Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Michael Bloomberg: Another Rich Guy In The Market for High Government Office

What is it with these rich guys who think they can go and buy high government office? The Texas blogosphere has been all abuzz about a moneybags Austin lawyer, Mikal Watts, who wants to challenge John Cornyn for his seat in the Senate, and has put up nearly $4 million of his own money (well, some of that was a loan . . . to himself) to “level the playing field”. Well now we have New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg; apparently he wants a shot at the presidency.

Today, Bloomberg filed papers with the New York City Board of Elections changing his party affiliation from “Republican” to “Unaffiliated”.

So why do this, and why do this now? Bloomberg offers this as his reason:
“real results are more important than partisan battles and . . .good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology”.


If I weren’t so jaded by all of the previous earnest statements of well-intentioned rich guys, I would swallow this . . . . well, not really. This is step one in the 3rd candidate (aka “spoiler”) playbook, the same playbook that gave us a Texas governor who was voted into office by 39% of Texas voters.

Rich guys aren’t political, they are expedient. Michael Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat, they say, until he needed to be a Republican in 2001 so he could become Mayor of New York. The Democratic primary field was too crowded for him, so he switched parties. Now, since there is such a crowded field in either party’s race for their respective nominees, Bloomberg has cast a curse on both their houses. Friends say that Bloomberg is willing to spend $500 million to get himself elected president.

He must have looked at the playbook of his predecessor, H. Ross Perot, who nearly threw the 1992 election of Bill Clinton into a congressional vote. Perot only garnered 19% of the popular vote, having spent $50 million of his own money to finance his campaign. I guess that’s where Perot went wrong, he should have outspent both Democratic and Republican Campaigns instead of match them dollar for dollar. Or so Bloomberg seems to be reasoning.

And why not? It worked for him in the NYC mayoral elections where he outspent his Democratic opponent 8-fold, or a staggering 114 dollars per vote.

But $500 million is a big chunk of change to buy an office that pays only 400 large per year. Well, then there’s the perks.

You really have to wonder about guys like Bloomberg and Mikal Watts. These guys have it made. They have more money than 99.99% of Americans. You’d think they would be happy and fulfilled. But, no, they seem willing to kick in huge chunks of their fortunes so they can have some power and influence.

Trouble is, it’s the voter who loses if either of these guys have their way. In the grand scheme of things, if high political office is for sale to the highest bidder, it’s the voter who gets treated to leaders with no real deeply held convictions. All they get is guys who know how to capitalize on opportunity.

America deserves better.


Anonymous said...

Dont compare Bloomberg with Watts.
Watt has always been a Dem.And always will be

Hal said...

Never say never (or always, for that matter). Michael Bloomberg was 59 years old when he switched parties. Bloomberg was a lifelong Democrat, too. I see in Mikal Watts the same kind of tendency - do what is expedient to get what you want. Why else does he dole out large contributions to the campaigns of David Dewhurst and Phil King? Give $100,000 to HillCo PAC?

At least Bloomberg has it over Watts in one area: he actually ran for office and served. Has Mikal Watts ever been even a Precinct Chair?

Don't know, that's why I am asking.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever been a precinct chair? And if so, does that qualify you for U.S. Senate? Your ranting about Watts is the beginning of a smear campaign, and one that will lead to a nasty democratic primary ... is that what you want? I hope not. Democrats should welcome all interested in running and then select whose best on the issues and who can win .... focus your venem on John Cornyn; otherwise, admit that you are launching a campaign against Watts that will lead to a nasty democratic primary. If that's what you want, from one democrat to another, thanks a lot! In effect, you are helping elect John Cornyn.

Hal said...

No, the last office I held was President of my Junior Achievement company. But I'm not running for Senate.

Being or not being a Precinct Chair was my way of saying that there is a complete lack of public service in Watts.

Exsqeeze me? Venom? You haven't seen my venomous side.

I'm not attacking anyone, I am pointing out deficiencies and holding forth on my strong objection to someone with no legislative experience buying an elected office.

These are legitimate primary issues that need to be set before Democrats so they can decide who they think can beat Cornyn. That's not being divisive, that's being in a democracy.

Hal said...

Surprise, surprise, I got another comment from Anonymous. Anonymous wants this, wants that.

Anonymous, you've trolled here long enough and I grow tired of you and no longer want to give you air time.

Go away.

And good luck.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous doesn't have the guts to use his own name. Makes you wonder doesn't it! Why hide your name?

Anonymous said...

Since when has issuing a sensible caveat emptor consituted a "smear campaign?" Why do job applicants have to submit resumes but we're expected to believe that political candidates are the result of a virgin birth?

Did you hear about Lieberman? He founded a party, "Lieberman for Connecticutt," or "Connecticutt for Lieberman," instead of running as an Independent, because it was easier, I guess. But Lieberman didn't join his his own party. So a political opponent filed the paperwork and is now the "Chair" of Lieberman's Party, and he's calling for Lieberman to resign over his erection for war with Iran.

Maybe Bloomberg will resuscitate the Whig Party.