CH III: Independent Mike

Part III in a series on power and politics. 

Yesterday’s treatment of the relatively unchecked power of Cheney vs. Nixon leads me to this addendum on a more likable power broker in today’s politics: NY Mayor Mike Bloomberg.  Seems since Bloomberg has become an Independent the speculation of whether he’ll run for President just won’t end.  Wesley makes a good point that an alternative “third way” will likely emerge from the center versus the fringes of our political spectrum; someone like Bloomberg – with his wealth, power and determination – could be just the person to carve that new route to the White House.

And it’s his wealth and power and determination that gives me pause.

I like Bloomberg.  I’ve written repeatedly here that he’s the only male GOP I’ve ever voted for.  I like most of what he’s done for the city, and even as I challenge his policies, I’m still satisfied by and supportive of the changes he’s trying to make: poverty alleviation, affordable housing, greening the city, making the public bureacracy more efficient and accessible, etc.  It’s all good.  The fact that I saw him having lunch at City Hall restaurant in Tribeca with Star Jones years ago, and that he was born in Brighton, is simply the icing plus a scoop of ice cream on the cake.  If it weren’t for Hillary possibly making history in her Presidential candidacy, I could almost certainly get behind Bloomberg were he to run.

But there’s something really unsettling to me about his easy ability to spend $160M of his own money to buy himself the Mayoralty of New York City.  Not that other candidates are much less wealthy, or don’t throw inordinate sums at political races.  Indeed, the money involved in running for political office is completely out of control, and we’re ruled in this country by a gilded elite, no matter how many of them hawk their bootstraps stories for our votes.  It’s that Bloomberg, as a political outsider and a ga-zillionaire, is even more un-checked than the rest of them in his pursuit of power.  As a CEO turned politician, is he still answering to the market? To the people?  To the schoolboard?  Where’s the counterpressure on Bloomberg?

Fortunately, I like Bloomberg’s policies, so his running around New York reinventing the city in his own progressive image generally suits me fine.  But what if I didn’t agree with his policies and priorities?  What if he was more like this guy? 


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