Monday, February 19, 2007

Running on Empty?

In keeping with our special interests theme there is an article in the Post today on the decision by Chris Quinn to not accept any money from third party lobbyists. The decision is an interesting one and raises the question whether the Speaker feels she can raise enough money for a mayoral run as long as she garners the Times endorsement for the race. Or perhaps George Artz is right (although George is rapidly becoming the Mitch Moss of the other side of City Hall): "It will make it a little more difficult {to raise money} but other people will give her money based on her integrity stance."

I guess we'll see. One things for sure, it is unlikely that the Speaker's position will endear her to the other members of the council, one of whom "quietly grumbled that Quinn was going to make it difficult for those who remain after she leaves office..." It is also true, however, that Quinn will continue to take money directly from unions and businesses, so its not as if she is planning to run in 2009 solely on her good looks and charm.

Which leaves us a bit bemused about all of this posturing and what it really means. Is it, in the words of the Citizens Union's Dick Dadey, the unblemished partisan of no money in government; "...the beginning of the end for influence peddling at City Hall." Or is it the age-old political need to appear good rather than actually be good, a cosmetic initiative that will be loopholed into nonexistence as we approach the next election cycle?

One last point for the infection-free Dadey. If we eliminate the influence peddling that you so abhor, on what basis will policy be made? On your group's unblemished conception of the public good? Or perhaps it will be made on the basis of a Bloombergian public policy expertise, an erudition that is built on years of policy analysis done in one's spare time while accumulating a fantastic fortune. We can't wait to find out.