Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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June 20, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

BLOOMBERG!....Like Michael Bloomberg, my great-grandfather made the full circle from Democrat to Republican to independent. A local newspaper opined that Eli's final switch was made so that he could "extract sweetness from both the old parties," and I can't help but think that that's pretty much what Bloomberg has in mind too.

But that's a minority view. Everyone else thinks that being on the cover of Time magazine with Arnold has gone to his head and he's gearing up for a third-party run for president. I'm struggling to believe this, and it's a struggle between two traits Bloomberg obviously must have. Clearly, to get where he's gotten, he must be really ambitious and have an ego the size of Manhattan. So maybe he really will run. On the other hand, he didn't get where he's gotten by being an idiot. So he won't.

For now, my money says he won't run. It's just too patently a suicide run. But I guess it doesn't really matter what my money says, does it?

Kevin Drum 11:58 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (97)

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he's running.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

I agree with Kevin's analysis. Stil;, it's fun to speculate on what Bloomberg's platform would be and which party he he would take more votes from. My guess is that he wouldn't take many votes from either party.

Posted by: ex-liberal on June 20, 2007 at 12:02 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine a presidential race with three candidates, two New York majors and one New York senator. Our heads would explode, surely.

Posted by: troglodyte on June 20, 2007 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The conventional wisdom on the right is that Mr. Bloomberg, one of leading proponents of the modern nanny state, would therefore be more appealing to Democratic voters and would tend to help the Republican candidate.

I think Mr. Bloomberg is known nationally more for the trans-fat ban and totalitarian anti-smoking campaigns than for any economic successes. And if that's not true now, it would certainly become true if he made a serious Presidential run.

Posted by: sammler on June 20, 2007 at 12:05 PM | PERMALINK

one other thing...though his campaign will probably be ultimately quixotic....don't think for a second that spending a billion (which he could do without sweating) won't make the major parties sweat. presidential campaigns spend far less (and raise less) than the public realizes.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 12:06 PM | PERMALINK

Some polling indicates that Bloomberg draws significantly more support from the Republican candidate than from the Democratic candidate. What if this is his way of influencing the election in favor of the Democratic candidate? The possibility that he might end up as president would be an added bonus.

Posted by: Sam on June 20, 2007 at 12:10 PM | PERMALINK

You have articulated the central duality of modern US politics:
anybody who is driven enough, morally and metally pliable enough, to make the run for the job (be it president or dogcatcher), with all its moral comprimises, constituency pandering and fundraising excess, etc. is probably not someone worth voting for.

Posted by: JJ Daddy-O on June 20, 2007 at 12:11 PM | PERMALINK

Yes, but clearly the cost for him running and losing is arguably very small. Both politically and economically, it's very low.

But the upside of winning - no matter how low it is- it's immense.

Odds are he's running. There's no other reason to quit the GOP.

Posted by: Nick Kaufman on June 20, 2007 at 12:13 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't make any sense for bloomberg to run, but do you think anyone in his inner circle is going to tell him that? No. He's likely surrounded by a group of his biggest fans telling him, "Oh, yes, Mr. Mayor , you're so wonderful. Everyone in the United States loves you and will vote for you."

Posted by: Tyro on June 20, 2007 at 12:15 PM | PERMALINK

Quite right; the talking would be done by Bloomberg's money, at least $500M of it -- and while he's worth at least ten times that, half a billion bucks is sort of pricey for a place next to John Anderson in the Hall of Historical Footnotes. I'll believe he's running when he says so.

Posted by: penalcolony on June 20, 2007 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg should reflect on the fact that public opinion has not been kind to recent third party candidates for the President.

Nader is now regarded as an egomaniacal spoiler. Perot is regarded as an egomaniacal crackpot.

Does Bloomberg really think he would arise from a nearly certain loss, having exhibited a breathtaking inadequacy for the position, with any real public reputation intact?

Posted by: frankly0 on June 20, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

It doesn't make any sense for bloomberg to run, but do you think anyone in his inner circle is going to tell him that? No. He's likely surrounded by a group of his biggest fans telling him, "Oh, yes, Mr. Mayor , you're so wonderful. Everyone in the United States loves you and will vote for you."

Posted by: Tyro on June 20, 2007 at 12:17 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if America is ready for another "CEO President." And like sammler said, he isn't known for his policies, so what's he going to run on? Bush's hostilities towards worker's rights and safeties and privatization schemes will make it hard for a business man who brings nothing to the table save his own fortune to gain traction with someone who can't run banner social value ads associated with the republican party. People don't want to live in a Charles Dickens novel with a contemptfull ruling elite and rampant deregulation and indentured servitude due to debt brought on by reckless fiscal tendencies of people who have money but don't worry about where it comes from.

Posted by: A different Matt on June 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

tyro: I can assure you that he asks for and gets honest advice.

frankly0: he can't be mayor again. he's not interested in any other office. he's made his billions. he likes public service. frankly, he's quite good at it. there are only two things in life for him left to do: 1. go back to making money. or 2. run for president.

and he does have one obvious selling card...he's beholden to no one. no fundraising necessary.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 12:22 PM | PERMALINK

Odds are he's running. There's no other reason to quit the GOP.

I can give you around 3,500 reasons to quit the GOP, but I get your point.

