mm052: Majority of Americans favor Cheney impeachment (via Salon)

July 7, 2007

Finally, Mudge can identify with the nation’s majority! It’s a strange feeling.

Permalink [14:34 EST, July 6, 2007]

Article removed at the polite request of the copyright holder

Those of us with verrrry long memories will recall that Spiro Agnew had to go before it was safe to go after Tricky Dick.

Our Viceroy needs to go, pronto! Congress, why so wimpy?

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mm051.2 Bloomberg Says He Will Support State G.O.P. – New York Times

July 7, 2007

The third article in the 7/6/07 Bloomberg “hat trick.” An interesting intersection, and quite a lot of action about a non-candidate. Must be a slow news week…

The New York Times


July 6, 2007

Bloomberg Says He Will Support State G.O.P.

By RAYMOND HERNANDEZ and DANNY HAKIM

At the same time that Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg has been traveling the country in recent weeks denouncing partisan politics, he has been quietly sending a very different message to the state’s Republican Party: I will continue to support the G.O.P. team.

On June 19, shortly before Mr. Bloomberg announced that he was leaving the Republican Party, he telephoned the state’s most powerful Republican, Joseph L. Bruno, the Senate majority leader.

The mayor wanted Mr. Bruno to know the announcement was coming. But Mr. Bloomberg, a major contributor to New York Republicans, also sought to reassure the majority leader that despite the change, he would still back Mr. Bruno and his Republican colleagues in the Senate.

“He will support us now, and as we go forward,” Mr. Bruno said, describing the conversation. “His support is his support.”

The call to Mr. Bruno was one of several conversations Mr. Bloomberg has had with Republicans in New York in recent weeks pledging his political support.

And it underscores the tricky territory the mayor has landed in as he positions himself as a newly declared independent.

Mr. Bloomberg is seeking to raise his national profile for what he calls his nonpartisan approach to problem-solving, perhaps in preparation for a presidential bid. But at the same time, he appears determined to maintain his strong ties to Republican leaders in Albany as they try to hang on to their slim majority in the Senate, which they have controlled for more than 40 years.

Mr. Bloomberg’s support for Republican candidates is critical; the mayor has been the biggest individual donor to Senate Republicans, according to state campaign finance records, giving $575,000 since October. He also gave the New York State Republican Committee $175,000 in the same period. (During that time, by contrast, he did not donate to any Democrats in the Legislature.)

But Mr. Bloomberg’s involvement in a high-profile partisan fight and his continued alliance with Mr. Bruno could undermine the independent image he is seeking to promote. Republicans have a two-seat margin in the 62-member Senate, and the state Democratic Party, led by Gov. Eliot Spitzer, is planning an all-out effort to take back the chamber. Democrats have already begun recruiting candidates to run against at least a half-dozen Republican senators.

Senator Frank Padavan, a Queens Republican, among those being marked for defeat by the Democrats, said the mayor called him just days ago, after the legislative session in Albany ended.

Mr. Padavan said he received critical backing in his last re-election battle from Mr. Bloomberg, who praised the senator in letters and recorded telephone messages. “Both were enormously helpful in a difficult election,” said Mr. Padavan. In their conversation, Mr. Bloomberg told Mr. Padavan he would be there again for him.

Asked about Mr. Bloomberg’s support for state Republicans yesterday, Stu Loeser, a Bloomberg spokesman, said, “Mayor Bloomberg has always said he’ll support those who support New York City. Time after time over the last six years, the State Senate has been extraordinarily helpful to us.”

Mr. Loeser said that the mayor’s efforts were not inconsistent with his stance as an independent politician. Mr. Bloomberg made a handful of donations to Democrats along with contributions to Republicans in federal races last year. “He has always supported people on both sides of the aisle,” Mr. Loeser said.

People familiar with the relationship between Mr. Bloomberg and Mr. Bruno say the mayor views the Senate Republican majority as an important ally that has sided with City Hall on a host of crucial matters that it may have been inclined to oppose, including the mayor’s call for tougher penalties for people convicted of carrying loaded illegal handguns.

