Former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-independent who subverted New York’s term-limits law in order to give himself a third stint in Gracie Mansion, is now (again) thinking of running for president. If you really want the perfect representative of the Permanent Bipartisan Fusion Party, Mike’s your man: a politician of no fixed principles except his own personal tastes. Jennifer Rubin of the Washington Post makes the case:
In some ways, one billionaire is the perfect foil for the other billionaire. Donald Trump, even now, talks about Bloomberg with respect and acknowledges he was a good mayor. Even if we take Trump’s purported net worth to be $10 billion (most financial experts have pegged it lower), Bloomberg is more than three times richer than Trump. Since Trump worships the almighty dollar most of all, he might finally have to concede that he’s not the biggest dog in the race. (Unlike Trump, who inherited his wealth, Bloomberg did not get handed a fortune by his parents; he actually founded the company that bears his name. Unlike Trump’s holdings, no Bloomberg company went bankrupt even once, let alone more than once.)
As for the race itself, with the very real possibility the presidential choices in 2016 are Trump and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) or Trump and Hillary Clinton, Bloomberg — far from ideal for many Republicans (on guns, global warming, etc.) — would still be preferable. If one rules out the egomaniacal real-estate mogul, the socialist and the failed former secretary of state with a giant legal cloud over her head, Bloomberg would be the safe harbor.
Safe harbor from what? The pint-sized, Boston-born Bloomberg, like Trump, is a raging, micro-managing megalomaniac and a dedicated foe of the Second Amendment, who managed to keep the post-Giuliani NYC policing policies intact, but veered ever leftward in his desire to impose a Nanny State on what used to be America’s most fractiously creative city. Meanwhile, he took off for his real home in Bermuda at the drop of a hat. Ms. Rubin continues:
He is an ardent supporter of Israel, takes a conservative approach to law and order and favors school choice and anti-poverty reform. He has executive experience in the public sector (which was not marred by conflicts of interest or gross, widespread negligence). I am not arguing he is a “movement” conservative or even “very conservative.” He backs all sorts of things conservatives do not like, but the republic would not collapse. He surely is more conservative, sober, ethical and experienced than Trump, Sanders and Clinton.
Second, the GOP will have an opportunity for a reset. Republicans of good conscience can vote for Bloomberg without corrupting the party or twisting themselves into ideological pretzels. Without consigning the country to either Sanders, Clinton or Trump, Republicans can make the best of a desperate situation, gain their bearings, restructure their primary process and immediately begin work on developing legitimate 2020 contenders. In essence, Bloomberg gives them a way to reclaim their party without handing the party over to Trump or the country over to Sanders or Clinton.
Convinced yet? I didn’t think so:
Moreover, if there are three candidates, why not four? With Bloomberg drawing from the two main parties, a fourth candidate — a more conservative alternative — could be found to run on a principled platform. With four (even with three evenly matched candidates) in the race, getting to 270 electoral votes would be near impossible. The House of Representatives would then pick the president. In any event, the standard-bearer of a conservative message would be the genesis of a remodeled GOP or the start of a new party. (Nothing says the GOP has to go on indefinitely.)
On that last, parenthetical point, surely every reasonable voter can agree. But that’s about it.