Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Not Bloomberg, But Maybe

[posted by Callimachus]

I'm not fond of Mike Bloomberg, but I'm really enamored of the idea of a third party president now, more than ever.

Three problems that have been evolving in America for a couple of generations or more seem to have converged in the current White House:

  • 1. concentration of governmental power in the executive, and within the executive in the White House staff

  • 2. politics as the principal motive of every act and aspect of the federal government's functioning

  • 3. the infusion of extreme or absolutist ideas into the mainstreams of the two political parties. (More obvious right now among the Republicans).

A third-party president necessarily would be a very weak one; that is not necessarily bad, and perhaps helpful at this moment in history. He or she would have to draw on administrators from both political parties to form a government; those chosen would be more likely to rise to authority through competence than political chicanery. He would not have to be looking over his shoulder at the length of his coattails, or fear the wackos in the base getting obstreperous.

Of course, this is the optimistic view; things could as likely go the other way: If a newly elected independent president faces a Democratic Congress, for instance, its leaders could foist the worst sort of people on him or threaten to squelch his every initiative. But I prefer to be optimistic.