BLOOMBERG: SPOILER FOR WHICH PARTY?
Regular readers know how gloomy I am about the Democrats' chances of winning the presidency in '08, but I have to admit that this challenges my assumptions:
SurveyUSA pits New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg against the top three Republicans (Giuliani, McCain, Romney) and top two Democrats (Clinton, Obama) in 16 key states and makes these observations:
* Bloomberg is not yet running, and has not yet spent any of his fortune, but at this hour, a Bloomberg 3rd-Party candidacy hurts Republicans.
* Bloomberg siphons enough Republican votes to flip red states Iowa, Missouri, Ohio, and New Mexico blue.
* There are two instances in which a Bloomberg 3rd-Party run flips a blue state to red, compared to 27 instances where a red state flips to blue....
The SurveyUSA results are here (PDF).
Look, in a political environment in which information about candidates was presented more or less impartially, Mike Bloomberg really might pull more votes from the GOP than from the Democrats, or pull from both parties equally. But we don't have that kind of political environment. We have an environment dominated -- still -- by the GOP's message machine.
Republicans continue to be much, much better than anyone else at framing issues and candidates, and doing it early. (Democrats don't know how to do it back, and I don't think Bloomberg does, either.) And, of course, the Stockholm-syndrome Beltway press still loves the GOP and happily transmits its messages, in order to avoid being called "liberal" (which doesn't work) and in order to get those all-important Drudge hits.
I'm predicting that, if he runs, the GOP will very quickly start painting Bloomberg as a dirty hippie liberal Democrat disguised as an independent -- and that the press will play along. I suppose I could I be wrong about that. And, gosh, it would be nice if some of what I've said, and what other lefties have said, about the tendency of the press to play stenographer to the GOP would have an effect, but so far it doesn't seem to be working that way.
At the end of thisa post I listed a few items that the GOP will use to paint Bloomberg as a nanny state" liberal; a sidebar to this New York Times story lists a couple more Bloomberg positions for which he'll be called a liberal ("Reproductive choice is a fundamental human right"; "A strong America needs a constant source of new immigrants").
I'm picking and choosing from his statements, of course. But that's what the GOP will do. And I think the press will play along. You may disagree.