Posted by Niall O'Dowd at 6/23/2009 10:46 PM EDT

Michael Bloomberg is seeking a third term as Mayor of New York at a very trying time in the city and country’s economy.

We think he should be re-elected, especially at this time of great economic difficulty. The need for a steady hand on the tiller in New York City has never been greater. In addition, he has been a great friend of the Irish American community.

As our interview with him this week makes clear his support for legislation to legalize undocumented immigrants and his continued outreach to the Irish American community on issues such as Northern Ireland and helping the Irish economy is heartfelt and real.

These days the Irish no longer dominate New York politics but they are an important swing vote, especially in the outer boroughs where they live in large numbers. Bloomberg has proven his commitment to our community and we see no reason to change horses midstream.

Bloomberg fits New York like no mayor since Ed Koch. He has that same larger than life quality and the ability to engender trust and confidence in his abilities, whatever the crisis that Koch had in his day.

Better than Koch he also has retained the ability to listen and respond to New Yorkers problems which is often missing after too many years in politics. In bad time those are singular gifts.

They are also rare. We only have to cast a glance northwards to Albany where the clownfest in the State senate continues to get the sense of how important it is to have a skilled and innovative politician in position to deal with hard times and to take advantage of the coming upturn.

What we are seeing in Albany is the worst excesses of the machine politics, which sees local mediocrities returned to Albany term after term to do their bosses bidding rather than the people’s.

No one could accuse Michael Bloomberg of being that kind of politician. He is that rare bird, a successful businessman who turned his talents to politics and succeeded. It is no easy task to accomplish that, the disciplines require vastly different skills as the number of businessmen who tried and failed to make that transition prove.

We should also note his incredible philanthropy—he is one of the biggest givers in America—a sure sign that he retains at core a sense of a moral mission to make the world better for others. That is no small accomplishment in a city where understanding of so many minority groups and an abiding sense of compassion for those less well off is a very real attribute.

It is a cliché, but nonetheless true that it is easy to govern in good times –but you show your true mettle when the odds are against you.

This is something the government in Ireland has discovered to their cost as they flail away with record unpopularity numbers and an economy seemingly endlessly cascading lower.

Bloomberg’s insights as an incredibly successful businessman will add greatly to the ability of the city to recover from these trying times.

As he makes clear in our interview his priorities are to make sure that New York is well and ready for the upturn when it comes. That means in part keeping crime low, ensuring that his stellar work on school reform continues, encouraging tourism and making sure that small businesses in the city are aided enough to bounce back from this severe recession.

For all those reasons this newspaper is proud to endorse Michael Bloomberg for mayor. There is simply no other candidate who comes close.