Friday, August 27, 2010

Mike Bloomberg/Arnold Schwarzenegger: Potential for new political paradigm

- for The Hill

Shane D’Aprile of The Hill reports that New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is hosting a fundraiser for Democrat Harry Reid. He has also held fundraisers for Democrats Michael Bennett and Joe Sespak and Republicans Mike Castle and Mark Kirk. This suggests that Bloomberg, possibly with his best bud Arnold Schwarzenegger, might be considering advancing a new independent and “post partisan” political direction.

Bloomberg/Arnold could change the political dynamic in this country to one of temperament rather than economic outlook. My local paper here in the mountains tells us today that the “widening consensus” is that the U.S. economy has “slowed to a crawl” and the federal government is out of options. That means that the traditional Democratic Party is out of options as well, as it put all of its chits on the Roosevelt paradigm and the Marx/Keynes hybrid. This at a time when Hayek’s classic “The Road to Serfdom” finds its way to the best seller lists at Amazon and Barnes and Noble. And today in the Wall Street Journal statistician Douglas E. Schoen says it is time for Obama to “pull a Clinton.” He should, says Schoen, turn around his administration's reputation: “from one of big-spending liberalism (represented by his attempt to massively overhaul the health-care system) to one of fiscal discipline and economic growth.”

This was the key moment. Bill Clinton correctly abandoned the liberal economic tradition making the claim that the age of big government was over. It was work that needed to be done, because in the Roosevelt day we were a country of factory workers and field hands (who would soon become soldiers) while today the vast majority of us work for smaller independent firms or go our own way. Arnold is surely a paragon of this unique American ethic of independence and individualism. So is Mike Bloomberg.
But it takes a long time to turn around a ship of state as vast as ours. Obama was needed for unfinished business begun by William Lloyd Garrison and Yankee preacher Theodore Parker and advanced by Lincoln, Eisenhower and Kennedy. We absolutely needed a black president to continue and to advance our American progress; progress unique to our time and to our continent. But we no longer need Marx or Roosevelt or Paul Krugman and they have been anchors to the imagination of liberal America and to the mainstream economy.

Time will not wait for the Democrats. Schoen, who served as a pollster for President Bill Clinton, is the author of "Mad as Hell: How the Tea Party Movement is Fundamentally Remaking Our Two-Party System," out from Harper on Sept. 14. Polls today show Tea Party to have greater public support than Democrats in congress. There are today three active political temperaments: Traditional Republicans, Tea Party and Traditional Democrats. One will yield. Liberalism needs a new approach and both Bloomberg and Schwarzenegger converge elements of liberalism and conservatism.

We need New York and we need LA but they are crumbling under the paralysis of political tradition and orthodoxy. We need primarily, imagination, and Arnold and Bloomberg bring it. Let’s see what they have to say.

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