Saturday, July 7, 2007

Mike the Independent

The big news around town last week was that our Mayor ditched his affiliation with the Republican party and declared himself a political independent. He did so, he said, because his views do not neatly line up with any political party and he felt more comfortable being free of one.

Mike only became a Republican in 2001 after he decided to run for Mayor. Realizing that a Democratic primary would be too crowded and unwinnable for him, the media tycoon switched his lifelong Democratic affiliation and became a Republican. This got him the endorsement of an insanely popular post-911 Rudy. This act, along with spending a record $74 million in his campaign, delivered Gracie Mansion to Mike (although he doesn't live there).

Mike's decision is totally understandable and, in the view of Mr NYC, long overdue. He has never governed in a partisan manner and he burnished his image as a competent CEO, not a party hack. His landslide re-election in 2005 was about his record (which was pretty good), not his party. He didn't run as a Democrat, Republican or anything else - he simply ran as "Mike!", and New Yorkers responded. And if he runs for President, well, maybe Americans will respond too.

Postscript: I actually met Mayor Mike in a restaurant about four years ago. This was when he was very unpopular, unlike today. I told him I thought he was doing a fine job and he said "Thanks! So you're the other one!"

Cheers, Mr. Mayor.

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