Bloomberg '08: Maybe We Can Ban Everything!

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As I speculated/feared last week, nannyish New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is seriously considering whether to buy a slot in the presidential race.

Publicly, Bloomberg is focused on his second term and leaving the city in better shape than he got it. 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.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."

If the Democratic Leadership Council is involved, they must be thinking a Bloomberg candidacy would be Perot II, poaching votes from the McCain/Rudy/Romney/Brownback/Stassen ticket and smoothing the red carpet for a Democrat. Golly, that's stupid. The Democratic party is weaker in the South but stronger pretty much everywhere else than it was in 1992; the Republican party, for numerous reasons, is as unpopular as it's been since 1974. Candidate Bloomberg won't run on the issues that could possibly get angry ex-Republicans who can't support Hillary or Obama to switch to him. He supports gun bans, smoking bans, bans of dangerous foods. He supports gay marriage, abortion without restrictions. His immigration views are to the left of both parties' leading '08 candidates. He's for pot decriminalization, but I doubt he'd try to mainstream that issue in a presidential run.

So if you're a Democrat, a Bloomberg candidacy, strongest in the blue Northeast, makes a Hillary or Obama victory less likely. It'd be John Anderson Part II. If you're a libertarian, the presence of a billionaire candidate with Bloomberg's platform holds the risk of pushing the two major party candidates (not the LP of course) to support bigger government and "public health" laws, to cut off the independent's support. If you're a Republican partisan, psst—Unity 08 still needs volunteers!

Brian Doherty lampooned the drive for a phony independent candidate earlier this year.

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  1. However, his candidacy would a) show that it’s not all about the Two Party System, and b) split up the electorate making it easier for a fourth or fifth party to take hold.

    Plus, libertarians take heart: Bloomberg would support massive immigration by the greenskeepers, personal chefs, and yacht crews that we need to keep the economy pumping.

  2. Sorry, I forgot to add: MayorMike also supports RFID implants for GuestWorkers, which would eventually lead to everyone else getting one too. (ACLU statement would be: Anything else would be profiling). Since libertarian-inspired immigration policies are leading us to that already, we might as well get it over with so the implant site will have time to heal.

  3. Don’t forget that Mayor Mike IS, not was but IS, a liberal Democrat.

    He just decided that he wanted to be mayor of New York more than he wanted to stay registered as a Democrat.

    I have always felt that if McCain thinks he was robbed that he could go to Bloomberg and offer him the VP with a promise that McCain would not run for reelection.

    Of course, Bloomberg is my kind of Democrat. He wants to make things better and actually proved he is a hard worker and a smart guy in the business world.

    You also need to remember that if Bloomberg ran for President that it would KILL Rudy Gulliani.

  4. General question: why would you assume that if Bloomberg were President he’d advocate the same “nannyish” policies for the country as a whole that he advocates for New York City?

  5. Of course, Bloomberg is my kind of Democrat. He wants to make things better and actually proved he is a hard worker and a smart guy in the business world.

    Every Democrat wants to “make things better.” So does every Republican. That’s a problem, not a feature. What we need are politicians who will get out of the way and let things get better.

    General question: why would you assume that if Bloomberg were President he’d advocate the same “nannyish” policies for the country as a whole that he advocates for New York City?

    At least on gun control, he’s signed on as a member of the mayor’s group campaigning to spread same. “Bloomberg said he was moved to action in part by the back-to-back killings late last year of two New York City police officers. He said it is clear there’s a need for national leadership given that 82 percent of guns used to commit crimes in New York City are purchased out of state, where laws are less restrictive.” And “Bloomberg also criticized new legislation being considered that would further restrict the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives from keeping extensive records and sharing information with local police departments.”

    Does that answer your general question?

  6. I have to generally agree with Neil and Larry. Also keep in mind that Dr. Bloomberg came up with these bans totally on his own. Not even the poliboro, I mean the NYC Council, had thought of these things, they were too busy outlawing spraypaint, the n word and stuff like that.

  7. why would you assume that if Bloomberg were President he’d advocate the same “nannyish” policies for the country as a whole that he advocates for New York City?

    For the same reason I assume that you’re trolling whenever you post in a thread: past performance is the best indicator of future behavior. Not perfect, but the best.

  8. “If the Democratic Leadership Council is involved…”

    Where did that come from? Because Bloomberg went to a dinner? Or is there something else to suggest that the DLC is involved that you’re not telling us?

    Why are you assuming that, Dave?

  9. I agree with Dan T. Mayor of New York is a very different job than POTUS. My guess is that he’d govern on national issues, not freaking smoking bans and fast food. Oh, yeah, he’s not a conservative on guns, but that’s hardly the same thing.

    I’d peg his politics as President as being in the mold of 60s-era liberal Republicans – sort of an Ike-style benevolent plutocrat. Committed libertarians would no doubt freak out about his economics policies, but Business as a whole would appreciate him as someone friendly, who they could do business with.

  10. B-berg might actually be the least disgusting potential candidate for ’08 (except, of course, for Mr. Paul).

    That’s not saying a whole heck of a lot, though.

  11. B-berg might actually be the least disgusting potential candidate for ’08 (except, of course, for Mr. Paul).

    That’s not saying a whole heck of a lot, though.

    Bloomberg is nowhere near as offensive as, say, Tom Tancredo, but just because he supports marijuana decriminalization doesn’t mean his nanny statism on other things should be overlooked. I am, however, surprised by his pro-pot point-of-view.

    Oh, and TLB, those were rather piss-poor straw men posts. But I should expect as much from a Little Green Footballs fan.

  12. Why would you assume that if Bloomberg were President he’d advocate the same “nannyish” policies for the country as a whole that he advocates for New York City?

    Why wouldn’t he?

  13. My guess is that he’d govern on national issues, not freaking smoking bans and fast food.

    These strike me as perfect Clintonesque “we care about the children” issues, easily sucked up to the Total State through the threat of funding withdrawal.

  14. My guess is that he’d govern on national issues, not freaking smoking bans and fast food.

    “National” issues. You mean like restricting the morning after pill because it encourages sex?

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