Friday, November 25, 2011

Bloomberg for President?

There has been a lot of crack induced hysteria around the thought of Michael Bloomberg running for president. The latest is a story in the Washington Post: "The restless political middle — emboldened by the recent inability of a special congressional committee to agree on a debt-reduction deal — is staking out a controversial plan to insert itself into the 2012 election. A bipartisan group of political strategists and donors known as Americans Elect has raised $22 million and is likely to place a third presidential candidate on the ballot in every state next year. The goal is to provide an alternative to President Obama and the GOP nominee and break the tradition of a Democrat-vs.-Republican lineup."

Just what the hell is the "restless middle?" And who exactly is raising money on behalf of these restless folks? The only guy that Wapo cites is someone descrbed as a Rebublican strategist who once worked for the Democratic governor of Massachusetts-inspiring the thought that this kind of effort is self aggrandizing but not really stimulating to anyone not simply looking out to make a quick buck.

Perhaps all we need to know is that the effort is being bankrolled by Peter Ackerman, a former partner of Mike Milken-and that Mark McKinnon, a co-founder of the No Labels effort that Bloomberg has been allied with, sits on the board of directors. This is priceless-no labels, junk bonds and the surreptitious presence of one Michael Bloomberg. A perfect fit for the current political mood. Maybe they should call their party the Crony Capitalists.

As WaPo reports: "New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s name has also been mentioned, probably because a leader in the effort to draft the independent into the 2008 presidential race is involved in Americans Elect. " But we don't think that Mike will get involved with this crew-too haphazard and uncertain an effort, and Bloomberg needs to be fully in control of the rudder in anything he does.

Which brings us to John Podhoretz's column today in the NY Post:

"Fanciers and critics of Michael Bloomberg alike, take note; there are signs he’s noodling once again about making an independent run for president.

Item 1: After two months of dilly-dallying, the mayor finally moved on the Occupy Wall Street encampment, just as — fancy this! — the polls were showing public opinion turning firmly against the squatters nationwide.

Item 2: The Wall Street Journal published an op-ed calling on Barack Obama to forego a bid for second term by Patrick Caddell and Douglas Schoen. Doesn’t seem relevant? Schoen, an experienced Democratic pollster, has been a Bloomberg intimate for years and one of the leading expostulators of the notion that an independent could really win the presidency in 2012."

The speculation might be fueled by the mayor's apparent boredom with his current job: "He looks tired and bored and annoyed. And there are two long years until his liberation from the third term he foolishly sought. But what is a man who clearly loves the spotlight, the attention and the idea that he is a get-it-done guy who transcends ideological and partisan categorization to do?"

Just to get into the holiday spirit, "Ho, ho ho"-the idea that Mike Bloomberg is a "get-it-done" kind of guy is a train that has long ago left Rational Central Station. Bloomberg has shown a knack for self promotion but that has been accompanied by little in the way of tangible achievement-check the city schools, CityTime and last winter's snow storm if you nee to have your memory refreshed.

Podhoretz for his part is a fan of the idea because he feels that the mayor-as a "nanny state liberal"-would sink Obama's re-election efforts: "But given his own ideological predilections — meaning, he’s a nanny-state liberal — it’s more likely than not that those states would be ones Obama would otherwise win. If Bloomberg succeeds in capturing independents and a bunch of disaffected or depressed Democrats, he’ll ensure an Obama defeat and a Republican victory in 2012."

We tend to agree with this assessment but we would add that, aside from his nanny tendencies Bloomberg is the ultimate crony capitalist and the combination of traits would make him an anathema to a wide swath of the electorate. His run, however, would generate a great deal of mirth-and given the recent gloom and doom in the economy that is indeed something we would look forward to.