Mr. Bloomberg’s announcement that he was registering as an independent set off a storm of political interest last month and intensified speculation that he will run for president. Mr. Bloomberg has suggested in his recent speeches that the current crop of Republican and Democratic presidential candidates are “pandering” and that Washington is mired in partisan gridlock.

The mayor has said that he does not intend to run, but his aides have said he will travel the country with his message stressing nonpartisan solutions.

Mr. Bloomberg’s support of Senate Republicans is particularly galling to Democrats because the party regards capturing the Senate, the last statewide base of Republican power in New York, as a top political priority in the 2008 elections. Senator Jeffrey D. Klein, the deputy Democratic leader in the Senate, criticized Mr. Bloomberg as shortsighted. “He’s not using his money wisely,” he said. “We’ve picked up five seats in the last two election cycles even though the mayor continues to be the Republican majority’s major benefactor.”

For their part, Republicans are grateful for any support at a time when their party is rudderless and struggling to fill a leadership vacuum created by the departure of George E. Pataki, Mr. Spitzer’s Republican predecessor, who served three terms before leaving office at the end of last year.

Mr. Bloomberg’s willingness to put his money or name into the battle for the Senate could be decisive, particularly in the heavily Democratic New York City region, where several Republican senators are considered vulnerable. “For the city region, all you have to do is look at Bloomberg’s approval numbers,” said John Googas, Senator Padavan’s chief of staff. “To have somebody that popular strongly endorsing your candidacy is crucial in a contested race.”

Mr. Bloomberg’s overtures have not been limited to the State Senate. James N. Tedisco, the Republican leader in the Assembly, said he met with Mr. Bloomberg for about 30 minutes in his Albany office in late May and came away confident that he had a strong ally.

He said that Mr. Bloomberg, who last year donated $50,000 to the Assembly Republicans’ campaign committee, had given no inkling that he was about to leave the party. Rather, he said, the mayor made it clear that he would continue supporting the Republican caucus in the Assembly.

“We’re disappointed he’s not a Republican,” Mr. Tedisco said. But, he added, “our feeling is that he’s going to still support many parts of the party and we will still have a friendship and a relationship.”

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

Bloomberg Says He Will Support State G.O.P. – New York Times

If you’re looking for simple answers to complex questions; if you’re looking for simple solutions to the 21st (post-American) century; if you’re yearning for an easily categorized person to set us straight… keep looking.

If New York State politics is anything like the state politics where Mudge hangs his hat, party labels do not begin to do justice to what makes the state work (or not!).

Reflecting on that reality keeps me thinking about Michael Bloomberg as presidential caliber for another day.

So, did you like the hat trick?

It’s it for now. Thanks,

–MUDGE


mm051.1: Bloomberg: US’s First Jewish President?

July 7, 2007

Bloomberg 7/6/07 “hat trick:” part 2 of three, from the Associated Press via ABC News.

ABC News

Bloomberg: US’s First Jewish President?

Could Bloomberg, Not Known in NYC as the Jewish Mayor, Be America’s First Jewish President?
By RACHEL ZOLL
The Associated Press

NEW YORK

Michael Bloomberg isn’t known here as the Jewish mayor.

In fact, his religion is a non-issue in a city that had its first Jewish chief executive, Abe Beame, three decades ago. The New York Jewish community is so large and active that even non-Jewish mayors take counsel from rabbis. So when Bloomberg won the 2001 mayoral race, Jews saw no significant advantage in having one of their own in City Hall.

But if the billionaire businessman decides to run for the White House, his faith will become much more than an afterthought: He would be on a path toward being elected the first Jewish president of the United States.

“I think it’s a great commentary on American political life when a person who happens to be Jewish is mentioned as a possible presidential candidate,” said Rabbi Joseph Potasnik of the New York Board of Rabbis, who speaks regularly with Bloomberg and has hosted the mayor at a Passover seder and other events.

