Tuesday, July 11, 2006


The Third Way?

Dick Morris writes today about the possibility of a Mike Bloomberg independent presidential run:
If Mike Bloomberg runs for president as an independent, he can win. Yes, not just hurt Hillary Clinton or the Republicans, but actually win the White House.

Obviously, he has his bank account in his favor. Like Ross Perot in 1992 and 1996, he wouldn't have to convince skeptical donors that a third-party candidate could succeed for the first time in American history. He can cut short the conversation by just writing a mega check.

But he can succeed where Perot failed, because he knows how to handle himself in the public spotlight.
Another way of saying that is that Bloomberg could present himself as a "sane Perot" -- and that his experience as a big-city mayor would make him comfortable in the media spotlight.
Also unlike Perot (whose impact was to make it impossible for the first President Bush to be re-elected), Bloomberg would draw equally from each of the two main parties

The mayor's strong anti-terror credentials and practical experience at keeping New York City safe from attack would be vastly reassuring to "security mom" voters. He has kept New York safe and even improved on Guiliani's extraordinarily low crime statistics. He has shown himself able to resist pressures for spending and taxes while keeping his budget balanced - and he's a strong advocate of charter schools and educational standards. All good Republican positions.

Democrats, meanwhile, would find his pro-choice, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights, pro-affirmative action positions very attractive. His pro-city focus could attract large Democratic support, and he'd probably bring into his column the bluest of blue states - New York.
Morris is only right in part in the attractiveness of Bloomberg's message. On social issues, Bloomberg would be clearly drawing from the left.

Of course, in a three-way race, a candidate would only have to get 34-38 percent of the vote to win all the electoral votes in a given state. Bloomberg -- running as a managerial, tough-on-terror liberal pseudo-Democrat -- could start with the blue states as his natural base. He would then figure that his money and his message could make afford him at least a third of the vote in Florida. His pro-immigration message could put New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado in play. Ohio would not be out of his reach either.

What this means is two things: 1) It's not out of the realm of possibility that Bloomberg could be competitive at the national level; 2) Even if he didn't win, his candidacy could spell complete disaster for the Democrats nationally.

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