Our City Hall hopefuls’ political affiliations are as about as fluid as a Vassar sophomore’s sexuality. One prospective candidate, Gristedes billionaire John Catsimatidis, switched his affiliation from Democratic to Republican last week — after supporting both Clintons and, in 2000, Gore. Now the Times, in a profile of another possible contender — police commish Ray Kelly — breezily muses: “It is not clear whether Mr. Kelly … would even run as a Republican. Mr. Kelly is not registered with any political party.” The very existence of this choice — hmm, which crew should I run with (or from)? — speaks to a curious local phenomenon: Jumping parties has apparently become a mark of New York City mayor material.
For whatever reason, reinventing yourself as an indefinably no-nonsense entity works like magic here. Rudy Giuliani loves to say how he’d won over Democratic voters of New York because of his “results,” but the truth is, he was one weird Republican back then: anti-gun, pro-choice, soft on illegals, and demonstrably hard on corruption. His successor, Mike Bloomberg, of course, has been a card-carrying member of every party but the Whigs. Have their relative successes rendered us the ultimate purple city-state, wise to empty rhetoric? Or do we just like our leaders … flexible?
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