Thursday :: Mar 27, 2008

Um. No.


by Turkana

Had Hillary Clinton said this, heads would be exploding all over the shrillosphere. Marc Ambinder offers the first paragraph from Barack Obama's speech, this morning:

I want to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his extraordinary leadership. At a time when Washington is divided in old ideological battles, he shows us what can be achieved when we bring people together to seek pragmatic solutions. Not only has he been a remarkable leader for New York –he has established himself as a major voice in our national debate on issues like renewing our economy, educating our children, and seeking energy independence. Mr. Mayor, I share your determination to bring this country together to finally make progress for the American people.

And there had already been a bit of a buzz about a potential Obama-Bloomberg ticket. Let me put it this way: no.

Bloomberg helped bring this country together by endorsing Bush, in 2004. Even worse, as Wayne Barrett reported for the Village Voice, Bloomberg has been a strong supporter of the Iraq War, even echoing Bush in trying to link it to the September 11 terrorist attacks. Barrett also made some points about Bloomberg's pragmatic leadership:

In fact, he's been as meticulously uncritical about the president's handling of the Katrina disaster as he has been about bin Laden and Iraq, merely repeating Bush's admission that the initial response was "inadequate." He was even silent when Bush and the Republicans in Congress froze transit-security funding and slashed first-responder aid in the middle of the recent subway terror alert.

He prefers, as the Times reported, "slipping in and out of a service entrance" while attending a February 2004 fundraiser with Karl Rove. He prefers sitting "in the shadows" in a limo with the president outside Madison Square Garden, the Times again noted, rather than joining the Bush family in its on-camera convention box. It's only when he thinks no one in the press is listening—like at a Manhattan GOP event this March—that he says the GOP is the party of "honesty, efficiency, compassion, and inclusiveness," turning political reality, at least as much of his city sees it, on its head. His mountain of GOP donations is as much a pittance to him as his calculated and inconsequential disagreements with them are a sham to us.

We have thousands fewer cops because of Bush's 90 percent slashing of Clinton's COPS programs. We had to reprogram FDNY radios because Bush blanched at the $120 million cost of replacing them, even after 9-11's communication breakdown. Not only has Bloomberg never complained about these security breaches, he's publicly excused the president for ignoring all the "blinking red" signs of attack that George Tenet described, and refused to criticize him when he defied and undercut the 9-11 Commission, forcing subpoenas and deleting its funding.

He even rushed to Bush's defense when the Environmental Protection Agency's inspector general blasted the White House for doctoring press releases after 9-11 to portray "hazardous" air quality findings as safe, a distortion that's led to lung damage for thousands of firefighters and others at ground zero. "I know the president," Bloomberg said when confronted with the shocking findings. "I think he's a very honest guy. It would never occur to me not to trust him." Over 2,000 ground zero workers have already settled with the Victim Compensation Board, collecting hundreds of thousands of dollars for respiratory and other damages at the site, while hundreds are still suing the city.

And a must-read article by Glenn Greenwald includes the following:

He also is as enamored of government control, police powers and surveillance as anyone in the Bush administration. He is an unrestrained advocate and enforcer of the War on Drugs (despite his own acknowledged use of marijuana, of course) and advocates the creation of "a DNA or fingerprint database to track and verify all legal U.S. workers," about which the NY Civil Liberties Union said, with extreme understatement: "It doesn't sound like the free society we think we're living in. It will inevitably be used not just by employers but by law enforcement, government agencies, schools and all over the private sector."

Clearly, this is just exactly what our country desperately needs, what it is missing most -- a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger who sees U.S. and Israeli interests as indistinguishable and inextricably linked, with a fetish for ever-increasing government control and surveillance, and a background as a Wall St. billionaire. We just haven't had enough of those in our political culture. Our political system, more than anything, is missing the influence of people like that. That's why it's broken: not enough of those.

Bloomberg is basically just Rudy Giuliani with a billion or two dollars to spend to alter the election. When it comes to foreign policy, war-making and government power, he offers absolutely nothing that isn't found in destructive abundance among the most extremist precincts in the Republican Party, while his moderate to liberal stance on social issues would prevent him from actually winning the support of his natural GOP base.

I have no problem with Obama saying nice things about Bloomberg. It's politics. And it would be impolite to stand beside the man and tell the truth about him. But the idea of an Obama-Bloomberg ticket is laughable. Note that nobody from the Obama camp dropped even the merest hint of such a possibility. However nasty their nomination battle with Hillary Clinton, they know the difference between a Democrat and a Republican. And Bloomberg may now claim to have left the Republican Party, but his record proves where his heart lies. The blithering class will blither all they want, but an Obama-Bloomberg ticket is not going to happen. Because Obama is a Democrat, and Bloomberg isn't.

Turkana :: 2:18 PM :: Comments (13) :: Digg It!