Monday, July 9, 2007

Tricky Micky

In a prior post, I noted the opportunism and expediency with which NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, the newly-minted independent, former Republican and previous Democrat, changes or drops party affiliations when they get in the way of personal ambition.

Well, in case you missed the July 6 article by Raymond Hernandez and Danny Hakim in the New York Times, they reported that "at the same time that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been traveling the country in recent weeks denouncing partisan politics, he has been quietly sending a very different message to the state’s Republican Party: I will continue to support the G.O.P. team.

"On June 19, shortly before Mr. Bloomberg announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, he telephoned the state’s most powerful Republican, Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader.

"The mayor wanted Mr. Bruno to know the announcement was coming. But Mr. Bloomberg, a major contributor to New York Republicans [not to mention the Republican presidential convention in NYC, which he organized and heavily bankrolled], also sought to reassure the majority leader that despite the change, he would still back Mr. Bruno and his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

“'He will support us now, and as we go forward,' Mr. Bruno said, describing the conversation. 'His support is his support.'

"The call to Mr. Bruno was one of several conversations Mr. Bloomberg has had with Republicans in New York in recent weeks pledging his political support.

"And it underscores the tricky territory the mayor has landed in as he positions himself as a newly declared independent.

"Mr. Bloomberg is seeking to raise his national profile for what he calls his nonpartisan approach to problem-solving, perhaps in preparation for a presidential bid. But at the same time, he appears determined to maintain his strong ties to Republican leaders in Albany as they try to hang on to their slim majority in the Senate, which they have controlled for more than 40 years.

"Mr. Bloomberg’s support for Republican candidates is critical; the mayor has been the biggest individual donor to Senate Republicans, according to state campaign finance records, giving $575,000 since October. He also gave the New York State Republican Committee $175,000 in the same period. (During that time, by contrast, he did not donate to any Democrats in the Legislature.)"

Tricky Micky?

Not totally. When he first morphed into a Republican because he couldn't get the Democratic nomination for mayor, he presented his bipolar partisanship as a bold elevation of ideas over ideology. And, of course, Bloomberg was a vocal and financially generous backer of that other great independent mind, Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman, who courageously votes with the Republicans against his own (?) party's attempts to get U.S. troops out of Iraq.

And, in his recent emergence from the partisan phone booth as a superhero, his chest emblazoned with a big I for Independent, he declared “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.”

Of course, historically, non-partisan, independent (a.k.a. unaccountable?} forms of government have tended to be tribal patriarchies, monarchies and dictatorships of the right and left.


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