It appears as though the city’s Republican Party leaders—they used to meet in phone booths, back in the pre-cellular era—are in a bit of a snit. Mayor Michael Bloomberg discarded them two years ago when he dropped out of the party and declared himself to be a true independent. Now with the mayor preparing for an unanticipated reelection campaign, some Republicans would prefer to run a sacrificial lamb for mayor rather than give Mr. Bloomberg their blessing in the 2009 election.
Can you spell “self-defeating?”
Republicans have enjoyed unprecedented success in City Hall over the last 15 years. Think about it—the last Democrat to win the mayoralty was David Dinkins, in 1989. In the four municipal elections since then, Rudolph Giuliani and Mr. Bloomberg have radically changed voting habits in New York. No longer do New Yorkers reflexively reach for the Democratic lever in mayoral elections.
You’d think Republicans would embrace the chance to welcome back their prodigal candidate, Mr. Bloomberg. But some are making a show of their disdain for a man they see as a turncoat. (Oddly, they were not so skeptical of Mr. Bloomberg when he opened up his wallet during his transformation from a Democrat to a Republican before the 2001 mayor election.) Queens County Chairman Phil Ragusa thinks the party should look elsewhere for a candidate because Mr. Bloomberg hasn’t been loyal to the party.
Of course, the Republican Party isn’t much of an organization these days. Democrats monopolize state government and have made inroads into solid Republican neighborhoods. Even Staten Island has a Democratic congressman. The party should be less concerned about loyalty and more willing to accept Mr. Bloomberg back into the fold. Without him, the party surely will see its remarkable mayoral winning streak come to an end in November.
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