Bold prediction: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not be our next president.
Richard Cohen has a column in today’s Washington Post speculating that the billionaire “might” run, and he bases this on some groundbreaking investigative reporting:
I say “might” because Bloomberg has gone from the firm “no” he offered me some months ago to a more intriguing “I’m considering it” that he offered someone I talked with recently. Indeed, among this city’s moneyed, journalistic (not, alas, the same thing), entertainment, financial and other sorts of elites, there are always one or two at the table who say, with great solemnity, that they happen to know Bloomberg will indeed run for president as an independent. Knowing my duty, I called the Bloomberg people and asked if that is the case. By press time, as they say in the movies, I had yet to hear back. I take that as a wobbly affirmation.
It’s difficult to think of a candidate that would have less appeal to anyone than Bloomberg. He’s a tax-raising lifelong liberal Democrat, which would mean he could forget conservative votes, and having governed as mayor with an R next to his name would turn-off many Democrats. His crusades against smoking and trans fats won’t endear him to any libertarian voters either.
Cohen argues that Bloomberg could do better than Ross Perot did in 1992 because he’s richer than Perot and “sane” rather than “deranged.” But there’s a huge difference between 1992 and 2008, and that’s national security. Bloomberg has absolutely nothing to offer on that issue whatsoever.
Bloomberg is a gambler, Cohen says, which means he may just be willing to bet a half a billion of his fortune on a longshot presidential run, just like he spent $74 million and $84 million in his 2001 and 2005 runs for mayor. But clearly, running for mayor cost much less money and offered a far greater chance for success than a bid for the presidency. He may be a gambler, but he’s also a businessman.