Monday, December 31, 2007

The Candidate Of The Iraq Study Group (UPDATE)

In comments here, frequent visitor, commenter, and overall good egg Democracy Lover asks my opinion of the possible independent candidacy of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg. As if my opinion were important, I offered that his candidacy will be the Iraq Study Group Report of 2008. We all remember how breathless the Washington Establishment was, waiting for the report of the ISG in the wake of the Republican defeat in the 2006 mid-term elections. I hope we also remember that it was almost immediately irrelevant; not worth the reams of paper it was printed on, the counsel of the Village Elders to their errant son was not only ignored but spat upon, with Bush pulling a George Costanza, and doing the exact opposite, with the results we are currently trying to live with (and many have died with).

A good take (as always) is Glenn Greenwald's, with the best, most succinct description of those who have suddenly discovered how nasty and messy democracy is, and that they really don't like it - "a handful of retired, mediocre politicians with no following are issuing self-absorbed, thug-like demands, complete with deadlines". This is the heart of the problem here; this is, in essence, a King's Party, at a time when the political tide is running (small "d") democratic, we have a bunch of royalists demanding obeisance to the status quo.
Former Senator David L. Boren of Oklahoma, who organized the session with former Senator Sam Nunn, a Democrat of Georgia, suggested in an interview that if the prospective major party nominees failed within two months to formally embrace bipartisanship and address the fundamental challenges facing the nation, "I would be among those who would urge Mr. Bloomberg to very seriously consider running for president as an independent.(emphasis added)

I especially like the part I highlighted, because it perfectly encapsulates the "thinking" of the Washington establishment - do what we say or we'll pout, stamp our feet, and cause a ruckus in the press.

I think digby's worry about a potential Bloomberg candidacy is wrong. Unlike Perot's 1992 run, Bloomberg will not articulate a frustration the country feels, gaining supporters around the country at the expense of either major party candidate. In Perot's case, it was the spiraling federal deficits; Clinton heard the message loud and clear, and thus his first term was dominated by measures to rein in federal spending and reset the tax code to a slightly more progressive basis, making it both just and prudent. The results we lived with, quite well, from 1995 through 2000.

Bloomberg will not articulate anything the Republicans won't. He won't give voters a voice that is not heard elsewhere. His only support will be well-regarded pols who have either retired or been turned out of office by voters in their former constituencies, as well as a few Establishment pundits. Like the ISG report, it will have absolutely no real support in the country, because there is just no support for a post-partisan politics. We continue to live with the politics of non-partisan compromise, to the detriment of us all.

This is the kind of thing Washington insiders love, and the rest of us can ignore quite freely.

UPDATE: I didn't read Eschaton before I wrote the above, but it seems that Duncan says something similar:
Nah, Bloomberg isn't Perot. Just the opposite. Bloomberg is for self-styled Washington insiders who think politics exists to validate their importance and for the Washington Elite Consensus folks who lack a constituency and imagine they need to save the country from the whims of pesky voters and evil communists like John Edwards. It's the permanent floating class of Washington who are sure that "Washington is broken," and who know precisely who to blame - voters. Or maybe bloggers.

Virtual Tin Cup

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More