June 22, 2007

By the Fire of Bloomberg’s Pants!

By: John Tabin

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg ended his marriage of convenience with the Republican Party this week and declared himself an independent. Bloomberg was a Democrat until he entered the 2001 mayoral race as a Republican for no better reason than that the GOP primary would be easier to win than the Democratic primary.

Bloomberg was elected to his first term shortly after the 9/11 attacks thanks to the support of the wildly popular Rudy Giuliani. With Bloomberg’s declaration of independence fueling talks of a self-funded third party run for president, potentially pitting the two mayors against each other, tongues are wagging in New York. “We’re already hearing loyalty, deception — I’m telling you, this is the next great soap opera,” former Deputy Mayor Fran Reiter told a reporter.

But even as reports fly that Bloomberg’s closest advisors have been gaming out what it would take to mount an independent run, Bloomberg maintains that he plans on finishing his term, which runs through the end of 2009. “I’ve said my intention is to be mayor for the next 925 days and that is my intention,” he said in a press conference on Wednesday. “I’ve got the greatest job in the world and I’m going to keep doing it.”

The entire idea of a Bloomberg for President campaign, in other words, is now premised on the assumption that the candidate is a liar.

Thomas Ravenel. Son of a former Congressman. Heir to a real estate fortune. South Carolina Treasurer. Chairman of the Rudy Giuliani campaign’s South Carolina operation. Cokehead?

Apparently so. A federal grand jury indicted Ravenel this week on charges of conspiracy to possess and intent to distribute cocaine. The charge makes it sound like the Giuliani campaign hired the Palmetto State equivalent of Tony Montana, but only because the law doesn’t distinguish between distribution and sale: Ravenel almost certainly hasn’t been dealing blow. Michael Levon Miller, the man named in the indictment as Ravenel’s co-conspirator, is the one who authorities characterize as a dealer, while Ravenel is accused of intent to give the stuff away. Drug policy analyst Mark Kleiman writes on his blog that the “most likely scenario” is that “state cops nailed the dealer… and the dealer gave them a prominent customer in order to buy himself some consideration at sentencing time.”

What is this world coming to? You can’t even trust your coke dealer anymore.

Since the Democrats took over Capitol Hill, there have been rumblings about them taking constitutionally-questionable action against their critics, perhaps by reintroducing the Fairness Doctrine — an FCC policy, abandoned in the 80s, that required broadcasters to balance political commentary with “equal time” for opposing viewpoints. (A robust talk radio business was only possible once this policy was lifted.) The latest straw in the wind came in an interview with LA radio host John Ziegler, where Senator James Inhofe (R-Oklahoma) shared an anecdote about overhearing Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Hillary Clinton ranting about the influence of talk radio. According to Inhofe, one of them said something along the lines of “there’s got to be a legislative fix to this.”

They’re right, there is a legislative fix: Pass only the laws that talk radio hosts like. Of course, then a whole new set of citizens would get mad and exercise their right to free speech. It’s a pesky thing, that First Amendment.

John Tabin is a columnist for Brainwash.