Posted by: McG on June 20, 2007 at 12:23 PM | PERMALINK

If Bloomberg runs as an independent moderate Republican to split the Republican vote and ensure a win for the Democrats, I will applaud him. If Bloomberg runs as an independent moderate Democrat to split the Democratic vote I will villify him. If Bloomberg is the only candidate to articulate the dire situation the nation is in and has an equally sensible plan to save us from ourselves, then I think he has to be considered as a viable candidate.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 12:27 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg will run. You don't end up where he is in life without having or acquiring a gigantic ego.

I think Bloomberg entering the race upsets the entire equation. Two weeks ago, I would have said that Hillary Clinton was our next president regardless of whether that lazy poseur Fred Thompson entered the race or not. Now, I am not so sure. I think Bloomberg is going to draw at least as many disenfranchised Democrats, like myeslf, as he is going to draw Republicans. Remember that most Republicans are lemmings, and will follow their front-runner right over a cliff, like they are doing with The Decider. Democrats - not so much.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on June 20, 2007 at 12:32 PM | PERMALINK

Could be angling for the VP slot. He could be an asset to several of the candidates of either party, although IMHO he'd be more of one to the Democrats.

Edwards-Bloomberg? Obama-Bloomberg? Clinton-Bloomberg? I could see it.

Posted by: bleh on June 20, 2007 at 12:36 PM | PERMALINK

I think that it is entirely possible that by this time next year we will have a different setof candidates, at least on the GOP side. Maybe nota whole new set, but some new faces as Giuliani and McCain slide into the dumper adn Romney and Thompson are exposed for the over-ambitious phonies that they are. It could happen to the Dems too if the major candidates don't get on the right side of withdrawal from Iraq soon.

We could have Gore v. Gingrich (please!) or 4 major candidates running of the fundies decide the GOP candidate is not right enough.

This feels like the most fluid election since 1948.

Posted by: Mimikatz on June 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

I second Nathan's assessment. Bloomberg is not primarily a politician. He has not spent a long career trying to please interest groups with crazy demands. His time as major since 9/11 has been marked, however, by an ability to gain the trust of the various interest groups. He never feels the need to convince voters that he is a regular guy.

Posted by: troglodyte on June 20, 2007 at 12:39 PM | PERMALINK

He is NOT stupid.

Obviously, anyone who is worth $10 billion and is mayor of New York has a big ego. But I would be willing to bet that he has a smaller ego than most people in his position.

His ego is far smaller than Rudy or Hillary. He has also accomplished far more than either of them ever did.

Don't forget that Bloomberg was, and still is, a basically liberal Democrat. He just wanted to be Mayor so he became a Republican.

I think it will be impossible for Bloomberg to win unless the Democratic nominee colapses.

For example, I am a yellow dog Democrat and I will vote for Bloomberg if he runs.

Posted by: neil wilson on June 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

"there are only two things in life for him left to do: 1. go back to making money. or 2. run for president."

Maybe this is just me, but life would be pretty depressing if all there was to it was politics and making money.

Posted by: Tim P. on June 20, 2007 at 12:40 PM | PERMALINK

The Dems generally like their primary field, the GOP hates theirs. That suggests Bloomberg would take from the Republicans. OTOH he's a New Yorker with a name ending in "berg," suggesting he's not likely to get much support in southern Jesusland. So I don't know which side he'd hurt more. (Just as an aside, to this day there are arguments about who Perot hurt more, Bush or Clinton, and that's in a race that was already run. It's really unknowable what effect Bloomberg would have, now when he hasn't even entered the race yet.)

I do think Giuliani is NOT going to get the nomination, so we aren't going to see a 3-way all-New York race. Pity, it'd be fun to see all the dittoheads exploding.

Posted by: jimBOB on June 20, 2007 at 12:44 PM | PERMALINK

Deflator: I think Bloomberg is going to draw at least as many disenfranchised Democrats, like myeslf, as he is going to draw Republicans.
I'd like to think that the Democrats learned a lesson from 2000, and that it would stick at least for a while. I don't find any of the Dem frontrunners particularly compelling* but would very much prefer any of them over any likely Republican nominee.

*Please, Al!

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

To put it more bluntly: If the same crowd that gave us GW Bush because they couldn't see any difference between Bush and Gore gives us President Giuliani we deserve whatever the hell happens to us.

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

When I heard he might be running, my first thought was that he'd be doing it to throw a wrench into the system, not to actually win. Like Perot in 1992, but on purpose.

I guess what I'm saying is I agree with Kevin--he'd be crazy to run--but then again it might be a crazy-like-a-fox sort of crazy.

Posted by: Evan on June 20, 2007 at 12:49 PM | PERMALINK

He is not running. Instead, he's following the same modus operandi that has made him, if not the most successful in New York history, one of the most respected.

Bloomberg has always preached that, as a self-made billionaire, he is beholden to no one. He will play the populist political card if it ultimately serves his principled interest. Conversely, he will also draw the ire of general public if his own principled interest wrongs counterintuitive to the Joe-schmoe street logic (like when he raised cigarettes prices via a NYC tax by 50%.) Some of the issues that he has tackled head-on include the woeful state of NYC public school system, especially when it came to tenured school principals who were simply collecting paychecks rather than educating, gun control as a means of reducing crime by taking the guns off the streets, and balancing the city's budget by raising and enforcing parking fines.

