Monday, December 31, 2007

Giving Them a Run for His Money

As we have been saying for the past year, the mayor's pursuit of a special interest-his own ambition-has been the undergirding for his miraculous transformation into poverty crusader and an environmental activist. Whether or not you feel all of this is in the public interest or not depends on your own political perspective.

Now, however, the cat's about to get out of the bag-and the coy speculation about the mayor's political future looks like it's gonna turn into something a bit more significant; as today's NY Times story about a confab of alter kocher independents fuels talk of a presidetial plunge: "Buoyed by the still unsettled field, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg is growing increasingly enchanted with the idea of an independent presidential bid, and his aides are aggressively laying the groundwork for him to run."

What strikes us here about all of this is the ideological bipartisanship that appears to underlay all of this speculation. The term, of course, contains just a bit of irony-as some of the political oldsters, worrying over their own obsolescence, talk about the compelling need for less partisanship if we're going to be able to properly address the country's problems: "Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, “I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.”

This is without question a complete crock. The abjuring of ideology from the country's political dialogue is a complete misreading of the current political stalemate. The stalemate devolves from two starkly divergent world views, and bipartisanship is not only no panacea, it amounts to little more than gibberish when you get beyond the drooling over the prospects of someone spending a billion dollars to buy the country's highest office.

Partisanship and its ideological underpinnings are essential to facing forcefully the challenges of Islamic terrorism, illegal immigration, the health care crisis, and the restructuring of the American economy to address a number of other political issues. And, of course, it's important to emphasize that the mayor's own Nanny world view will generate its own potential for political gridlock-not to mention the revenge of all of the "special interests" if by some miracle he would be elevated to the presidency.

The fact of the matter is that Mike Bloomberg's political views do not resonate all that well with the vast majority of Americans, and his minority presidency would create a new form of gridlock, whether it was post partisan or not. Which makes the following comment by former Governor Boren and former Senator Nunn in today's NY Daily News rather droll: "Today, we are a house divided," they wrote to other politicians invited to the powwow. "We believe that the next President must be able to call for a unity of effort by choosing the best talent available - without regard to political party - to help lead our nation."

All of this back to the future bipartisan banter is useful only for camouflaging the ambitious musing of the mayor; after all, no one really cares what all of these political has-beens have to say. And isn't it ridiculous, in the middle of a political campaign, to cite the need for bipartisanship as a rationale for all of this? Here's what Boren said to the NY Post: "But if we don't see a refocusing of the campaign on a bipartisan approach, I would feel I would want to encourage an independent candidacy."

So we've got the oldsters longing for a renewed political relevance teaming up with Daddy Warbucks to create this faux issue, one that is sure to stimulate the masses if a billion dollar ad campaign is used on its behalf. Perhaps so, but trust us here, it will have nothing to do whatsoever with solving some of the perilous problems that the country faces today.