Michael Bloomberg's Contempt for Democracy.

The New York Times calls this "sweeping," but it's mostly just warmed-over pablum:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg on Wednesday unleashed a blunt and stinging critique of the federal government’s handing of the economic recovery, saying that lawmakers from both parties have “abdicated their responsibility” in favor of partisan bickering, have vilified success in corporate America and have left the country lagging behind its international competitors. [...]

“Last month, voters turned against Democrats in Washington for the same reason they turned against Republicans in 2006,” Mr. Bloomberg told a gathering of city business leaders at the Brooklyn Navy Yard. “Democrats now, and Republicans then, spent more time and energy conducting partisan warfare than forging centrist solutions to our toughest economic problems.”

Not to repeat myself too much, but this "centrist" hackery is little more than a thinly veiled contempt for democracy. Bloomberg pillories Democrats and Republicans for indulging in "partisanship rather than common sense to tackle complex economic problems," but the truth is that partisanship (and horse-trading, and campaigning) are the mechanisms by which we identify and solve problems. Governing is as much about representing others as it is about implementing an agenda, and partisanship is one of the means politicians use to rally allies in support of their cause. Bloomberg can try to solve problems without partisanship or politics, but he won't get very far.

Relatedly, this is exactly why a Bloomberg-helmed third-party movement is destined to fail. Other than the usual crew of Beltway chatterers and a few million New Yorkers (no offense), who exactly is clamoring for Bloomberg's leadership? Who is his constituency? Let's say that he wins the presidency in some bizarre fluke. Who are his allies? How does he pass legislation? Without a political party to back him, how does he navigate interest groups and decide on an agenda? In other words, how exactly is a President Bloomberg anything other than a lame-duck one-termer?

All of that is to say this: Denouncing politics as an obstacle to governing sounds good, but in reality, it's mostly just foolish, undemocratic nonsense.

-- Jamelle Bouie

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