The Permanent Will
By David Sirota
February 15th, 2008 - 9:09am ET
Our media love to tell us just how much Americans are pining for an independent presidential candidacy, and specifically, just how much potential support there is for a Mike Bloomberg for President campaign. But as I show in my new nationally syndicated newspaper column out today, both assertions are fiction. That begs a simple question - one that ties into my upcoming book: Why is the Establishment so adamant about jamming a candidacy down our throat that we so clearly do not want? Why is the political elite so insistent on crushing what has become a full-fledged uprising in 2008?
The latest NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll shows that Bloomberg is extremely unpopular on the national stage. Gallup reports that "the American public does not appear to believe it is important or necessary for an independent candidate outside of the traditional two major parties to step into the race in order to save the nation." And America clearly isn't interested in an independent candidacy who, as Glenn Greenwald notes, holds extremist views on major issues like Iraq (sidenote: As part of my ongoing efforts to use the column to promote fellow progressives, Glenn is featured in the column).
And yet the Bloomberg bandwagon in the media continues to grow ever larger. Barely a day goes by without some fawning story speculating about Bloomberg's potential run for president - implying that he has some sort of huge mass constituency and political monopoly on so-called "competence" and "bipartisanship."
The disconnect between what Americans actually want and what the Establishment wants America to want reflects just how petrified the elite are right now. They look at both parties' potential nominees and realize that they each potentially represent some form of fundamental change - and that scares them. And so they are desperate for someone - anyone! - to suppress what Alexander Hamilton called the "popular passions" and champion the status quo's "permanent will."
To be sure, Bloomberg's egomania is driving him ever closer to jumping into the race. The Associated Press reports this week on his potential plans to get on 15 state ballots in the coming weeks. But as the media speculation around this billionaire increases, remember that the most important dynamic at play here is not the machinations of one prima donna, but the desperation of the Establishment. It is a powerful force.
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