Bloomberg denies any plans to run, but recently switched from Republican to unaffiliated, clearing the way for a possible independent bid in a field where none of the announced candidates is Jewish.

Still, there is no evidence that Jews will support Bloomberg because of their shared faith.

American Jews vote overwhelmingly Democratic, with a small minority loyal to the Republican Party. Even when Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, an Orthodox Jew and a Democrat at the time, became the first Jewish vice presidential nominee in 2000, there was little change in Jewish backing for the party. Between 1996 and 2000, the proportion of Jews that voted Democratic increased by only 1 percentage point to 79 percent, according to exit polls.

“People thought every Jew in America would run out and vote for Lieberman,” said Rabbi Gary Greenebaum, interreligious affairs director for the American Jewish Committee, an advocacy group based in New York. “But Jews are fairly sophisticated voters. They don’t vote along the lines of, ‘I’ll vote for the Jew because I am one.’ They tend to vote issues. They tend to vote politics.”

Bloomberg would also be competing against two other New Yorkers Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and Republican former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Each of those candidates has built strong ties to the Jewish community.

And in a campaign season when Democrats are speaking out as much as Republicans on the importance of faith, the mayor may be at a disadvantage.

Bloomberg, who declined to comment through his spokesman, has said he is not very religious. Other than mentioning that he plans to celebrate a few major Jewish holidays with his family, he almost never discusses his faith. He joined a prominent Upper East Side synagogue, Congregation Emanu-El on Fifth Avenue, which is part of the liberal Reform branch of Judaism, but only occasionally attends worship, Potasnik said.

“Don’t pull out his attendance record” the rabbi joked.

In a 2005 interview with The New York Times, Bloomberg made a rare comment on his religious views. “I believe in Judaism, I was raised a Jew, I’m happy to be one or proud to be one,” he said. Then he paused and added: “I don’t know if that’s the right word. I don’t know why you should be proud of something. It doesn’t make you any better or worse. You are what you are.”

Bloomberg, 65, had a fairly typical religious upbringing for American Jews of his generation.

He was raised in a kosher home in Medford, Mass., just outside Boston, had a bar mitzvah, and, according to Potasnik, still remembers a few Yiddish words. Jewish leaders who speak with him regularly say they haven’t heard him mention facing anti-Semitism as a child.

After the media mogul earned his fortune, he created an endowment for his hometown synagogue, which was renamed for his parents: Temple Shalom, the William and Charlotte Bloomberg Jewish Community Center of Medford. The congregation belongs to the Conservative movement, which emphasizes traditional observance while allowing some changes that adapt to modern times.

Bloomberg has given millions to Jewish causes in the United States and in Israel. He emphatically supports the Jewish state and has traveled there numerous times.

This past February, he dedicated a $6.5 million emergency rescue service facility in Jerusalem named for his father. On the same visit, he toured the southern Israeli town of Sderot, expressing solidarity with a small community that has been a frequent target of Palestinian rocket fire.

“I think there’s a comfort level that he has with his identification as a member of the Jewish community,” said Rabbi Michael S. Miller, chief executive of the Jewish Community Relations Council of New York. Every year since he was elected, Bloomberg has hosted a reception with kosher food at Gracie Mansion, the city’s official mayoral residence, commemorating the council’s Jewish Heritage New York project.

“He’s an ardently strong supporter of Israel,” Miller said.

However, neither of the mayor’s two daughters celebrated a bat mitzvah, and Bloomberg, who is divorced, officiated at his daughter Emma’s wedding, which was a civil ceremony.

“He’s a fairly assimilated Jew,” Greenebaum said. “I don’t think it will be a big thing.”

Associated Press Writer Sara Kugler contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

Bloomberg: US’s First Jewish President?

This, like the one just posted below, is an interesting angle regarding a person who has not yet declared for the presidency. What is going on? we wonder.

