by Joyce Marcel
American Reporter Correspondent
December 13, 2007
MIGHT I SUGGEST BLOOMBERG?
DUMMERSTON, Vt. -- Yes, there is a candidate who doesn't make me want to throw up or cringe in embarrassment or wail in futility or duck for cover or check to see if my wallet is still in my purse.
He's Michael Bloomberg, the Mayor of New York, and even though he's not running, I vigorously support him.
First, I have to admit that an oligarchy has never been my dream for America. We should be looking for the candidate who can do the most for our country and its people, which doesn't necessarily mean a choice between a self-made millionaire and a self-made billionaire. It might even mean Rep. Dennis Kucinich, if the press would only take him seriously.
Sadly, though, we live in an age of rapacious capitalism, so most of the candidates are - pretty much - either oligarchs or their puppets. So this time around, it's a wash.
Having billions of dollars at his disposal might even be a plus. Bloomberg could run a campaign that's not as beholden to as many people as, say, Hillary Clinton's. That will give him a lot more freedom and mobility once he's in office.
There's no shying away from the reality that President George W. Bush and his ilk have pretty much trashed the country. It will take years before America gets back on track - if it ever does.
What we don't need now is another ideologue. We don't need to waste any more time arguing about whether gays should marry (they should and so what?), or abortion (tragic, but sometimes necessary), or whether the Bible is the received word of God. (You believe it is, I believe it's the history of a people; live and let live.)
We need a capable, competent manager, someone sane who has loads of common sense. Remember in June, when it appeared for a moment that there was a plot to blow up JFK airport, Bloomberg didn't try to scare people to death. Instead of borrowing a page from Giuliani, he said, "There are lots of threats to you in the world. There's the threat of a heart attack for genetic reasons. You can't sit there and worry about everything. Get a life."
Mayor Bloomberg is running the most unmanageable city in the world, and yet his approval ratings are over 70 percent. True, Manhattan has been gentrified until only the oligarchs can live there, but the crime is down, the streets are clean, he's floated some pretty good ideas about getting car traffic off the streets, and he takes the subway to work.
Additionally, even though there have been charges of sexism made against Bloomberg in the past, as a woman I'm fond of the fact that he has remained on excellent terms with his first wife and now dates a well-respected woman of intelligence, sophistication and substance with an important career of her own.
Bloomberg doesn't sugarcoat things. "Stubborn isn't a word I would use to describe myself," he wrote in his memoir, which Newsweek quoted in a recent puff piece called "The Billion Dollar Wild Card." "Pigheaded is more appropriate." I believe him. At least he's not lying about being a "compassionate conservative."
Bloomberg is a pro-choice Democrat at heart who won office in New York as a Republican and then, holding his nose, left the party to declare his independence. I have nothing but praise for this approach.
So is the country ready to elect a Jewish president? It's not about religion, I will scream from the rooftops. Religion - especially letting down the sacred wall between church and state - is one of the big reasons we're in this mess. It's all about decency, common sense and ability.
Competence should be our new religion, and that's what Bloomberg represents. He's a patriot who believed in the American dream, created his own company, made a fortune, and then entered public service. He's succeeded in all these endeavors. Up against term limits in New York, if he doesn't run and win the presidency, he says his next step will be giving all his money away.
In Saturday's Wall Street Journal, in a piece about Clinton failing to get the support of "alpha females" - women at the top of the corporate ladder - the paper of the oligarchs laid out the reasons why successful people of both sexes back candidates: "They back candidates whose positions they believe will benefit their businesses, in order to get access to the White House, in hopes of snaring a job in the Administration, or or just to be on personal terms with a president."
Notice there's not a word about backing a candidate who has a workable plan for solving problems. This kind of myopic selfishness is shocking, but it is also the lay of the political landscape. This must be changed.
"The job of being president is to lead the country and the legislature, and it is pulling those together," Bloomberg said. "It is having the credibility and working with other countries to get them all to work together to stop genocide, to stop nuclear proliferation, to make sure we have fair trade among countries... America is not liked around the world... How do you get people to respect you? Show them recognition, respect, that you are listing to them. I don't care how smart we are, other people have good ideas, and what works here isn't perfect for them."
Even though he's not yet running, Bloomberg's my guy.
A collection of Joyce Marcel's columns, "A Thousand Words or Less," is available through joycemarcel.com. And write her at firstname.lastname@example.org.