Though I don't always agree with his agenda or some of his policies, I do respect the man enough to know that, most of the time, he has the public interest completely at heart; that as a self-made billionaire who has been on both sides of the political aisle, he is not beholden to party nor donor politics. Some people would call him a maverick for this (akin to the former governor of Connecticut, Lowell Weicker.) I just think it's simply being a man of principle - and the right ones at that.

Posted by: ny patriot on June 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM | PERMALINK

He clearly intends to run. I can't think of any other compelling reason to renounce his faux Republicanism.

Who will he take votes from? That depends on how he runs. His politics is clearly liberal, which is unsurprising considering where he is mayor, but he may change as a presidential candidate. If I were forced to guess, he will take more votes from the Republicans than Democrats in the blue areas of the country, and in a critical state like Ohio. He won't poll better than a percent in the South or Mountain West.

Posted by: Yancey Ward on June 20, 2007 at 12:59 PM | PERMALINK

On the other hand, he didn't get where he's gotten by being an idiot. So he won't.

Be careful, here. The same could be said of everyone longtime Congressmen and multimillionaires and governors and generals who has been a contender for a major party nomination. Even assuming there are a few deliberate spoilers or people who run with a Kucinich-esque goal of "moving the Overton Window," every presidential race features several people who don't have a chance and should be smart enough to know it, but are running anyway.

Posted by: Cyrus on June 20, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg has recognized that no Republican can win the next presidential election, if it's a fair one.

Posted by: kingpin on June 20, 2007 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg appears to be the only politician in America who is willing to call bullshit on this War on Terror crap.
That in and of itself wins him substantial points in my book.

I'd prefer a candidate who was more socially progressive, but right now the single most important issue for me is torture, and the whole constellation of other immoralities and stupidities that go along with GWOT, and Bloomberg is the only candidate willing to deal with the problem right at its root.

If he comes out with a clear "torture is wrong and when I'm president, every American who engaged in it will be sent to Syria to get some first hand experience of life on the other side" he'll have my vote. The question now is whether he'll become ever more squishy as time goes by.

Posted by: Maynard Handley on June 20, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK

Perot-Stockdale '08.

In your heart, you know they're right.

Posted by: Perot-Stockdale '08 on June 20, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Perot-Stockdale '08.

In your heart, you know they're right.

Posted by: Perot-Stockdale '08 on June 20, 2007 at 1:09 PM | PERMALINK

Please give me a break. Bloomberg has even less of a chance of winning the Presidency than Nader did in 2000 or Kucinich has of getting the Dem nomination today.

I made the mistake of watching Hardball last night and thought I saw Howard Fineman cum in his pants as he described the great re-alignment of the American political landscape that would be brought about by a Bloomberg possibly teamed up with Chuck Hagel run for the White House. (Right, as if a Senator who believes that he is indispensable to the nation is going to take a back seat to being a lowly Mayor's VP) It was pretty messy. LOL

However, I do hope that he runs if only to kill the liberals' belief that the amount of money a candidate has available will determine the outcome of the election. Bloomberg can purchase every moment of commercial time on every channel in the country from the moment he announces until election day and I would bet that he would get less votes than the Libertarian or Natural Law candidates does without spending one, two or three billion dollars. So run Mike run and prove the old adage that a fool and his money are soon parted.

Posted by: Chicounsel on June 20, 2007 at 1:12 PM | PERMALINK

just as a follow-up:

he has been out and about across the country these past few weeks basically to use the national stage to peddle his national interestes, which primarily are focused on promoting gun control legislation and immigration reform. What he has been saying in the national press is no different than what New Yorkers have been hearing over the past 5-6 years: that stupid age-old policies, like guns and cigarettes and gay nuptuals, are dinosaurs that need to be changed to meet the society that we live in today and the one that we will live in tomorrow.

By renouncing his GOP affiliation (and BTW, he also reounced his Democrat affiliation back in 2001 so he could run, alone, on the Republican ticket when Giuliani was term-limited out of office) he is just sending a clear message that party politics is not what he, and his agenda, is all about. Rather, there are many domestic political issues that neither party can or should lay claim to and that by basically standing out there in front and emptying his pockets, he is merely saying "I am what I am."

Posted by: ny patriot on June 20, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

Frankly0: Bloomberg is NOT a Ross Perot. Nor a Jesse Ventura, for that matter. He's been elected to a serious position, unlike Perot, and he's treated his position with seriousness, unlike Ventura.

Bleh: He is NOT angling for Veep. He didn't get to $10 bil by playing second banana. Geez, that's an inane idea.

Kevin, Bloomberg's statement about becoming indy because that will help him lead NYC is pure spin. Can't believe you can't see that enough to at least entertain the possibility he's running.

I've already blogged about this twice at Proctoring Congress, and I'm still not convinced he helps Dems more than Republicans. Not at all convinced.

