Thanks to John Fund of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL we know for certain that Mayor Michael Bloomberg of New York is seriously contemplating a run for the Presidency of the United States as an independent. Bloomberg wears the Republican label - on his sleeve, not on his forehead. Bloomberg became a Republican just in time for his filing to run for Mayor of New York City. He began his campaign, even after considerable paid media, with only 5% in the polls. Bloomberg crept steadily upward, due to preponderantly more paid media. Remember also that is Bloomberg's cable news/financial network you may have stumbled across for an explanation for why the Dow Jones Index gained 111 points on one day only to lose 86 points the very next day.
What put Bloomberg over the top was the endorsement about ten days before the election from the almost God-like Mayor of New York City. "Rudy" they shouted, even when Mrs. Giuliani held a press conference or appeared alone at a ceremony. Giuliani was the Nation's Mayor. After 9/11 2001 it was impossible not to see Rudy on television, both cable and the networks. He almost lived at NBC because of his many appearances on NBC, MSNBC and CNBC, each of which required separate interviews, and so on. He had approval ratings in the 90's. He was being unfaithful to his wife, even during those war-like times. The national media did the play by play. The more the Mayor was unfaithful the more popular he became. She was unreasonable, demanding custody of the children, so says the media. During this time, the media were demanding that both men release their tax returns. Both men did. No surprises in Rudy's case. But voters learned for the first time what vast wealth Bloomberg has. Surprisingly, in New York City it didn't hurt him at all. That is why this RINO could drop around $85 million to win with 58%. New York, like many other big cities and some states, has term limits. Whereas Rudy filled an open seat, he was able to stay in office far longer than Bloomberg will be able to. Plus Bloomberg is not as engaging a personality as Rudy. He raised taxes when during the last stages of the campaign he promised not to do so. He also made all of the bars and restaurants smoke free. Many who don't smoke resented that somewhat totalitarian-style move. He has been much softer with the unions than Rudy was.
As John Fund pointed out, Bloomberg, were he to run, would seek an independent line rather than joining one of the existing parties. The man is a billionaire. Some reports have him divesting himself of most of his stock - taking care of his family so they don't have to worry no matter what, giving most of the stock to charity and then using the rest for a national campaign. He was quoted in THE WALL STREET JOURNAL piece that he could easily put up a half billion dollars for a national campaign. That would equal what both John F. Kerry and George W. Bush spent in 2004 combined.
Bloomberg starts with the premise that most Americans are fed up with both political parties, which was about the same situation in which the nation found itself in 1992. That was the year H. Ross Perot ran and received 19% of the popular vote, although he carried no state in the Electoral College. Bloomberg believes he can appeal to both sides of the aisle. Unlike Democrats, Bloomberg does want to see the country defended, he is often critical of the Pentagon, but is tougher on defense than the average Democrat. On the Republican side, Bloomberg believes that the Party has been taken over by the Religious Right. He cites the recent embryonic stem-cell debate - 70% of the country wants to use stem cells from the unborn. But the Right to Life and pro-family movements strongly opposed doing so on the ground that that potential life was destroyed by such a procedure. Bush, the most strongly pro-life President we have had, sided with National Right to Life, Family Research Council et al. On the same day the Senate passed the bill calling for more money and a greatly expanded embryonic stem-cell program, with entire clinics established just to work on stem cells, the President, flanked by children who had been born because of embryonic stem cells being brought to term, vetoed the bill.
Bloomberg thinks that moves like this will cause the Republicans to nominate a truly right-wing candidate. He thinks a so-called reformer (such as Senator John S. McCain, III (R-AZ)) will not be nominated, even though he could be elected in November. So he would become the reformer and take those votes away from Republicans. He would also appeal to the moderate suburban voters, especially women, on the social issues, while appealing to the Democrats on the issue of competence. He has made the trains run on time in New York.
There is no doubt that this country is ready for a viable third-party candidate. Most friends of Bloomberg believe that, he won't run for the Presidency. Maybe so, but following along the lines of Bill Gates and Warren E. Buffett, one should not underestimate the power of wanting to serve. Bill Gates could have played with his money from now until death and with compound interest he would only get more of it. Instead he now has a foundation to which Buffett has poured hundreds of millions as well. The two of them will use their creative abilities to work on problems associated with AIDS and other health problems. They will also work on education, citing the potential shortage of millions of skilled workers in the next 20 years. To serve, even though what they do with their money could be far better spent in my opinion, has a powerful pull to it. Bloomberg is near retirement age. He could sit around and enjoy retirement. Perhaps it is his turn to ride the Orient Express from Vladivostok to inner China in the Czar's private car. That is what Buffett and the Gates did last year. A several-day train ride with spectacular scenery is very good for coming up with ideas. Or he could decide that the climate is right. Half the country does not want Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY), yet she is the likely Democratic nominee. More than half the nation loves McCain. But most likely he will not be the GOP nominee. So Bloomberg, very much attracted to public service, may just say, to heck with it. Get those Bloomberg for President bumper stickers rolling off of the presses?