, we think we can suggest a possible legacy for Bloomberg as city food scold: Unity. For a politician these days, that takes some work, but as we noted when the initial reactions to the now-struck-down soda ban flowed in last year, the big brotherly dictate united the right-leaning Wall Street Journal and the left-leaning New York Times editorial boards in heaping opprobrium on the Mayor’s head. Now a bipartisan majority in Mississippi has taken preventive measures in defense of food freedom against would-be followers of Bloomberg’s heavy-handed food regulation measures.
And who would think that HBO commentator Bill Maher and former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin — political and cultural opposites if ever there were two — would ever agree on anything? But they have: Bloomberg brought that impossible alignment about. Palin recently addressed a conservative conference with a large soda in hand, and Maher said on his show: “You shouldn’t have to clear what you eat with the municipal government.”