"It is sort of bizarre to say you’re Facebook friends with the deputy mayor of New York City."
hat’s Andrew MacRae, a 25-year-old Virginia resident and D.C. law firm temp who three weeks ago began blogging full-time about Michael Bloomberg’s possible presidential campaign. Besides being Facebook "friends" with Kevin Sheekey (and these days, who isn’t?), Macrae has no connections with the Bloomberg administration.
Which makes his blogging obsession all the more unusual.
As much as anything Bloomberg is a rallying flag," MacRae told me last night. "There’s a lot of groups trying to change politics [because] there’s too much money money in politics, self-serving politics. For me, it’s a rallying flag. It’s not necessarily the man, it’s much more the idea of moving towards a civil discussion, a discussion more about actual policy, and less of this endless bantering between the parties."
Before graduating in 2005 with a B.A. in Political Science (with a double minor in philosophy and economics), MacRae studied abroad for a semester in Sweden. He says he was amazed by the level of civic engagement.
A far cry from America, MacRae says.
"The method right now is to scream at each other, and whoever screams the loudest wins," he said.
The problem, be believes, isn’t with politicians themselves but with a system that doesn’t let them behave intelligently.
"I think it’s a system from which politicians are being selected that is primarily broken. Its like every single election cycle, we get the same poor choice of candidates and the same poor discussion of issues," he said.
MacRae says he’s not concerned about the idea of Bloomberg only being able to consider a run in the first place because of his multi-billion-dollar fortune.
"The money doesn’t bother me as much," MacRae said. "The money isn’t keeping McCain out of the primary. It’s being a moderate that’s keeping him out of the primary. It’s the same reason why, say, John Edwards, is tacking way left compared to 2004 [when he ran]. He’s pandering to a liberal base."
So what is it about Bloomberg that makes him better?
MacRae said, "He’s a compilation of what I like in a lot of other candidates.
"Mitt Romney has some enterprise skills, but he doesn’t believe in anything. He’ll say anything to get elected. Sure, Rudy Giuliani did great things for New York, but look at what he’s willing to sacrifice to get power. Barack Obama is great. An eloquent speaker. He inspires people. But he’s not even a one-term senator. I doubt his ability to change all politics by his mere election."
But Bloomberg’s candidacy will?
"Look, I haven’t drank the Kool-Aide on him," MacRae said. "He’s not perfect. And I don’t think his presidency will be perfect."
He then added: "But one thing I like about Bloomberg is that he’s an Eagle Scout. So am I."