For instance, as TPM noted yesterday, the "Big Three" Dems all went on mike at AFSCME as being cool with a partial withdrawal from Iraq. What if one of them gets nominated, and Big Mike is in the race advocating full withdrawal?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on June 20, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

That reminds me: later this year, a few friends of mine and I are going to sneak over to Ralph Nader's house one night and install bars on all his doors and windows, to keep him shut securely in. (We'll slip him food through that little door the cat runs through.) The plan is to keep him there until sometime in the second week of November, 2008.

Posted by: lampwick on June 20, 2007 at 1:13 PM | PERMALINK

I just made apost on whether the elected president would get assasinated like previous American "radicals." Who do you think would get killed, Clinton or Obama? Heaven forbid of course.

Posted by: NeoRealist on June 20, 2007 at 1:14 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg has recently said the US is in real trouble. One of the front running Democratic candidates had a poll to determine which theme song to use for her campaign, as if trying to evade discussing the many serious problems our country has. I am of the opinion that the candidate who can best articulate the seriousness of the times and offer thoughtful policies to solve them will be very attractive to any voter who is not locked in to party loyalty. A Bloomberg independent candidacy will cause problems for both parties, whose candidates seem to run from the issues instead of on their solutions to them.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: Serial liar Nathan offers his assurance -- and about honest advice, to boot!

What, Nathan, do you think if you lie low for a while, people won't recognize you as the dishonest GOP water carrier and all-around horses ass you've proven yourself to be time and again?

Good Ford, I pity your clients.

"ex-liberal": My guess is that he wouldn't take many votes from either party.

Maybe, but these days "ex-Republican" has a hell of a lot more cachet than your bullshit provocation of a handle, you shameless neocon toad.

Posted by: Gregory on June 20, 2007 at 1:16 PM | PERMALINK

For now, my money says he won't run. It's just too patently a suicide run.

The third party candidate in 1992, Ross Perot, actually accomplished something by keeping the debate focused on the federal deficit. Even in losing, his campaign was not suicidal. If Bloomberg chooses his issues wisely, and stays focused on them, he may have a beneficial impact on the debate and subsequent policy.

It would be interesting to watch a three-way race among New Yorkers: Bloomberg, Giuliani, and Clinton.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 20, 2007 at 1:18 PM | PERMALINK

A different Matt: I don't know if America is ready for another "CEO President."

Bloomberg's resume is a lot more impressive than GW Bush's. the trans-fat issue is a loser, but he has a lot going for him.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 20, 2007 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Marler wrote: The third party candidate in 1992, Ross Perot, actually accomplished something by keeping the debate focused on the federal deficit.

Thanks to your boy Bush, we can focus on that issue again in 2008.

Posted by: Gregory on June 20, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

But I guess it doesn't really matter what my money says, does it?

Well, if my money was talking to me, I would be pretty concerned...

Posted by: Bill Gardner on June 20, 2007 at 1:26 PM | PERMALINK

More fodder for yes, he is running.

The Observer notes he has trips planned to Oklahoma, Texas, California and (ahem) New Hampshire.

Oklahoma, I don't get. Texas is not as conservative as being home of the current Preznit would indicate. California's a no-brainer.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on June 20, 2007 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

I think the US is in real trouble, both economically and politically. I have been worried that none of the candidates so far have been acknowledging the seriousness of the times. The popularity of an empty good 'ol boy like F. Thompson and the triteness of Clinton's outreach are very troubling. Although I am very skeptical of Bloomberg, his forthrightness about the problems we face may help to focus the election on the real problems that need solving.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 1:31 PM | PERMALINK

ny patriot on June 20, 2007 at 12:57 PM

We are going to hear a lot of that. Bloomberg is a really good guy with considerable accomplishments.

Posted by: MatthewRmarler on June 20, 2007 at 1:32 PM | PERMALINK

Bloomberg is a really good guy with considerable accomplishments.

How jealous you must be...

Posted by: Gregory on June 20, 2007 at 1:41 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo: none of the candidates so far have been acknowledging the seriousness of the times

You're not wrong. But if it was between Clinton and Thompson, wouldn't you see a clear choice, and the risks of "throwing" the election the wrong way as happened in 2000?

I'm not trying to pick a fight. I'm really curious.

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

One issue Bloomberg is very serious about is gun control. The gun lobby absolutely hates him. He sent undercover NYC investigators to Virginia to purchase firearms illegally in a sting operation and then sued a bunch of gun dealers.

Posted by: Needles on June 20, 2007 at 1:50 PM | PERMALINK

Needles, it's exactly stuff like that which would make me consider voting Bloomberg.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on June 20, 2007 at 1:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm just making an observation about the vacuousness of the front runners' campaigns when compared to the serious things Bloomberg says. Clinton is clearly superior to Thompson or any Republican.

Posted by: Brojo on June 20, 2007 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

"there are only two things in life for him left to do: 1. go back to making money. or 2. run for president."

This misses my point.

If Bloomberg runs as an independent in 2008, he will certainly lose, as did both Perot and Nader. It takes no great genius to see that.

He will be savaged in the process. He is, in fact, grossly underqualified for the job. He will be pilloried by both sides for it, and will be made to look like a fool.

And, of course, he will be held responsible for the loss of whichever side in fact loses. He will be savaged once more for that.

Because he will have lost, and because there will be no other believable explanation for his run other than the urgings of his ego, he will be savaged once more on top.

The bottom line is that his reputation will be irreparably harmed.

