Today's Blogs

Open Mike

Bloggers analyze Michael Bloomberg’s departure from the GOP. Our Atlantic cousins think it’s complete bollocks for the Home Office to call national ID cards the next “British institution.” And Hillary Clinton’s Sopranos spoof gets whacked.

Open Mike: New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has announced that he’s leaving the Republican Party. Coming in the wake of a Time cover story that depicted him and Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger as ideologically promiscuous politicos, and further feeding speculation that Bloomberg plans to run for president, the announcement caused little surprise in cyberspace. Rudy in drag was more convincing as a woman than Bloomberg ever was as a Republican seems to be the consensus.

“Leaving the GOP doesn’t hurt the party since Bloomberg was a RINO who used the party for the inside track to becoming mayor,” Conservative Sean Hackbarth at The American Mind says. “Instead of spending his cash on a Democratic primary fight he couldn’t win he became a Republican and ran on Rudy Giuliani’s coat tails. It worked showing he’s not a political moron just a shape-shifter.” At Captain’s Quarters conservative Ed Morrissey detects a more troublesome aspect to Mike’s mercurial tendency: “While politicians seem to have an affinity for changing certain policy positions, it’s not often you find one that has three party affiliations in six years. In New York City, that may not make much difference, especially since Bloomberg has only a couple of years left as mayor anyway—but it will make a big difference in the presidential race, if he chooses to enter it. … Rudy Giuliani has had a tough time keeping conservatives on board, but Bloomberg would make Giuliani look like Fred Thompson.”

Lefty Steven Benen at The Carpetbagger Report worries that a Bloomberg candidacy might hinder the Democrats’ chance to regain the White House: “On most issues, he’s clearly in the Democratic mainstream (abortion rights, Iraq policy, global warming, gay rights, education), and on some issues he’s to the left of the Democratic mainstream (gun control, regulation of trans fats). In other words, in a three-person race, the nation would have two center-left candidates and one conservative. It doesn’t sound like a winning scenario for the Dems.”

“[T]he guy stands for nothing,” Righty Allahpundit scoffs at Hot Air. “He has no discernible principles aside from avoiding the limelight and trying not to screw anything up. As a governing philosophy, you can do far worse than that; as an organizing ethos for a messianic presidential campaign, it’s pathetically wanting.”

Read more about Bloomberg’s Republican repudiation.

Got ID? British Home Office Minister Liam Byrne told the BBC that national ID cards will soon be as inextricably British as warm beer and roast beef. The cards, to be introduced starting in 2008 for foreign residents and 2009 for citizens, will track employment, age, and criminal history. Skeptics and opponents are out in full force.

Anti-ID card site Atu XVIII thinks a centralized ID database won’t do what its proponents say it will: “I doubt that many security experts would agree that setting up such a ‘honey pot’ is a good idea. [Byrne] complains about ‘Systems with different technologies and languages that don’t talk to each other’—which from a security perspective is a good thing. Making it difficult to link up information from different systems is the best way to protect that information. Identity theft becomes much easier when every system is keyed on the same unique, lifelong personal ID number.”

Wellingborough, U.K., conservative Tony Sharp at The Waendel Journal swats at the government’s comparison of ID cards to store loyalty cards: “This is disingenuous given the optional nature of the loyalty cards and the fact that the kind of information stored is nowhere near as sensitive as that which will be stored on ID Cards.” Also, “Far from helping people avoid fraud, the cards risk hugely increasing the number of identity thefts with the IT system storing all the personal data guaranteed to become a target for organised criminals.”

ID cards “won’t stop terrorism, they won’t stop ‘identity theft,’ they won’t stop illegal immigration,” Scottish Calvinist Cath at ninetysix and ten argues. “The cards themselves will be disgustingly expensive, the national register will be wide open to malfunction and abuse, and the scheme as a whole represents an obnoxious inversion of the relation between citizens and the state.”

Read more about the national ID cards.

Starring Bill Clinton as Carmela Soprano: The Clinton campaign has made a video spoofing the Sopranos finale to promote Hillary’s campaign-song contest, complete with Chelsea parallel parking and Journey on the jukebox. Now comes the blacklash.

Legal blogger and frequent feminist foil Ann Althouse puts Bill and Hill on the couch: “I doubt if any blogger will disagree with my assertion that, coming from Bill Clinton, the ‘O’ of an onion ring is a vagina symbol. Hillary says no to that, driving the symbolism home. She’s ‘looking out’ all right, vigilant over her husband, denying him the sustenance he craves. What does she have for him? Carrot sticks! The one closest to the camera has a rather disgusting greasy sheen to it. Here, Bill, in retaliation for all of your excessive ‘O’ consumption, you may have a large bowl of phallic symbols.”

While New York Times political blogger Kate Phillips  called it “best campaign spot we’ve seen this season,” Ben Marshall at the Guardian’s Comment Is Free thinks the video is “terrible in every way … one of the weirdest and singularly ill-advised advertisements in the history of modern politics.”

Read more about the Sopranos spoof.