What Nominees Would Result In a Bloomberg Run?
by Chris Bowers, Mon Mar 05, 2007 at 07:54:10 AM EST
Privately, Bloomberg and political adviser Kevin Sheekey are meeting with pollsters and consultants to assess the mayor's chances as a third-party, independent candidate. "There is no Bloomberg campaign," Sheekey tells NEWSWEEK. "But we have certainly reached out." At a dinner last year with Al From, founder of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council, Bloomberg was candid and self-deprecating, wondering what chance a 5-foot-7, divorced Jew has in the celebrity-sweepstakes presidential contest.For starters, it can't be emphasized enough that Al From was at a meeting last year designed to coax a billionaire Republican to run for President against a Democratic nominee. Couple this with their insistence that more Republicans support their positions than Democrats, and how the DLC is still often quoted in the media as a voice within the Democratic Party or how the Democratic congressional leadership allows Third Way to be the main educating force for new Democratic members on the Hill is beyond me. The Democratic Party is held hostage by those who wish to defeat it.
The answer is that it depends on who the nominees are for the two major parties, and how much cash Bloomberg is willing to spend. The money part is easy for a self-made media mogul. "He could spend $500 million in a campaign and not even think about it," says From. But he'd probably do it only if buyer's remorse sets in among the voters. Because the primary process is so front-loaded this cycle, the winners will be known in early February, leaving nine months until the election for voters to get antsy. "He won't say anything until March of next year," says a former aide privy to the early discussions who didn't want to be named talking about them. "The guiding philosophy is who the Democratic and Republican nominees are, and the mood of the country once they know who those two people are."
Leaving that aside for the moment, I have to wonder what nominees Bloomberg would feel compelled to run against. Surely not McCain, Giuliani and Clinton, since those three are all "cult of bipartisanship" heroes of the LieberDem, DLC-nexus circle that would support Bloomberg. Obama? Maybe, but he does strike a cord of unity rhetoric and Lieberman was his mentor in the Senate for a bit. Romney? Maybe, but I imagine ultra-rich, northeastern owners of media empires would stick together. Edwards? Seems a bit more likely, even though he does have "DLC golden Boy" roots pre-dating his time as a populist crusader.
Basically, I'm not sure why the DLC-nexus is so unhappy with the potential field that they would consider backing someone like Bloomberg in order to stave off a coming era of extremism. This entire election seems to be bearing them the fruits of two decades of seed work, as it is the most DLC-friendly field of candidates ever. Maybe it is because I hate the politics of unity and purpose, but I can't imagine a scenario where they would be shut out of the process, especially considering the fundraising free-for-all that will be the 2008 general election.
And who in God's name would be Bloomberg's base anyway? As the Daily Show put it when it came to the Geffen flap, I think it constitutes those people who care what billionaire plutocrats have to think. In the end, I think that explains why the DLC is still interested in Bloomberg despite the leanings of the rest of the field: that is their primary constituent base these days.