Covering the Front and Back Pages of the Newspaper
February 28, 2008
POLITICS: Bloomberg Says He Is Out
Mike Bloomberg, the socially liberal and otherwise centrist Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent Mayor of New York, has announced in an op-ed for tomorrow's NY Times that he is not running for President:
I am not - and will not be - a candidate for president. ...
Sounds to me like he's probably more open to backing McCain, who goes beyond rhetorical nods and has actually worked to buck his party's orthodoxy more than I or other conservative Republicans would like; Obama may be a "unity" candidate in his rhetoric, but few things are less descriptive of Barack Obama than "practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy."
That impression is underlined by some of Bloomberg's specific examples:
WATCHING the 2008 presidential campaign, you sometimes get the feeling that the candidates - smart, all of them - must know better. They must know we can't fix our economy and create jobs by isolating America from global trade. They must know that we can't fix our immigration problems with border security alone. They must know that we can't fix our schools without holding teachers, principals and parents accountable for results. They must know that fighting global warming is not a costless challenge. And they must know that we can't keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals unless we crack down on the black market for them.
While there are shots there at both sides, Obama more than McCain is the candidate who seems lacking in understanding of these basics. Now it's true that Obama is less of a visibly hard-edged partisan than Hillary, so just as with the rise of McCain on the GOP side began puncturing Bloomberg's case for arguing that the two sides were locked hopelessly in their partisan ruts, it's not surprising to read this:
Aides and associates had said in recent days that Illinois Sen. Barack Obama's rise in the Democratic contest against New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton was increasingly diminishing the chance that Bloomberg would run.
Personally, I never thought that Bloomberg would wound McCain half as much as the Democrats, especially if the race is against Obama rather than Hillary (who personally repulses a fair number of natural Democrats who might otherwise cross to McCain) so this isn't all that consequential news after all. And it's not like a Bloomberg endorsement would carry much weight, although in combination with Schwarzenegger and Joe Liberman, it would give McCain a real patina of reaching the middle. But the most important news here is simply that Bloomberg's vast fortune won't be inserted into the race.