And people will ask, finally, so this man paid out hundreds of millions of his own money to make himself look like an egomaniacal fool?

Whatever the goal of Bloomberg's run might be, I'd think that making himself look for all time as if he has no self restraint and no brains and no real ability to see the future outside of a very, very limited domain is not among them.

If Bloomberg is looking to establish a positive legacy, how, he should wonder, might a run for the Presidency possibly achieve that?

Posted by: frankly0 on June 20, 2007 at 1:58 PM | PERMALINK

I'll tell you what's f*cking sad. The more I read about Bloomberg in this thread, the more I like him, and the more I'm convinced he's unelectable.

I don't think in modern America you can get elected saying serious things about serious issues.

Posted by: thersites on June 20, 2007 at 1:59 PM | PERMALINK

People are making poor comparisons when assessing Bloomberg's potential as a candidate.

Comparison with GWB as a CEO candidate? There's no comparison between a failed CEO and a very, very successful one.

Comparison with Perot? More on the mark, but still off: Bloomberg was actually elected to something, unlike Perot. Perot wasn't ready for the media attention, dropping out and then coming back in again at the last minute. Perot wasn't ready to really spend -- Bloomberg spent *twice* as much to be *reelected* mayor of NYC as Perot did in running for President. I have no doubt that if Bloomberg ran, he would use an "overwhelming force" election campaign strategy.

Comparison with Nader? No comparison. Nader is an unelected loon, who was successful in spoilerdom only due to Gore's shortcomings as a candidate.

Unless you were in the NYC area during one of Bloomberg's campaigns, you have no idea how effective massive amounts of well-spent campaign money can be. You could not watch television or listen to the radio in the NYC area for more than 30 minutes without seeing several ads for him.

The Democrats should, I think, be more afraid of Bloomberg than the Republicans. There's a good chance that in a three-way race -- especially one with Hillary Clinton -- Bloomberg could be the candidate of the *left*, but with enough capitalist street cred to blunt the natural right-wing talking points better than the Democrat could. Bloomberg has no record on Iraq at all, which means that he could mount an all-out antiwar campaign more easily than the more cautious Democrats.

I do think he'll have more trouble playing the "populist" card than Perot did, though. He's anti-gun, anti-smoking, pro-choice, and pro-gay -- a populist could probably get away with some of these, but not all. If he wants to pick up Republican votes, he'll have to pull a Romney, and then he loses his no-nonsense image. But that doesn't mean he couldn't win, especially if the other candidates are weak.

Posted by: Alex R on June 20, 2007 at 2:08 PM | PERMALINK

Other than those who read the national edition of the NYT, Bloomberg's got no real image with voters outside greater NY. I'll bet his name recognition is in single digits.

Sure, he can afford to spend zillions introducing himself to the American electorate, but it's likely wasted money.

In a country bitterly polarized between Dems and Reps, does anyone think a rich Jew from NYC is going to make inroads susfficient to somehow land himself in the White House? What little I know about him is that he's a good government nag. Another Dukakis but with money.

More likely he'll draw just enough support to be a spoiler if the Dem-Rep race is tight.

Posted by: Auto on June 20, 2007 at 2:10 PM | PERMALINK

He will run, and it will be a very interesting election. Bloomberg is an unusual person -- very bright, very focused, very stubborn. He is the ball player who seems to always be able to hold on to the ball until he scores. And he has a contempt for politicians, something that he will effectively communiucate and which will have broad appeal.

What other candidate would have the courage to say outright that terrorism is not as big a threat to the US as we have come to believe? That street crime is a more serious problem? Wait until they ask him about this in the debates and he comes up with the obvious numbers.

I don't think that traditional political formulas can be applied to this guy. He's one of a kind.


Posted by: JS on June 20, 2007 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

One other point about Bloomberg.

I can hardly imagine a less propitious time for a third party candidate. To whatever extent such campaigns are successful, they are so by running what is in effect a "process" campaign against the entire Washington establishment. They could call out "a pox on both your houses", and get a real response from the public.

Whatever the failings of Nader and Perot, they at least managed to choose election years when process campaigns had some resonance. The public in fact in those elections were disgusted with partisan wrangling and gridlock.

But 2008 will NOT be a process election. It is without question going to be an issue election, and that issue is going to be Iraq. Why should those who want to stay the course vote for anyone other than a Republican? Why should those who want us to get out of Iraq want to vote for anyone other than a Democrat? Why anybody concerned about Iraq -- and that's just about everybody -- throw away their vote on an independent candidate?

Point is, not only would Bloomberg lose, he'd lose in real disgrace. He'd be an object of ridicule.

Again, he's going to throw away hundreds of millions of dollars of his own money to achieve that embarrassing effect?

Posted by: frankly0 on June 20, 2007 at 2:25 PM | PERMALINK

If he does run, a three-way Subway Series election could have more cultural cross-currents and melodrama than a dozen beach novels:

http://ajliebling.blogspot.com/2007/06/three-way-subway-series.html

Posted by: Robert Stein on June 20, 2007 at 2:27 PM | PERMALINK

From Wikipedia:


On This Week on June 10, 2007, anchor George Stephanopoulos mentioned four necessary conditions Bloomberg insiders say would be prerequisites to a presidential campaign for the Mayor:

1. 70% of the nation would need to feel as though the country is moving in the wrong direction.
2. Both nominees would need to have disapproval ratings in the 40% range.
3. 40% of the country would need to be open to a third party candidate.
4. 20–25% of the country would need to be "open to Mike Bloomberg".

