Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Can't Buy Him Love

Tom Robbins, Village Voice:
Michael Bloomberg thinks he hears America calling. He alone hears this call, but that doesn't matter. Unfortunately for us, he is eager to answer.

Fresh from his confab in Oklahoma where he consulted with grizzled wise men, Bloomberg can be expected to announce any day now that he sees no alternative except to bow to this people's draft and place his own name before them on the November ballot.

He needs no stinking caucuses to do this, no treading through New Hampshire snows, no forced smiles through endless living-room chats, no stadium rallies only half-filled with supporters, no late-night flights over frozen cornfields, no town-hall meetings that so easily go awry with one little misspoken word. He need engage in none of these tedious democratic exercises. He will simply buy himself a place on the ballot, just as he did here in New York in 2001.

Through the miracle of the Internet and all the television and mail advertising that a billion expendable dollars or more will buy, he will run his campaign chiefly from the safety and comfort of his East Side mansion, New York City cops standing guard outside.

It doesn't matter that this candidacy will be a project of the utmost vanity, a billionaire's conceit. This kind of self-indulgence of the affluent is a phenomenon that we have no choice but to get used to, like warming oceans and the ceaseless chatter on cell phones. What's worse is that he could even win.

Agence France-Presse:
New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg could be planning an independent White House bid, but even in his own city, voters would be reluctant to support him, according to a poll released Wednesday.

The Quinnipiac University Polling Institute survey found that despite a popularity rating of 73 percent, Bloomberg could count on only 34 percent of New York City voters if he ran as an independent presidential candidate.

"It's a Democratic town. If he runs for president as an independent, New Yorkers will do what they usually do and vote Democratic," the polling institute's director Maurice Carroll told reporters.

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