Thursday, July 09, 2009

Shopping For Political Party Endorsements

an excerpt from Tom Robbins in the Village Voice
Down with the working class: Bloomberg
Michael Bloomberg arrived at the Working Families Party mayoral forum last Thursday evening, determined to add one more bauble to his political collection. New York's wealthiest man strolled confidently into a hall packed with union members and community organizers.
He carried a red binder and was trailed by a retinue of aides. There were a lot of them because Bloomberg is the best-paying employer in politics. Above all else, he is a magnificent salesman, and one of his top selling points is this: You, too, can have a piece of me.
This pitch has already won him endorsements by the Republican and Independence parties, both of which he has scorned in recent years. Persuaded by the mayor's high poll numbers and always tantalizing wealth, those parties quickly got over any hurt feelings. Did the mayor say two years ago that political parties "don't stand for anything"? Did he shed his Republican registration as if he were scraping gum off his shoe? Well, what of it? That was then, and this is now.
Now it's the turn of the Working Families Party to face this mayor's seductive charms, and even this high-minded organization is having a tough time of it. Party leaders insist that a Bloomberg endorsement is the longest of long shots. The real question, they say, is whether Bloomberg's low-key rival, city comptroller William Thompson, can get the designation, or whether the little party's mayoral ballot line will remain safely blank, just as it was in 2005 when the last Democratic candidate, Freddy Ferrer, faced off against the free-spending Bloomberg.
But the same officials—who got a taste of Bloomberg largesse last summer when four of his closest friends donated $60,000 to the party—refuse to rule out a possible Bloomberg nod. Others, with ties to some of the powerful unions that sit on the party's decision-making committee, adamantly maintain that when Working Families chooses a candidate this Thursday, it will be none other than Michael R. Bloomberg.
If so, it will be a consumer fraud on par with Bernie Madoff's investment earnings reports. Just 10 months ago, when the mayor decided he wanted to change the rules so that he could win the third term he is now seeking, no group stood taller in opposition than Working Families. The law was clear, the party maintained, confirmed by two separate public referendums.

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