June 20, 2007

Mayor Mike Goes "Independent"

Mega-billionaire NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg has formally ended his affiliation with the Republican party. That's two affiliation jumps in six years.

Bloomberg - a long-time Democrat - registered for the first time as a Republican in 2001 to run for Mayor to succeed Rudy Giuliani. Well, this was a no-brainer. The Dem field was crowded and the GOP had no candidates. Bloomberg saw his opportunity and he took it. Giuliani even endorsed him, which no doubt went a long way in helping get him elected.

NYC Mayors are term-limited. In the middle of his second term, Bloomberg no longer needs the (R) next to his name - and the party support, money and organization that comes with it. He's gotten what use out of it that he needed. I say, good riddance. If he had any integrity to begin with he would have run in 2001 as an independent in the first place.

But look out, now we have the rumblings of a third party independent candidacy in Mike Bloomberg! Now we hear the Ross Perot comparisons. The media is jumping up and down that this could throw the 2008 Presidential election to Hillary...er, I mean, the Democrat candidate.

OK, let's consider this scenario. Who exactly would Bloomberg appeal to?

Let's start with the Republican base. In 1992, massive GOP voter defections to Perot siphoned off plenty of votes from George H. W. Bush. Advantage: Bubba. Well, at that time it was "the economy, stupid". And Republican voters felt betrayed by Bush's breaking his "no new taxes" pledge. Perot - as nutty as he was - offered a viable alternative. At the very least, voters knew that a message would be sent to the President and the RNC: don't screw with us.

For Bloomberg, there is no such appeal. Yes, many GOP voters have soured on Bush II. But the current field - Giuliani, Romney, Thompson and McCain - are not running as continuations of the Bush Administration. They are the alternatives, and the base will choose one accordingly.

Then there are the Independents, the "moderate" swing voters. OK, moderate swing voters are just that - moderate. They may lean one way or the other but they tend to dislike what they see as extreme Right or Left. Bloomberg's record is one of a Nanny-State Liberal. He loves to raise taxes, increase the size of government and tell you how to live your lives. This guy has all but outlawed cigarettes in NYC. Even you particularly detest smoking, you have to admit that his approach is an overreach and a gross infringement on personal liberties. Oh, and did I mention he's a big supporter of the Kelo Supreme Court decision that OKs an expanded eminent domain policy - the seizing of your private property for commercial ventures?

Moderates can be courted with the touchy-feeling rhetoric of government freebies (which, of course, are never free) like universal health care but conversely they are repelled by a bigger, more controlling government. What's more, Perot did have some kind of weird personal appeal about him. He was quirky and unconventional. You got the feeling that he wanted to be President to change things, to make a difference. He was genuine and that at least offset his odd qualities. For all his flaws, Perot excited some people. This was the fertilizer that nourished his grass roots.

Bloomberg is another rich white guy with a nasally voice and a bland personality. He's a knee-jerk Northeastern Liberal who's track record is one of a political opportunist. In what Red State could Bloomberg pull enough votes away from the Republican to swing it Blue? Seriously?

"Hey, I'm as exciting as the next guy. Did you know that I have a rubber band collection? It's really cool. You have no idea how many different kinds of rubber bands there are in the world. In fact, let me tell you about some of them...Hey, wait a minute! Is that trans-fat you're eating? Hand it over, bud!"

And lastly, there's the Democrat base. More particularly, let's look at the nutroots. They don't completely control that party yet but they are a huge influence. They're motivated. These people make it a point to attend anti-war rallies even in the rain or when there are only a dozen other people who showed up. There's no apathy among these folks. And they seem to get off on "moral victories" as much as (if not more than) they do real electoral ones.

And they're not especially happy with the current crop of candidates. Why? Because none of them have become the de facto "anti-war" candidate. Hillary tries to have it both ways. Obama seems non-committal. And Edwards plays around with the nutroots on this issue but falls short of being the firebrand that the Left is looking for. Convinced that the rest of the country is as bound and determined to lose in Iraq as they are, most believe that a true "bring them home NOW!" candidate is just what this country needs.

