I wish I felt better about Mike Bloomberg's endorsement of Barack Obama, but I don't see it as much of a win for Obama or the planet -- though I'd love to be wrong in both cases.
Regarding the effect on Obama's chances, I agree with this, from BuzzFeed's Ben Smith:
The endorsement may not directly move voters -- Bloomberg has always been a figure primarily of the Acela Corridor....Is there any swing state where swing voters take Bloomberg very seriously? If they know him at all, they know him from late night comics' jokes about his policing of oversize sodas. They don't know him as (in Smith's words) a "moderate technocratic businessman" -- they know him as the guy who runs that alluring but also offputting huge city up in the Northeast, a guy who knows how to make money but is also a bit of a nanny-state crank. I don't think they see him as a role model for their vote.
Regarding the big news in the endorsement -- the fact that what tipped the balance for Bloomberg was Obama's acknowledgment of the problem of climate change -- I'd love to believe that Bloomberg's words will make a difference. I'm afraid, though, that in America, real action on climate change is in the same category as a truce on abortion, or real action on gun violence: the country is basically in favor, influential coast-dwelling social liberals are very much in favor, but the GOP is against -- and that settles that. Nobody's figured out a way to overcome GOP intransigence on these issues because no one's willing to acknowledge that the GOP is the problem.
And that very much includes Bloomberg himself. In his endorsement, he writes:
When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties' nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.Well, Mike, if you feel this way, what the hell took you so long to endorse Obama? And why were you ever a Republican?
One believes a woman's right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America's march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
The only way we will move forward on these issues, and on gun violence, is by drastically reducing the power of the Fox/Koch/Limbaugh/tea party wing of the GOP. The fact that Bloomberg doesn't get that, and seriously considered endorsing a man who fought hard to win the support of that cabal, tells you that he still doesn't get it. Which suggests that he's going to be ineffectual on this issue for the foreseeable future, unless he wises up.