Monday, March 10, 2008

Bloomberg -- Why? (UPDATED)

In one of the funniest remarks in the history of electoral politics, William F. Buckley, when asked what he would do first if elected mayor of New York City, said “demand a recount.” Great though it would have been to have him running New York City — he didn’t even attend ethnically-themed parades when running, thinking they were divisive — he recognized how unpopular he was.

By contrast, our current mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is obviously convinced, despite his recent comments about not running for president, that there is some vast groundswell of support for him out there in America. His re-registration as an Independent and recent New York Times op-ed saying (very, very vaguely) that a presidential candidate would have to think independently to get his support are consistent with the belief of a New York Post political reporter I talked to nearly a year ago that Bloomberg’s plan all along has been to offer himself as a vice presidential candidate to either party.

First of all, regardless of whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing: Who has that as an ambition, becoming a non-partisan vice president? Isn’t it a bit like plotting and strategizing since childhood to become assistant secretary of state? Strange.

Second, regardless of the fact that the money/media elite think he’s important, perhaps because they’ve seen his name on those Bloomberg News computer terminals far more times than the general population has, who cares about this guy? America turned out not to even care about the far more charismatic Rudy Giuliani, so why would they want that other guy who followed him? The whiney, nasal, nagging one whose idea of bipartisanship is pushing issues that annoy both left and right, like raising property taxes, banning smoking, and banning trans fats? He’s a nanny-statist that leftists and rightists alike can find annoying. Oh, and he’s concerned about global warming, but who isn’t, besides me and a surprisingly large number of scientists (like ones gathered by the Heartland Institute here in New York a week ago)?

Finally, does he really add anything useful to either of the likely major-party presidential tickets this year? It seems less and less likely that the Democrats can avoid a Clinton or Obama ticket having Obama or Clinton in the v.p. slot without alienating half the party, but if it did abandon one of them, it’s not clear Bloomberg is the kind of non-sequitur they’re looking for, and Independent or not, I’d think he’d still be a hated Republican in the minds of hateful Democrats. And with McCain universally acknowledged to need someone who is broadly popular yet shores up his wary base, I’d think the last thing he needs is a second RINO from New York City on the ticket — but if he were going to pick one, it might as well be Giuliani.

And if (wisely, I think) McCain were going to pick someone with appeal to the Northeast (NOTE: not Huckabee or another appeal to the South, since if the GOP doesn’t already have the South in the bag, it’s doomed anyway), he’d stand to gain more from swallowing his pride and picking Romney, who might actually get him Massachusetts, while nothing including Bloomberg is likely to get him liberal New York, especially with New York’s Sen. Clinton on the Democrat ticket.

In any case, I just don’t see who the vast constituency for Bloomberg is imagined to be — he doesn’t even seem to be all that popular in his own city, and who else cares?

ADDENDUM: Needless to say, this CNN headline today suggests he will remain more popular than our Democratic governor, though:

New York Times reports Gov. Eliot Spitzer admits involvement in a prostitution ring.

Will this interfere with his crusading efforts to clean up Wall Street?


Christopher said...

Unless the DEMOCRATIC nominee picks Huckabee for VP AND is revealed to have a fatal disease, there is no way McCain would win MA with Romney. The democrats, i.e. most of the state, loath him because of how he acted during his term in office. He may be somewhat popular with MA republicans, but far less so than when he was elected gov. and no more so than many other VP possibilities (not including Huckabee). Given how few electoral votes the Northeastern states (other than New York, which he will surely lose anyway) have, McCain would do far better to pick someone who will give him an edge in states like Michigan (where Romney could actually help a bit), Ohio (where he wouldn’t), Florida, or California (admittedly a long shot, but not as long as MA and with far more votes and a gov. who supports him).

Todd Seavey said...

Makes sense.

In related news, Richard Cooper, a libertarian Republican, theorizes that Huckabee doesn’t hope to be a prez or even v.p. but wants to be the new Ralph Reed/Jerry Falwell, and thus a kingmaker/fundraiser on the religious right — and I found myself in the same room with Huckabee’s first chief policy advisor and Ralph Reed about one week ago, as it happens, but the two are very dissimilar, one being mainly interested in economic issues such as tax cuts and the other being mainly interested in money.

Yancey Ward said...

Christopher is correct- even if God ran as McCain’s VP, Massachusetts would vote for the Democrat.