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mm051: Bloomberg.com: Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility May Push 2008 Agenda

July 7, 2007

 Consider the source! Bloomberg.com

Bloomberg’s Money, Visibility May Push 2008 Agenda (Update2)

By Edwin Chen and Henry Goldman

Enlarge Image

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

July 6 (Bloomberg) — New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg isn’t likely to win the presidency as an independent, political experts say, but he may accomplish something almost as rare: putting his pet issues onto the national agenda.

Amid speculation of a possible presidential bid, some of it encouraged by people close to him, Bloomberg has been using speeches around the nation to spotlight causes he says the established parties are playing down: stronger action on the environment; improving schools; gun control; a bigger role for government in promoting healthy lifestyles.

The billionaire mayor of the nation’s largest city — he founded and owns most of Bloomberg LP, the parent of Bloomberg News — has the drive, pulpit and means to make it difficult for established politicians to ignore his causes, said Scott Reed, a Washington-based Republican strategist.

Bloomberg, who spent more than $150 million of his own money in his two mayoral campaigns, “has shown that he’s willing to put his money where his mouth is,” Reed said. “Both parties are going to have to listen to his message.”

Bloomberg, 65, declined to be interviewed for this article. He has said he doesn’t plan on being a 2008 candidate, which political professionals agree would be an uphill quest.

Long Odds

“I don’t see how a third-party candidate can actually win,” said Chris Lehane, a consultant who worked for Al Gore’s 2000 campaign. None has even finished second since former Republican President Theodore Roosevelt led a breakaway faction in 1912.

Bloomberg “has a tremendous opportunity to influence the campaign dialogue,” said Democratic pollster Peter Hart. “Do I think he can win the presidency? I’d put the odds at remote or unlikely.”

At the same time, Bloomberg “is in a great position to affect public discourse,” said National Urban League President Marc Morial, a former New Orleans mayor. In addition to his high-profile position, Bloomberg is worth between $5 billion and $20 billion, his top political aide, Kevin Sheekey, said in a New York Times interview last month.

In the interview, Sheekey also said he was preparing for a possible independent Bloomberg presidential bid. On June 19, the mayor filed papers to switch from the Republican label he used in his two city races to politically unaffiliated. And a campaign-style swing through California last month attracted both audiences and publicity.

Bipartisan Appeal

In Los Angeles, he called on politicians to shelve ideological warfare in favor of bipartisan compromises. The San Francisco Chronicle said the speech bore “many of the hallmarks of a presidential campaign address.”

The “big issues of the day are not being addressed, leaving our future in jeopardy,” Bloomberg said in his speech. “We can accept this, or we can say: `Enough is enough!”’

Bloomberg, who appeared with California’s Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, a Democrat, also addressed more than 1,000 employees at Google Inc.’s Mountain View headquarters, a site that many declared presidential candidates have visited. In addition, he addressed San Francisco’s Commonwealth Club, which offers a public-affairs forum for many aspiring pols.

Dining Out

He also dined with Sanford Robertson, the co-founder of San Francisco-based investment bank Robertson, Stephens & Co. who now runs the buyout firm Francisco Partners LP, and attended a June 19 dinner at the Los Angeles home of entertainment mogul David Geffen, a one-time Bill Clinton financial angel who’s now supporting Senator Barack Obama of Illinois.

Bloomberg’s rhetorical approach to issues generally blends Republicans’ stress on accountability and incentives with Democrats’ pleas for more funding. Still, an agenda calling for more government activism on such issues as global warming, gun violence and promoting healthier lifestyles is likely to receive a warmer response from Democrats than Republicans.

Former Republican Congressman Pat Toomey, president of the Club for Growth, a group that backs free-market candidates, has denounced Bloomberg’s philosophy as “big-government liberalism.”

Another Bloomberg foray into the national spotlight is scheduled for July 25 at the National Urban League annual meeting in St. Louis. All of the major Democratic presidential candidates are scheduled to speak at the event, and Bloomberg is likely to use the forum to push a handful of his quality-of-life initiatives.

