June 20, 2007
"Mayor to GOP: We're through"
As the Daily News headline tells us, Bloomberg has finally ended all his capricious and opportunistic dancing back and forth among party affiliations and quit the Republican party once and for all. Yeah, no more aligning himself with a particular party when it helps raise funds or bring money to the city or generally serves his own political purposes.
Of course, this move to Independent status is just one more example of Bloomberg running roughshod over our country's two-party system and using whatever aspects of "Republican", "Democrat", or "Independent" are most convenient for him at the time. More and more voters say they're fed up with the two-party system and consider themselves independents, and whaddaya know, now that's what Bloomberg thinks, too.
But I don't care. I still think it's a good move. The two-party system is a disaster; it oversimplifies all the complicated issues that politicians face into an increasingly meaningless set of prescribed stances. Partisanship has degraded open and respectful political debate. And for the Republican party especially, there isn't even any clearly identifiable party line or philosophy anymore: there are the Giuliani-Schwarzenegger-those two senators from Maine-(and fomerly Bloomberg) Republicans, and there are the Bush-Cheney-McCain-most of the 2004 Congress Republicans. The notion of a "big tent" party is transforming into a big incoherent contradictory mess.
So good for Bloomberg. Yeah, he exploited the two-party system to his best advantage all these years, but it's a system that deserves to be exploited and ultimately dismantled. Becoming an Independent is a blatant strategy to court moderate voters who are frustrated with both parties, but these days, that's most people.
When he announced his new-found no-party status yesterday, he said, "We're here not to represent parties. We're here to represent the people and that's what we have to do every single day and that's the way we get judged." Every politician makes idealistic statements like that, but few get behind those words, probably because being unaffiliated with either of the two major parties is political suicide. As the NY Times says, he won't be saddled with the ideological burdens of the Republican party anymore, but he's also setting himself up for full-scale assault from two powerful political machines should he decide to run for president.
But still! Burn that mother down, Michael Bloomberg!
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