Three-party pres­i­den­tial freak show

The Washington Times Weekly - - Commentary - Tony Blank­ley

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 tblank­ley@wash­ing­ton­

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