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ISSUE 119 VOL 7 PUBLISHED 11/4/2005

Bipartisanship 'Blooms'

By Andrea Horbinski
Opinion Editor

Friday, November 4, 2005

Next Tuesday, New Yorkers will go to the polls to vote for their next mayor. It is a very different election from the last, which was held only two months after the events of Sept. 11, 2001.

New York has bounced back from that atrocity magnificently. Incumbent Michael R. Bloomberg, a Republican, is running on his record of successes, large and small, against Democratic nominee Fernando Ferrer.

On Oct. 23, The New York Times’ editorial board endorsed Bloomberg over Ferrer, a surprising move for the famously “liberal” newspaper of the most Democratic city in the most Democratic state in the country. Even more unusual, the endorsement was all but glowing in its praise of Bloomberg.

The board’s only reservation came from Bloomberg’s habit of spending huge amounts of his own money to finance his campaigns – his 2001 victory cost him $75 million and he is currently outspending Ferrer 17 to one. But, despite that caveat, the board declared that it “enthusiastically endorses” Bloomberg for mayor.

Republicans being elected by Democrats may very well raise eyebrows around the country, but on the East Coast, it is simply politics as usual.

In my own home Garden State, Democratic Sen. Jon Corzine and perennial gubernatorial runner-up Doug Forrester, a Republican, are each funding their campaigns for governor out of their own pockets.

The race has narrowed in the past few weeks due to accusations of corruption on both sides and Forrester attempting to tie Corzine to the nation’s first gay governor, Jim McGreevy, who resigned after an affair with one of his aides came to light.

Like Christine Todd Whitman, former governor of New Jersey and former head of the Enviromental Protection Agency, Bloomberg is pro-choice and pro-environment.

A lot of people at St. Olaf are still amazed when I tell them this. “A pro-choice Republican?” Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus; and. furthermore, the only state in the nation in which gay marriage is legal, Massachusetts, is led by a Republican, Mitt Romney.

The New York Times endorsement is simple pragmatism, and should not come as a surprise. East Coast Democrats and independents often cross the line when the Republican candidate is simply a better choice, because voting according to party ideology can often lead to poor leadership.

A good example of this practice is Philadelphia. In the last two mayoral elections in the “sixth borough,” Democrat John Street ran against Republican Sam Katz. Katz, an extremely moderate Republican who presents himself in the same mold as Bloomberg, was both times endorsed by the Philadelphia Inquirer, another newspaper not noted for its conservative bent.

Bloomberg wants to solidify and extend the gains he is given to New Yorkers in his administration, while Ferrer is trying to paint a picture of a New York City starkly divided along class lines, which resembles the city of the past far more than it does of the city of the present or the future.

The choice between the two of them, the Democrat with a painfully thin record and the Republican with a record of success, should be clear, and is clear to people willing to look past ideology to a candidate’s true merit. In and of itself, this simple decision should not seem so shockingly bipartisan. But, in today’s divided America, I guess it is.

Opinions editor Andrea Horbinski is a junior from Marlton, N.J. She majors in classics with concentrations in linguistics and in Japan studies.

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