Thursday, June 21, 2007

President Bloomberg?

The media is all aflutter because Michael Bloomberg decided to leave the Republican Party (good for him! Any sane politician should leave behind that party of incompetent extremists that faces extinction in 2008 and beyond) and registered as an Independent (even though he was once a Democrat). The media elite sees this as a preparation for a third party run for the presidency in 2008, which means the potential of the election becoming a three way race between 3 New York candidates: Senator Hillary Clinton v. former Mayor Rudy Giuliani v. current Mayor Michael Bloomberg. That would be quite odd. But, Republicans have to be shaking in fear of a Bloomberg run, because he'll more likely draw votes away from the Republican candidate than the Democratic one. And should he go where Ross Perot in 1992 or John Anderson in 1980 had failed, actually becoming president, he'll be the first billionaire president and the first Jewish president.

Seriously, though, something is amiss when the media is so bored already of the current slate of candidates that they are buzzing anew at the prospect of a "personality candidate" (much like the speculation in 1999 that actor Warren Beatty and the egomaniacal Donald Trump were thinking of running for president in 2000). We're still too far out from the election to really focus on who might win (though my money is on Hillary), and at some point, the fatigue will really sink in as people tune out on the candidates the way they supposedly are on the Bush administration. It's a long race, and it's too early to speculate on what Michael Bloomberg is going to do.

However, if he does have a realistic chance of becoming president, I'd worry a little bit. Because he owns some part of the media, that would be a scary thought. Propaganda was bad enough during the Bush administration...but will it get worse under a Bloomberg administration? At least with a Hillary presidency, the media will return to its adversarial role and scrutinize every decision she ever makes (instead of fawning over her as they have done with GWB). That's what the media is supposed to do. No president should ever get a blank check from the media, especially when it comes to making claims about the need to go to war.

The news story about Bloomberg only reinforces in my mind how insular New York is, and how elitist. When I was in New York City in 2002, I could feel the vibes in the air. I knew why people who lived in Manhattan felt like they lived in the center of the universe. It had that feel, but the "facts on the ground" revealed otherwise (it was pretty trashy/dirty, which is a huge negative in my book on what makes a great city). But, there's something about the vibe of the city that infects the residents (as well as the media) that they are "all that AND a bag of chips" (to use one of my cousin's quote). On "Nightline" last night, not only did they talk about Bloomberg's defection from the Republican party and his potential run for president, but they also talked about the new phenomenon of "mannys" (male nannys) that's all the rage among New York socialite housewives. So desired are mannys that some are paid $100,000 a year!!! Ah, to be so rich that one can afford to pay someone a salary like that to look after one's kids! Man, that must be the life. I would love to have even half that salary, myself. But, it just goes to show, there is something so distasteful about the elitism of wealthy New Yorkers. The last thing we need is a billionaire president from a media empire.

I personally wish that the media would not focus on the lifestyles of the rich and famous. All the talk about mannys and personal assistants, of the Forbes 100 lists, of how much money a movie makes each weekend, or what actors get paid, or how they live, or how much they spent on their homes...all of it contributes to the strange behaviour of Americans to vote against their economic interests. Because so many Americans believe that they will strike it rich someday, they vote against their economic well being and go along with the Republican scheme of tax cuts (which are bribes), and thus why we're in the mess we're in as a nation.

Nope...the last thing America needs is a billionaire president. I predict that he'll hardly make a blip. The excitement will fade as we get closer to the wire. There might still be some surprises in store with future candidates jumping into the ring. After all, the Republicans are scrambling to find "the next Reagan" that they are bored by the current slate of candidates. Democrats have nothing to worry about...we're gonna make history in 2008, no doubt about it. That'll give the New York elite something to chew on and stew over!


Phil Smith said...

I am intrigued by the whole Bloomberg development, but agree that this is not really big news. He was once a long-time Democrat, then switched to Republican for the NYC elections. To me, this demonstrates a creative, thinking man, not one governed by dogma. I like his blunt approach to things, and one cannot dismiss his very high approval rating in NYC (79%), which makes the Congress and President look absolutely ridiculous (though it really isn't fair to contrast the polls).

In any case, I hope Bloomberg runs, if for no other reason than because the current lot is disgraceful. It seems we prefer to replace knotheads with knotheads...

D/B/c/m said...

i love the synonym of tax cuts to bribes. so obvious, but i've never thought of it that way.

i have to say, that i'm not so jaded about new yorkers. we just got back from a week long trip there and i've never had people be so kind and considerate. it felt like the whole city was just waiting to help me with my two toddlers. lifting the heavy double stroller up and down subway stairs, free food, presents, waves, smiles, we were treated like royalty there. so, although politicians are usually the farthest from the people they represent, i still heart NY.