Posted by: JS on June 20, 2007 at 2:32 PM | PERMALINK

yeesh. I put three links in a comment, and I'm still in moderation...

Posted by: grape_crush on June 20, 2007 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

He'd only bother to do this if he was preparing to run.

On the face of it, he'd make a damn good president. He's successfully built a multi-billion dollar business from scratch, been an excellent mayor of NYC, and yet is humble enough that he still rides the bus to work every day.

Given that we have a winner-take-all electoral system, he'd only need to get 35-40% of the vote in many states to win their electoral votes in a three-way race, something he could easily achieve. Don't forget that Clinton won the 1992 election with only 43% of the popular vote.

And truth be told, he is probably just as qualified as virtually everyone else who is running, if not more. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat, but if Hillary wins the Democratic nomination, I could easily see myself voting for Bloomberg simply because he's so competent.

Posted by: mfw13 on June 20, 2007 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

Brojo at 12:27 p.m.

If Bloomberg is the only candidate to articulate the dire situation the nation is in and has an equally sensible plan to save us from ourselves, then I think he has to be considered as a viable candidate.

Leftists believe that people should be "saved from themselves", and that job belongs to big government.

Conservatives believe that people are their own best resource, and government should leave them alone to pursue happiness on their own.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 20, 2007 at 2:46 PM | PERMALINK

I don't know if anyone has mentioned this yet, but Bloomberg has only ever been a RINO. He was a Democrat for all of his life until he switched to the Republican Party in 2001 for the sake of political expedience (he never would have gotten through a Democratic primary in New York, so in order to run for mayor he switched his party registration to Republican, which gave him the nomination). Up until that point he was a major Democratic Party contributor and supporter.

Posted by: Stefan on June 20, 2007 at 2:50 PM | PERMALINK

frankly0: "He will be savaged in the process. He is, in fact, grossly underqualified for the job. He will be pilloried by both sides for it, and will be made to look like a fool."

I'd be very amused to see which current candidate you think is more qualified than Bloomberg....

maybe you should try looking up the GDP of NYC. or how about its budget. the number of NYC employees. etc.

throw in the fact that Bloomberg could double the spending of both of the other presidentical campaigns combined without wincing...or wasting time on fundraisers. and he could throw the election to the House.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 2:51 PM | PERMALINK

conservative deflator at 12:32 p.m.

Remember that most Republicans are lemmings, and will follow their front-runner right over a cliff, like they are doing with The Decider. Democrats - not so much.

Actually, what seem like "lemmings ... following their front-runner", are just conservatives with the courage to maintain their convictions, regardless of what the popular press or latest opinion poll says. I understand that this concept would be difficult for a leftist to comprehend.

Courage of convictions is yet another concept that separates the right from the left. It's difficult for liberals to maintain convictions, because they are so often ruled by emotion rather than reason.

Posted by: sportsfan79 on June 20, 2007 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: "Up until that point he was a major Democratic Party contributor and supporter."

"supporter" is a bit strong. like practically all billionaires he donated plenty of cash to whoever was going to win a given office. his interest in politics came pretty late in life.

although I don't think he'll win (as I noted way up this thread)...I think you'll see that he's more flexible on certain things than people think. he'll emphasize urban gun control but probably deemphasize it as a federal issue..etc.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 2:55 PM | PERMALINK

Courage of convictions is yet another concept that separates the right from the left. It's difficult for liberals to maintain convictions, because they are so often ruled by emotion rather than reason.

sportsfan, how do you reconcile Bush's presidency, and its overwhelming support by conservatives until recently, with those two statements?

Posted by: Gregory on June 20, 2007 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

I'd be very amused to see which current candidate you think is more qualified than Bloomberg

Uh, how about any one with national political experience?

I realize of course that that criterion leaves out Giuliani as well. He, too, has an appointment with embarrassment.

Posted by: frankly0 on June 20, 2007 at 3:02 PM | PERMALINK

like practically all billionaires he donated plenty of cash to whoever was going to win a given office

Sure...just look at Richard Mellon Scaife.

Posted by: Gregory on June 20, 2007 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK


The trans-fat issue, and issues like it, is exactly what we need. Why should it even exist? Why would we allow poison in our food?

If he spent five seconds talking about trans-fat in a presidential debate that would be more straight talk than McCain has ever belched up in his lifetime.

Posted by: cld on June 20, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

If he weren't running, why would he make such a public display of his party affiliation change? He can't run for mayor of NYC any more, so unless he's planning a run for gov, why make such a big deal about leaving the GOP?

He's got enough money to spend that he doesn't have to worry about raising seed money, only about getting enough signatures to get on a ballot. That's going to take a national organization, and compiling one can't be done in secret, so I think we'll know more about Mike's intentions in the Fall.

