Three-party presidential freak show
I’ve got to give it to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg — he does not suffer from low self-esteem. But then, as he owns a 68 percent share of the $20 billion to $30 billion, privately held, self-named Bloomberg L.P. firm, which yields more than a billion dollars of after-tax yearly income personally to him, why should he?
In the full flush of his flushness, the mayor of Gotham has announced that he probably will run as an independent for president of the United States — and is prepared to spend a billion dollars on the project.
In fact, according to the reporting of Ralph Hallow in The Washington Times, Mr. Bloomberg has already put the quicksilver billion aside — so there will be no need for any last-minute checking for coins under his Venetian silk settee cushions.
He is a former Democrat who switched to Republican for his virginal entry into elective politics (his successful 2001 mayoral run) because he couldn’t get the Democratic Party nomination. He is routinely characterized as a social liberal who is fiscally tight with a buck (no surprise there, he didn’t get rich throwing away money). New Yorkers judge him to be an excellent manager of the city’s affairs.
People like me see in him a nosy, hectoring, busy-body, antismoking, anti-trans fat, social engineering, lifestyle blue-nosing, freedom-crushing, nanny-state enthusiast. He thinks he knows what is best for all of us (except our need for rugged-individualist freedom). But he means well. And with his means, he may do well.
After all, the billion dollars is just his ante. If he feels like it, he could double or triple down. By next November he could spend more by some magnitudes than both the Republican and Democratic candidates for president, the two parties’ campaign committees, all the special interests (who measure their fund-raising and spending success in the few millions), and in fact every candidate for the House and the Senate.
In other words he could spend, out of his own checking account, more than the rest of the nation in its entirety spends on the entire 2008 national election cycle — unless George Soros gets jealous.
While money can’t buy love (or so I am told), it surely can buy attention.
And in the freak show that the 2008 presidential election is shaping up as, who is to say which freak will end up first in show.
Consider the line up. In the Democratic Party race, the current leader and likely nominee, Hillary Milhous Clinton, is, by prior and now private inclination, an antimilitary radical feminist Euro-Socialist come Trotskyite who is masquerading as a pro-military, pro-free-market, religious centrist.
She is considered the experienced candidate, although she has had few responsibilities in her life (and no accomplishments) other than to be the put-upon wife of Governor/President William Jefferson Blythe Clinton. But she now speaks easily of “our administration” when referring to the U.S. government from 1993-2001 (her husband’s administration).
I wonder whether Socks the Cat and Buddy the Dog (wherever they are today, God bless them) also meow and bark about “our administration.” But the media and the public accept that she is “experienced.” I suppose she is, of a sort.
Unloved and off-putting as she is, she will probably get her party’s nomination even though its left-leaning party voters reject her public centrism, while she is afraid to publicly utter her private “sinister” political yearnings — which policies are exactly what her party regulars want.
On the Republican side, the two leading contenders are each, in their own way, despised by the base of the party they seek to lead. Rudy Giuliani, though per- sonally admired and liked, is proabortion, pro-gay rights and progun control in a party that is animated by the opposite. Should he get the nomination, there will be many loyal party foot soldiers who will neither battle nor vote for him — much as they think he is a fine fellow.
Sen. John McCain, having spent the last decade being a pain in the Elephant Party’s backside, is viscerally despised for being the party gadfly and thereby a liberal media darling.
Also in the mix is Mitt Romney, the moderately rich (under $500 million) recently moderately liberal Massachusetts governor, son of a moderately liberal, self-admittedly brainwashed Michigan governor and late president of the defunct American Motors Corp. — who also briefly thought it would be fun to be president.
If it is Rudy and Hillary, and now Mr. Bloomberg, we could be looking at a three-way race between three moderately liberal to leftist New Yorkers running for president in a right of center country with no even moderately conservative candidate.
And should Sen. Barack Obama surprisingly get the Democratic nomination, then we would substitute for the secret leftist, publicly centrist Hillary Milhous, a completely inexperienced AfricanAmerican possibly former Muslim, partially Indonesian-raised, Harvard-trained Kennedyesque candidate.
Therein, lies the three-party freak show that is likely to produce the next president of the United States during this early period of the Age of Islamist Terror in which we live. And yet, we live in hope that ours is a Providentially guided country.
Tony Blankley is editorial page editor of The Times. He can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.