If Bloomberg doesn't give them that, they'll pretty much ignore him.

However. If Bloomberg is smart, he will offer them just that: the ultimate anti-war candidate. He has no history of voting for the war or advocating the mission. So he can't be accused of flip-flopping. He's certainly more comfortable advocating Liberal positions in general. And just as GOP voters were prepared to send Bush I a message in 1992, the base of the Democratic party at the very least could use the threat of defection to Bloomberg as the ultimate weapon to move their nominee as far Left as they want. It'd be the same message, too: don't screw with us.

Sadly, though. As interesting as this last scenario is, it's probably unlikely.

All in all, the timing is not great for a third party candidate right now. The impact, if any, of a Bloomberg independent bid will most likely be minor.

But, Mike. If you're reading this, consider that last scenario. You have the money. What you need is a strong, committed, and enthusiastic grassroots campaign. Your best option is probably the nutroots. They're there for the taking. Just pay them some attention and say what they want to hear and they'll be happy to follow you over a cliff. Just a suggestion.

Yips! from Robbo:

Nanny Bloomberg.jpg
(Image courtesy of this coo-el sign generator site.)

The guys as MSNBC's "Firstread" sees this as a boon to Dems. Jonah Goldberg, not so much. And an NRO reader responds.

Posted by Gary at June 20, 2007 10:04 AM | TrackBack

Nanny Bloomber. I like it.
He also pushed for a ban on transfats:

Nanny Bloomber '08 -
Take your cod liver oil, America

Posted by: rbj at June 20, 2007 10:55 AM

Who is likely to lose voters in a three-way race where the independant is a liberal? Answer: the Democratic candidate. Ralph Nader, anyone? Bueller?

Posted by: LMC at June 20, 2007 11:02 AM

Excellent post.

Bloomberg spent $150-$200 milion on 2 mayor races. The second one he had no chance of losing.

If he spends $200 milion on the race, he'll have to get a few votes. No libertarian or conservative would vote for him so all those votes come from Hilary. May not tip the election but helps the GOPer in Florida, NY Wisconsin and New Jersey.

If Rudy gets the GOP nod, 3 New Yorkers (Yes, I know about Hillary's background) running for president. Has that ever happened?

Posted by: Bob from Ohio at June 20, 2007 11:35 AM

I hope Mayor Mike runs, and Ralph Nader too. The Democrat vote will be split so many ways, Fred will be a shoo-in...

Posted by: kmr at June 20, 2007 05:23 PM

California NonPartisan Initiative Introduction
California’s General Election, November 2008,

NonPartisan Independent candidates
CA Assembly, CA Senate, US Representative and even President candidate(s)

On May 14, 2007 California Attorney General website listed the Initiative Measure to achieve this goal.
http://ag.ca.gov/initiatives/activeindex.php?active=A Select: # 07-0019

SECTION 1. Title This Initiative Measure shall be known and may be cited as the:
“California NonPartisan Candidate Qualification Act”
SECTION 2. Findings
The people of the state of California do hereby declare their no confidence frustration with (1) partisan political malfeasance and (2) duopoly polarized partisan political party failure to produce desirable visionary candidates of viable eclectic-pragmatic leadership competence.
SECTION 3. Purpose
This California statute disenfranchises or eliminates existing multiple incongruent Election Code procedures of Signatures-in-Lieu, Nomination Signatures and Write-in Candidate Qualification Signatures for nonpartisan General Election candidates, and, creates a new aligned signature gathering process for state wide and district nonpartisan candidates, including a default write-in candidate qualification means.

The whitepaper introduction is at: www.NonPartisanPatriot.com

We invite your interest in this Initiative Measure. Attorney General Jerry Brown will release the official Title and Summary in 25 to 30 days. The official press release will include who is our "Charlton Heston" media spokesperson.

Our email address is: Independent@NonPartisanPatriot.com

Your interest is sincerely requested as your participation is critical!


Connor Vlakancic, Advocate, CAO
California NonPartisan Independent Committee 501(c)4
Contact at: 202-558-7077

Posted by: Connor Vlakancic at June 21, 2007 09:03 PM