That being said, how much would he impact the race? If it were a popular vote, maybe, but how many states is he going to have enough of an impact to change the course of the election? Is he going to take enough votes away from the dem candidate to deliver NY to the GOP? I sincerely doubt it. And I worked for Bloomberg LP, he's not picking up many votes down south. I think this is much ado about nothing.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 20, 2007 at 3:04 PM | PERMALINK

so, frankly0, um, I take it that you believe Bill Clinton was "grossly underqualified" in 1992. Eisenhower, Reagan, Dukakis, Carter and many others.

real swift.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

I would like to add, having known Mike to some degree, he is a no-nonsense, fact-based administrator. He will tell you what he thinks, not what he thinks you want to hear. Were he running as a dem, I would vote for him in a cocaine heartbeat. As an independent, he has no chance, and as a repub, he would have to capitulate to the GOP mouthbreathers in Congress to some extent to push his agenda.

If I had a criticism of Mike, it is that he is loyal to a fault. He tends to promote those who have been around him the longest, and many of those promoted were ill-suited for the job. But he is beholden to no one, and, if nothing else, his candidacy would force both party nominees to address important issues.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 20, 2007 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Gore/Bloomberg '08.

Posted by: pbg on June 20, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

nathan makes what I think is a key point about Bloomberg running. While all the other candidates spend time and money raising money, Bloomberg can spend it campaigning and talking to people. For every fundraiser at a mansion in Beverly Hills that Clinton does, or mansion in Houston for Thompson, Bloomberg can have a town hall meeting somewhere that those candidates will never go. For ever hour they spend calling donors for dollars, he can call voters, or go door to door. it would be interesting, to say the least.

Posted by: northzax on June 20, 2007 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

He does need to work on his voice though. It's too nasal, and sometimes sounds whiny -- even though what he says is not.

Posted by: JS on June 20, 2007 at 4:08 PM | PERMALINK

[Apologies to the regulars - while cleaning up unpublished link spam, a couple of comments disappeared.]

Posted by: . on June 20, 2007 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

bloomberg's actions might be an attention getting tune-up for a vice-presdiential bid.

how old is the guy?

Posted by: orionATL on June 20, 2007 at 4:45 PM | PERMALINK

orion: I can guarantee you VP doesn't interest him.

Posted by: Nathan on June 20, 2007 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

Nathan is right -- to think that Bloomberg would accept a VP spot is not to understand Bloomberg.

Posted by: JS on June 20, 2007 at 5:06 PM | PERMALINK

I really don't think Mike iss interested in being veep. he hasn't reported to anyone in 30 years, why would he start now? Interestingly enough, he continues to insist he's not running. That certainly could be a canard, but the more insistent he becomes (and the question will continue to be asked), the harder it gets for him to back off of it.

Could he have made such a production in order to make public his dissatisfaction with the GOP? It makes sense.

Posted by: MeLoseBrain? on June 20, 2007 at 5:07 PM | PERMALINK

from a very close friend inside city hall comes this email:

I don't think he's running, and while I'm not all that plugged in over here, from what I can tell others don't think he will, either. But he sure is having fun with the press!

Posted by: Wilton on June 20, 2007 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

I think the relevant question vis a vis "who will Bloomberg's entrance into the race benefit" or "whether he should run" is whether it will help advance America. Independents are beginning to make the statement to all the presidential candidates (and Bloomberg will not be excluded from this, should he run) that they're going to have to convince us that they're more interested in changing America for the better and getting us on the right track than getting themselves elected. Independents are happy to see him become “unaffiliated,” many want him go further – namely to positively “affiliate” himself with independent voters and the independent movement. The American people – and independents in particular – have already been through an experience where a wealthy businessman stepped forward and ran for president as an independent, but turned out to be an unreliable ally in building a lasting movement to fight the negative impact of partisan gridlock. We don’t want to end up in a Ross Perot-type situation again. Mike Bloomberg has been a good mayor and has helped to popularize the idea of non-partisan governance. At the same time, we want to know that Bloomberg will do his part to empower the “on-the-ground” independent movement if he moves ahead.

For more on the history of Bloomberg and independents, read The Bloomberg Story (by Jacqueline Salit who ran Bloomberg's independent campaign for mayor in NYC) at http://www.independentvoting.org/Bloomberg.html


Posted by: Gwen on June 20, 2007 at 8:02 PM | PERMALINK

there are only two things in life for him left to do: 1. go back to making money. or 2. run for president.

you forgot:

3. Nail lotsa hot chicks.

PS. He is seriously testing the waters. This is not just for show. Whether or not he ultimately throws his hat in the ring depends on what the race looks like in 9 months. Even if he doesn't run, putting himself on the national map increases his leverage and is a sure win strategy.

Posted by: Disputo on June 20, 2007 at 8:25 PM | PERMALINK

Btw, I just got back from the fair City of NY, and I have one question for you natives -- when the f are you gonna do something with that hole? That sad little memorial by the path station is a disgrace, and I don't even have words to describe the urine-reeking place to the south where the names of the dead are listed. Can I blame this on Bloomberg?

