Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Be careful of what you wish for

Plenty of folks publicly profess their desire for an alternative to the two major political parties. "Anybody would be better than the clowns we have to choose from," they say.

Well, we're creeping ever closer to putting that sentiment to the acid test.

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's denial of any intention to run for president reads more like a carefully worded non-denial.

"My intention is to be mayor for the next 925 days and probably about 10 hours," he told reporters who assembled to flirt with the not-quite candidate. He announced his "intention," however long it may last, even as he resigned from the Republican Party and positioned himself for a self-funded independent campaign. He wants to remain mayor even while his political machine publishes a slick non-candidate Web site touting his supposed accomplishments.

Oh, Michael, you tease.

Bloomberg really would put vague preferences for a third choice to the test. As mayor of New York City, he's been a thorough-going control-freak who makes even his predecessor, Rudy Giuliani, look almost laissez-faire by comparison. Bloomberg has gone after cigarette smokers, students with cell phones and cooks who prepare their menus with trans-fat. He's declared war on street vendors and picked fights with gun stores located well beyond his jurisdiction. There is seemingly no area of human life that Mayor Bloomberg doesn't want to regulate or outlaw.

Imagining a President Bloomberg with the power of the federal government at his disposal is truly disturbing. Just how long would it take for him to begin dispatching the ATF, DEA, FBI, IRS on missions to enforce his personal crusades? Not long, I suspect.

Republicans and Democrats generally offer us pick-your-poison choices in the voting booth, but Michael Bloomberg is living proof that our choices could be worse.


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