Mayor mistake

Letters to the Boston editor, August 24, 2007
By BOSTON PHOENIX LETTERS  |  August 22, 2007

Steven Stark’s August 10 column begins with an interesting premise: that the success of Rudy Giuliani’s presidential bid hinges on his ability to “neutralize” the threat Michael Bloomberg poses to his candidacy. However, Stark’s argument falls flat and fails to explain the threat Bloomberg poses.

Stark is correct when he suggests that a black Republican presidential candidate would hurt Barack Obama, just the same as a female Republican candidate would hurt Hillary Clinton. However, African-American voters overwhelmingly are committed to the Democratic Party and have consistently demonstrated that, for them, party politics trumps identity politics. Females, too, are largely committed to the Democratic Party and would be unlikely to reconsider their vote for Clinton if a female Republican — anti-abortion and all — were to appear on the same ticket.

Stark’s assertion that Bloomberg’s pending candidacy threatens Giuliani simply because he, too, is a New York City mayor is patently incorrect. (Even worse, Stark’s argument continues by suggesting that Fred Thompson’s support would be weakened if Bill Frist entered the race, since both are retired Tennessee senators.) Colin Powell and Obama ostensibly have very different political beliefs, and one’s presidential vote choice is likely to hinge on these differences. So does a hypothetical choice between Giuliani and Bloomberg.

Stark states that the jump from NYC mayor to president is difficult, simply because no one has done it before. However, no other president owned the Texas Rangers, either, so perhaps George W. Bush should be viewed as an unlikely White House resident for that reason, too.

Stark instead should have pointed out that four of the last five presidents have been governors. As such, perhaps the executive experience Giuliani and Bloomberg have received as mayor makes them attractive candidates for the country’s top executive position.

The remainder of Stark’s article appears to have been written by someone without a firm grasp on political reality. Bloomberg won’t join an Obama ticket — there’s nothing for Bloomberg to gain in joining either ticket as the vice-presidential candidate, and there’s less of a reason to believe he’d do so on the Democratic side.

If Bloomberg enters the race, he presents major problems for whichever Republican candidate wins the party’s presidential nomination. The one résumé similarity he shares with Giuliani has nothing to do with this threat. Stark would be well-advised to better ground his future work in political reality and less in a medley of interesting but politically irrelevant facts.

Jon Rogowski
Chicago, Ilinois

Faulty construct
Adam Reilly’s coverage of the issues regarding the relocation of city government to South Boston are a welcome contribution to the discussion.

I should like to correct him, however, on views attributed to me in supposed response to a hypothetical proposal of which I had never heard and about which I was not consulted. Contrary to the report, I would not necessarily oppose the relocation of city government to some appropriate location on the Greenway. But this, like any other proposal so critical to the future of our city, would require serious study and open discussion.

Hubert Murray, Aia, Riba
President, Boston Society Of Architects

Upping the anti
Sure, most people would like to be free of a whole bunch of moralistic restrictions built into our laws in a distant past in a fundamentally different society. Gambling should be legal. But it should be legal everywhere, in every form, across the state — not just for one big casino complex that will make its owners rich, and most of its patrons poor. What possible rationale is there for one set of investors to be given a lock on gambling in Massachusetts? If our esteemed political leaders can rationalize the very serious social downside of gambling, then let it blossom in all the forms that a free and entrepreneurial society can create.

Don Carlson
Boston

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