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Monday, May 29, 2006

Bloomberg for media billionaire

Yap, yap, yap, I'll marry gays

DLCers Talk Up Indie Run by Bloomberg

In today's issue of The New York Times, Diane Cardwell discusses the possibility of a presidential run by Michael Bloomberg. How fitting, then, that the pundits apparently most open to talking about a potential independent candidacy by the billionaire and New York City mayor come from the DLC.

As Democrats and Republicans argue over the future of their parties and the national debate remains polarized, there are signs that voters are becoming increasingly dissatisfied with President Bush and the Republican leaders of Congress, and that they aren't necessarily energized by the Democrats, either.

"Most people are not satisfied with their politics and would very much like to see more politicians who just got things done," said Al From, founder and chief executive officer of the Democratic Leadership Council, a centrist policy group. "Most people really aren't about ideology. Most people really are about, 'Let's get something done that's going to make my life better.' "


Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, which is affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council, said that in many ways Mr. Bloomberg had been building on the political legacy of moderate New York Republicans like Nelson A. Rockefeller and Jacob K. Javits. "It's hard-headed, but liberal on social issues and fiscally responsible," said Mr. Wittmann, who has worked for Senator John McCain. "He very much fits that mold that's been dormant, even in the Democratic Party." [emphasis added]

I'm not sure to which Democratic Party Marshall Wittman belongs, but it's certainly not the one I'm a part of. Almost by definition, the Democratic Party -- particularly in the past two decades -- has been about fiscal responsibility and liberalism on social issues, the two planks Wittman says Bloomberg has going for him. In other words, that winning formula that Wittman proffers is simply the Democratic Party platform, though not in so many words.

What Wittman and the folks at the DLC like about Bloomberg is his policies, per se, but rather that he's a Republican who's really a Democrat -- or perhaps that he's a Democrat who became a Republican. With this "bipartisan" resume, how could Bloomberg possibly lose?

In a three-way race for the presidency, Bloomberg would likely split the center-left vote, handing the White House to conservative Republicans. Even if John McCain were the Republican nominee, it's not clear to me what conservative would vote for Bloomberg over McCain as the mayor is far to the left of McCain on social issues.

Things might get more complicated in a four-way race for President, with a Democrat, Republican, nativist/religious conservative and Bloomberg all in the mix. However, it's not clear to me that the Democrats -- or even someone on the center-left -- would end up victorious in this scenario.

I have no problem with Wittman, From and all of the DLCers working within the Democratic Party to enact change; after all, this is exactly what the netroots are attempting in a number of primary and general elections. That said, when they seek to undercut the party by peddling the possibility of a centrist independent like Michael Bloomberg for the presidency, they have no place in Democratic politics.

As racist and meanspirited as Rudy Giuliani is, he has charisma. Bloomberg was elected because he lacked charisma. Compared to him, Hillary Clinton is Bette Midler.

Mike Bloomberg is tacking left because Eliot Spitzer is going to be the next governorof New York, and the Senate may go blue also. The New York GOP is spiraling to a brutal collapse and Mike needs to move left.

Bloomberg isn't acting like he wants to run for anything, but let's face facts, the DLC needs a new poster boy, Lieberman is in trouble and they've quickly become a curse word in Democratic party circles. But the fact is that Bloomberg wants to get back to his company, to run for president, it would have to, at a minimum, be placed in a blind trust and more likely sold.

But he doesn't seem interested in any of that. Most of his tacking left is to prepare for his endorsement of Spitzer and a possible return to the Democratic Party.

posted by Steve @ 5:53:00 PM

5:53:00 PM

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