Looks like it's that season again, the time where we all gather around the fire and speculate for months whether Michael Bloomberg will run for President or not.
In a New York cover story from last month John Heilemann postulated that Bloomberg's candidacy would shave enough centrist voters to enable a Palin win. Ross Douthat at the Times argued that to be a viable threat, the Republicans would need to nominate a candidate that didn't terrify the rest of the country first.
But the idea of a President Bloomberg has still not sold voters, or Bloomberg himself. As Ben McGrath writes in the New Yorker this week,
Speaking at Harvard, the day before the election, Bloomberg said, "I think, actually, a third-party candidate could run the government easier than a partisan political President," and then he went on, as he always does, to deny that he intends to pursue the position. He is, as he is fond of saying, Jewish, unmarried, pro-choice, anti-gun, pro-immigrant, and pro-gay-marriage. Add to that a strong allegiance to Wall Street, a weekend house in Bermuda, and his vehemence, last summer, in defense of the mosque near Ground Zero, and it's hard to see how he plays to the populist moment. A recent Marist poll indicates that only twenty-six per cent of New Yorkers favor the prospect of his running.
Nor would Bloomberg's vast fortune make as big an impression this time around. A recent survey of winners in the most recent election shows the correlation between neophytes' large bank accounts and victory has thinned. And if Bloomberg wants to run, it'll be far more expensive this election cycle than the last time we were speculating. McGrath writes:
In 2006, when Heilemann first floated the Bloomberg-for-President trial balloon, in another New York cover story, his sources told him that the Mayor would be willing to spend between two hundred and fifty and five hundred million dollars for the cause. Now, apparently, the range is one to three billion.
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