Monday, September 13, 2010


The Great Mentioners at Politico are mentioning Mike Bloomberg again:

Term-limited New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at work expanding his national profile, delivering a string of high-profile candidate endorsements around the country and using his outsized megaphone to become a spokesman for swaths of disgruntled elites who were once part of President Barack Obama's base.

What he wants isn't entirely clear. The mayor, armed with a $15 billion fortune, publicly denies in the most emphatic terms --death, incapacitation -- any interest in cutting short his third term to run for higher office.

But his schedule and growing portfolio suggests he's looking for a national voice or something more, one that echoes well beyond the city's five boroughs, and he is attracting attention from elites who have become disillusioned with the White House....

He would seem to have no chance whatsoever at being president -- especially now, when he's on the wrong side of public opinion on the Islamic community center in downtown Manhattan. Being the spokesman for fat cats would seem to hurt him going the other way (although that never seems to hurt Republicans). Oh, and his endorsees aren't doing all that well:

Among those who have won the Bloomberg imprimatur -- Democratic Senate hopeful Rep. Joe Sestak in Pennsylvania; Republican Rep. Mike Castle, a Delaware Senate candidate; Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, the Democratic gubernatorial hopeful in Wisconsin; Washington D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty, who is seeking reelection.

All of these guys are struggling to win their races.

But Bloomberg has a huge ego, and if he wants to run for president, he'll do it. I think it's also possible that he'll bankroll someone like Evan Bayh in a third-party bid, with Bloomie possibly taking the VP slot. (Which would make a thrill go up David Broder's leg.)

Bloomie can't win because of Park51 and because he strongly supports gun control. But if Republicans are on the verge of nominating a crazy person like Sarah Palin, they may want to keep Bloomie-bashing on the back burner if he's in the race.

Because he has the potential to draw centrists and left-centrists -- probably not enough to win, even in a three-way race, but enough to sink the Obama candidacy. He could make it possible for the GOP to win strictly by turning out the base (which is what Republicans will be forced to do if Palin's the nominee).

It may not matter -- I think anyone, including a Palin/Bachmann ticket, will be able to beat Obama if unemployment never goes below 9.5% between now and November 2012. But if Bloomberg jumps in, as a candidate or as the money behind a candidate, I think Republicans will hold their fire. They'll want him attacked by interest groups (the NRA, Pam Geller), but they won't want him relentlessly attacked on Fox and talk radio. They'll want him to do somewhat well. And he's so rich (and so pundit-friendly) that he probably will.

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