What does the resignation of Elliot Spitzer as governor of New York have to do with globalization?
Well, potentially a lot.
If you live outside of New York, you may not have thought much about the rumors surrounding Mayor Michael Bloomberg's now ruled out run for the White House. Conventional wisdom held that Bloomberg fancied his chances as an independent candidate in a three-way race against Rudy Giuliani and Hillary Clinton, but wouldn't entertain a run against either John McCain or Barack Obama. Almost immediately, his decision not to run gave way to a new set of rumors. Namely, that billionaire Mayor Mike, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent, has set his sights on Albany instead.
A just released Quinnipiac University poll found that fully three-quarters of city residents want him to run for governor in 2010. Although the survey was conducted prior to the Spitzer revelations, someone created a Bloomberg for Governor page on Facebook one hour after the story broke on Monday.
So what does this all add up to?
David Paterson, the current Lieutenant Governor who is slated to become Governor March 17, will serve out the remainder of Spitzer's elected term. This will likely impact Bloomberg's 2010 decision calculus. As divisive a figure as Spitzer was, Paterson is said to be a great guy with many friends on both sides of the aisle in Albany. Bloomberg may not deem a run against Paterson as appealing as one against the snarling sheriff of Wall Street.
Which brings me to the globalization element. Bloomberg is a businessman. As Mayor, he has long had an eye trained on the emerging challengers to New York as the world's undisputed financial capital. These include London, Hong Kong, Singapore, Dubai and even Chicago.
How David Paterson will approach the issue of New York's status as a leading financial center is unkown. But he has extremely close ties with organized labor through his father, Basil Paterson, a former New York Secretary of State who is now a lawyer for many of the state's most powerful unions. Will this impact Governor Paterson's policy tilt on the globalization issues that are of concern to New York's financial community? Maybe. Would a Governor Bloomberg be more likely to support New York's continued prominence as a world financial center? Probably.
But as we saw this week, anything can happen.