Wednesday, June 20, 2007

On the national political stage

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's statement (New York Times, June 20) on why he has dropped his Republican Party affiliation and is registering as an independent:

“I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead my city,” Mr. Bloomberg’s statement read. “Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles, and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology.”

Well. . .it would probably be more accurate to say that the move is in alignment with the opportunism and expediency with which the former Democrat has led and will continue to lead his political life: Change or drop party affiliations when they get in the way of personal ambition, and then pour in the big bucks to try to drown the competition.

To paraphrase the late Senator Everett McKinley Dirksen (anybody remember him?), despite the hundreds of millions of dollars the current candidates are banking, if Bloomberg gets into the presidential race, "we'll be talking about real money."

And, of course, "any successful elected executive knows that [these days] real results" are more often bought than won. And, as any savvy voter knows, the more the gold standard rules elections, the more tarnished democracy becomes.

As for good ideas taking precedence over adherence to political ideology, ideology at its best embodies principles, and good ideas have been, in the history of this democracy and others, hammered out through robust partisan debate.

It's comforting to know, though, that if Bloomberg does not ascend to the top of this country's political profession, he will continue to maintain his standing in the world's oldest profession.


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