Two of the nation’s handful of deci-billionaires — 11-figure guys (a chump with but $250 million falls two zeroes short and thus is said to have a “nine-figure” net worth) — are Michael Bloomberg, elected Mayor of New York as a moderate Republican and now an Independent; and Warren Buffett, son of a deeply conservative Republican Nebraska congressman. Both are pragmatic, ethical capitalists to the core. That they both have endorsed the President’s reelection — Buffett visibly from the start, Bloomberg just yesterday — makes it all the more ridiculous, I think, to brand Obama as “Marxist” or “anti-business” or “incompetent” (these guys became deci-billionaires by knowing how to spot competence) — or any of that other idiotic stuff the other side argues.
It was ridiculous before, of course — the stock market has doubled, corporate profits are at record highs, the vilified health care act was essentially the one Bob Dole advocated, essentially the one Mitt Romney signed as Governor — but it just seems even more ridiculous now to take Sarah Palin’s judgement (say) or Donald Trump’s or Herman Cain’s over that of Warren Buffett and Michael Bloomberg. (Or over the judgements of long-time Republican nuclear arms expert Susan Eisenhower or former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Colin Powell, both of whom have explicitly endorsed the President — these are serious people with serious Republican credentials — or over the judgement, almost-sorta-kinda, of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, who keynoted the Republican Convention endorsing Governor Romney, to be sure, but not with the kind of from-the-heart praise he heaped on President Obama this week.)
Here is a little of what Mike Bloomberg had to say yesterday:
. . . Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be — given this week’s devastation — should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.
. . .We need leadership from the White House — and over the past four years, President Barack Obama has taken major steps to reduce our carbon consumption, including setting higher fuel-efficiency standards for cars and trucks. His administration also has adopted tighter controls on mercury emissions, which will help to close the dirtiest coal power plants (an effort I have supported through my philanthropy), which are estimated to kill 13,000 Americans a year.
Mitt Romney, too, has a history of tackling climate change. As governor of Massachusetts, he signed on to a regional cap- and-trade plan designed to reduce carbon emissions 10 percent below 1990 levels. . . . But since then, he has reversed course, abandoning the very cap-and-trade program he once supported. . . .
I believe Mitt Romney is a good and decent man, and he would bring valuable business experience to the Oval Office. He understands that America was built on the promise of equal opportunity, not equal results. In the past he has also taken sensible positions on immigration, illegal guns, abortion rights and health care. But he has reversed course on all of them, and is even running against the health-care model he signed into law in Massachusetts. . . .
In short, Mike’s voting Obama.
So, we learned this week, is Ed Koch — who endorsed Bush in 2004, but who joins the other prominent backers of Israel I linked to last week. Like them, Ed’s voting Obama.
And so is this guy, son of staunch Republican parents, a former ambassador appointed by George H. W. Bush. He lists a lot of reasons, but concludes:
Finally, I cannot get past the impression that the only thing Mr. Romney believes firmly is that he should be the first Mormon president of the United States, and that it is morally acceptable to say anything to anybody to achieve that goal.* The whole series of his appearances and statements, through the Republican primaries and his campaign against Mr. Obama, leads me to that conclusion.
For that reason, if for nothing else, I don’t want Mitt Romney to be elected president and will vote for Mr. Obama.
Have a great weekend. Vote early if you can. Join Colin Powell, Susan Eisenhower, Mike Bloomberg, Warren Buffett, Ed Koch — and that guy, former ambassador Dan Simpson — and keep the country moving forward with Barack Obama.
Vote Democrat for House and Senate also and — blunting the G.O.P.’s unprecedented obstructionism — it will move forward faster still.
To make one final contribution, please do: here. It will actually help, even at this late stage, because we did our planning assuming that people would. So do.
[APOLOGY: If you read yesterday’s post before noon, you may still be trapped in the paragraph about deregulation, FEMA, and tort reform — a paragraph so dense and poorly constructed that I later shamefacedly straightened it out. Sorry ’bout that.]