Curbing Emissions

One is called “PlaNYC,” a plan to combat global warming that would cut carbon-dioxide emissions 30 percent by 2030, expand bike lanes, convert taxicabs to hybrid fuels and charge motorists a $8 fee for entering especially congested parts of Manhattan.

“I don’t take them very seriously,” said Myron Ebell, director for energy and global warming policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a business-backed group that opposes federal regulation. Bloomberg’s ideas are largely symbolic, he said, because they would delay any pain until he is well out of office.

Bloomberg’s stance on gun control has already won him the enmity of the National Rifle Association, the nation’s largest gun-owners’ group. He is “a billionaire, Boston-grown evangelist for the nanny state” and a “national gun-control vigilante,” the group said in an April 2007 article in its “First Freedom” magazine.

Among other things, Bloomberg is financing a group called Mayors Against Illegal Guns that is working to repeal a measure in Congress that would ban law-enforcement agencies from sharing data on guns used in crimes in different locales.

`Straw Purchasers’

At Bloomberg’s behest, the city hired investigators to set up sting operations, acting as “straw purchasers” for illegal sales. To date, 15 gun dealers have settled lawsuits filed by the city and agreed to give authorities access to their records and inventories.

Bloomberg will go to Washington July 10 to lobby Congress on the issue, spokesman Stu Loeser said yesterday.

The underpinning of Bloomberg’s health agenda is disease- prevention through healthier lifestyles, which he says would cut medical costs. As mayor, he has banned smoking in New York restaurants and bars and outlawed the use of trans fats in city eateries.

Bloomberg wants a “pay-for-prevention” approach that rewards primary-care physicians for keeping patients out of hospitals. He also would establish a “prevention-oriented” record-keeping system to enable insurers and institutional providers to “hold doctors accountable for their patients’ performance.”

Expanding Opportunities

On education, the mayor has focused mostly on expanding opportunities for poor and immigrant children, who form the majority of the city’s 1.1 million public-school students, by increasing basic language skills and math literacy. He considers educational testing the most objective way to judge student and teacher performance.

He describes improving education for the poor as a civil- rights issue. In Los Angeles, he said he has ended social promotion, lengthened the school day to provide extra help for struggling students, expanded the number of charter schools and cut bureaucracy — resulting in 20 percent increases in graduation rates and math scores, and a 10 percent increase in reading scores.

As speculation and publicity about a possible Bloomberg presidential bid have grown, an anti-Bloomberg drumbeat is reverberating on the Internet. “What will his slogan be?” Instapundit, a self-described conservative blog, asked in May. “`More nannyish than both major parties put together?”’

Opposing an Iraq Deadline

Bloomberg may also draw fire from those opposed to the Iraq war as his positions become better-known. While he hasn’t been nearly as vocal on Iraq as he has been on domestic matters, he has said he opposes setting a deadline for a U.S. troop withdrawal. Like many Republicans, he says that would demoralize American troops and embolden insurgents, and that a precipitous pullout might lead to bloody chaos.

Bloomberg has yet to outline an exit strategy for Iraq, nor has he offered broader visions for America’s role in the world and for government’s role in American society, some analysts say. “I’m not sure there’s enough bite yet to set an agenda,” said Lawrence Jacobs, director of the center for the study of politics and governance at the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

“If he wants to be taken seriously, either as a candidate or just a commentator, he has to grapple with the big, systemic problems, both at home and abroad,” said former Senator Gary Hart, whose 1984 Democratic presidential campaign was based on a critique of the established positions of the major parties.

With pundits trying to divine Bloomberg’s intentions for 2008, his 1997 autobiography may offer a clue. “I’ve always respected those who try to change the world for the better rather than just complain about it,” he said in the book, published four years before he ran for mayor. “I greatly admire those who put their own money, time, and reputations where their hearts and mouths are.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Edwin Chen in Washington at echen32@bloomberg.net , and Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net .

Last Updated: July 6, 2007 11:33 EDT

Bloomberg.com: U.S.

This is the chronological first of a Bloomberg “hat trick” on July 6, 2007. It was a story I was looking for, from a most interesting source.