Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Bloomberg Doth Bestride the World Like a Colossus?

Sue Casey, at Huffington Post, states bluntly that if NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg enters the presidential race, he will win. No ifs, ands, or butts. (In-joke about his antismoking campaign. Get it?)

She doesn't have much of a case -- he's rich, he's independent, he's pragmatic. Um, okay. We're not sure these outweigh the mayor's own ironic self-assessment: "A short Jewish billionaire from New York? Come on!" Still, we at the Egg would be more than happy to believe Casey is right. Bloomberg is our mayor, and a damned good one. Apparently, "President Wesley Clark" is simply not going to happen, so we'll take Bloomie.

What's a bit odd to us is that Sue Casey (whose bio mentions that she "cut her teeth on New Hampshire primary politics") seems distressed by the possibility that an independent might run and win, because this means "the primary season could come and go and not matter one whit," and that Bloomie could be elected "without ever having to worry about such an old fashioned notions as party primaries."

Let's be frank, Sue. That's a good thing.

Why? Well, it's not as though party primaries are required by the Constitution. Far from it; "faction" -- by which they meant political partisanship -- was something the Founders earnestly, if naively, hoped to avoid in their nascent Republic. Nor are primaries proving to be an especially distinguished way of choosing candidates. Competition among states to feel important has led to a perversely early primary season, meaning in turn that we have to endure a long, pointless, and expensive campaign. The GOP's winner-take-all system means that the dissenting votes in larger states (Republicans in New York, Democrats in Texas) are effectively worthless, and the candidates are effectively chosen by swing states -- call this the "Electoral College fallacy."

Honestly, a candidate who can take some of the king-making power-madness out of New Hampshire, Iowa and their slew of wannabees will be doing the nation a favor. And if the same candidate is beholden to neither party machinery nor the wishes of big-time corporate donors, so much the better. If, unlike any of the announced candidates (including Giuliani!) the candidate has a solid track record of effective management in one of the most complex and challenging environments imaginable, all done without the usual political game of playing interest groups off against eah other -- well then, by gum, I think we might have a winner.

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