Broder’s Man

Yesterday’s David Broder column was the one everybody was expecting on Michael Bloomberg’s potential candidacy. In it, he proves that once you rise to prominence in punditry, you get to make all sorts of silly arguments without backing them up with the smallest drop of empirical evidence, or logic. I think this one paragraph captures better than any other the flawed reasoning that is fueling media euphoria over the prospect of Bloomberg jumping in the ring:

Early polls show that Bloomberg would start out well behind Clinton and Giuliani in a three-way race. Nonetheless, there is plenty of room for Bloomberg in the picture. Polls consistently show that large numbers of Americans — close to a majority — are unwilling to consider Clinton for president, and Giuliani is painful medicine for many Republicans to swallow.

Now, presumably, the Republicans who consider Giuliani “painful medicine” are social conservatives who find Rudy too liberal on too many issues that are important to them. Why on earth would they vote for Bloomberg, who is not only liberal on social issues, but also a tax hiker who is a question mark on foreign policy? It makes no sense. Broder evidently thinks that the mere existence of voters who are dissatisfied with the current two frontrunners means that Bloomberg has a chance to capitalize, but he doesn’t offer any argument for what Bloomberg would offer these constituencies other than being called an “independent.”