Posted by: Disputo on June 20, 2007 at 8:32 PM | PERMALINK

Could be that Bloomberg wants to leave a positive legacy of himself despite knowing that he probably wouldn't win. He might just be doing all of this to slap the shit out of the Democratic and Republican candidates and try to prevent an empty media show that would happen otherwise.. cause he knows the country is really on the line and we need substantive policies.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 21, 2007 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

I didn't know much about Bloomberg either, but after reading this thread, I like the guy! Of course, Mr Deep South and Mr wannabe Deep South will interpret Bloomberg's gun sting as an attack on 'merca. But at least those people can no longer completely turn off their brain when pulling the Big lever. Bloomberg's only hope if he runs, is that after getting date-raped at the prom, America is willing to look in the mirror and realize that the captain of the football team was actually a shallow dick.

Posted by: Captain on June 21, 2007 at 4:14 AM | PERMALINK

Major misconception: He does not have huge ego, in fact one of the hallmarks of his Political career is standing back and letting others take credit.

He is not going to run. But he is going to threaten to run. Its simple. He gains almost as much a political voice just by posturing. His goal is to sway the discourse, and there is no better way to do that then pretending to run. And you know, its pretty darn cheap to act as if you are going to run....

Posted by: driggs on June 21, 2007 at 7:24 AM | PERMALINK

I just figured out why Bloomberg's declaring himslef to be an independent.

He's not running for diddly. But he'd still like a big job in DC. Since he doesn't know which party will win the White House, turning independent positions himself to be offered a post by the next president, no matter his/her party label.

Posted by: auto on June 21, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Dear Disputo
re your comments after visiting our fair city:

when the f are you gonna do something with that hole?

Who the f knows, there are too many players with a gazillion dollars at stake. Not overlook individual egos that could flood the grand canyon.

That sad little memorial by the path station is a disgrace, and I don't even have words to describe the urine-reeking place to the south where the names of the dead are listed.

We (I) feel they same way.

Can I blame this on Bloomberg?

Not really, it starts and ends with the real estate developer Larry Silverstein, who won the bid to lease the twin towers from The Port Authority of NY & NJ in July of 2001. PANY/NJ are the developers and original owners the buildings. Then there are the insurance companies involved, and finally the former Gov of NY, George Pataki. Any mayor of NYC just gets to stand there for the photo op. Our current Gov, Elliot Spitzer, has a little more determination to make things happen at WTC. He’s young, extraordinarily ambitious, and hasn’t been detered by the fact that there are power players in the city, and sate, that can easiy alter or stop his plans.

Posted by: Wilton on June 21, 2007 at 10:32 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder why some of the people here supporting the person who is switching from one party to another party just because of getting power/position..He'll finally end-up in the party where he starts his political career...
mobile phone deals

Posted by: sakthi on June 21, 2007 at 11:22 AM | PERMALINK

This romance or mania for Bloomberg is yet another indication of how ignorant even supposedly informed bloggers and commentators are. Bloomberg "has no record on Iraq at all," yeah, other than that he has supported the war from day one. Ask Jimmy Breslin who has written on the topic several times, including in November 2005: "Michael Bloomberg spoke over the casket of a fallen aristocrat of the city, Riayan A. Tejeda, Marine, dead in Iraq at age 26. Bloomberg pronounced, 'He died to keep the weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of ...' You heard no more. He was up there in the presence of a gallant New Yorker and he spread a lie and for me it was the start of his campaign and it ended with me not voting for him last night. He says of Iraq, 'It is not a local issue.'" Ask Joe Lieberman for whom Bloomberg held a fundraiser at his Manhattan home and to whose campaign he lent staff. Bloomberg has been an Iraq War enabler of the first rank. Why there is some mystique out there that he is now or has ever been opposed to the war is beyond me, and without any factual basis.

Posted by: ERW on June 21, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

This romance or mania for Bloomberg is yet another indication of how ignorant even supposedly informed bloggers and commentators are. Bloomberg "has no record on Iraq at all," yeah, other than that he has supported the war from day one. Ask Jimmy Breslin who has written on the topic several times, including in November 2005: "Michael Bloomberg spoke over the casket of a fallen aristocrat of the city, Riayan A. Tejeda, Marine, dead in Iraq at age 26. Bloomberg pronounced, 'He died to keep the weapons of mass destruction out of the hands of ...' You heard no more. He was up there in the presence of a gallant New Yorker and he spread a lie and for me it was the start of his campaign and it ended with me not voting for him last night. He says of Iraq, 'It is not a local issue.'" Ask Joe Lieberman for whom Bloomberg held a fundraiser at his Manhattan home and to whose campaign he lent staff. Bloomberg has been an Iraq War enabler of the first rank. Why there is some mystique out there that he is now or has ever been opposed to the war is beyond me, and without any factual basis.

Posted by: ERW on June 21, 2007 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Imagine a presidential race with three candidates, two New York majors and one New York senator. Our heads would explode, surely.
Posted by: troglodyte on June 20, 2007 at 12:04 PM

Ahh! (runs out of the room screaming)

Posted by: Dr. Morpheus on June 21, 2007 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK

Ah, not to worry! The head-exploding carnage will likely be averted by hefty doses of MSM administered Ephemerol™, which has been increasingly refined and effective for many years thus.

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on June 22, 2007 at 12:57 AM | PERMALINK

I don't care when a person decided against the war, as long as he removes us from the sinkhole as fast as possible.

By that I mean immediately.

Posted by: cld on June 22, 2007 at 1:07 PM | PERMALINK
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