Bloomberg to Stay in NYC: Bad for Obama, McCain

Mike Bloomberg, mayor of New York City, decided over the weekend that he will stay in New York and run for a third term next year to help the city emerge from financial turmoil. He will have to try to reverse the term-limits law he had long supported to seek the third term.

Good for New York, bad for U.S.

Bloomberg has long positioned himself to have a role in either a Democratic or Republican administration and has been mentioned as a possibility for vice president for either Barack Obama or John McCain.

Perhaps working in the next administration doesn’t seem like a very attractive prospect. The 2008 race has been touted as the “election of a lifetime” for the long election season. But as per Friday, it appears that the unfortunate winner in 2008 will now have the unhappy task of cleaning the stables and coping with whatever hybrid legislation Congress comes up with on the bailout, sure to be filled with anachronisms, irrelevancies, monumental headaches and little creativity. Politics from here to 2012 could well be a creative washout.

It was an auspicious possibility, as Bloomberg would have likely brought with him his best bud, Arnold Schwarzenegger (R), governor of California. They might have even brought along Ed Rendell (D), governor of Pennsylvania, to institutionalize their new bipartisan coalition, Building America's Future, to help rebuild America’s aging industrial cities and infrastructure. Obama has mentioned “rebuilding America” in both his debate with McCain and in his sensational acceptance speech.

Bloomberg, Rendell and Schwarzenegger would have brought a great offensive line to an Obama presidency, with a professionalism akin to the front office of the Reagan administration. Building America’s Future could have been the centerpiece of a formidable historic moment: a reawakening of the heartland and a new dynamic engine for the economy. New York Times columnist Tom Friedman has been writing weekly about strategies for rebuilding America, wisely looking across the Pacific for inspiration. But over the weekend the possibility of those ideas materializing in the near future, which would require a significant influx of cash, appeared to be dwindling.

The failures on Wall Street have brought a tectonic shift, not only to the economy but to politics. The astonishing opposition to the bailout — 10-to-1 throughout the heartland — awakens a new and unpredictable political era for the country, very likely to change the dynamics by 2012. Citizens are suddenly demanding new accountability at a time when approval ratings in Congress are at historic lows.

My senator, Judd Gregg (R-N.H.), got it right when he said, “If we can’t pass this bill, we don’t belong in Congress.”

Visit Mr. Quigley's website at http://quigleyblog.blogspot.com.