No Bloomberg in 2012

Hyper-popular mayor Michael Bloomberg (?-NY), dismisses idle speculation about his potential presidential ambitions:

No way, no how.

Remarkably, this probably won’t quiet chatter about the mayor: Bloomberg’s popularity, fortune, and generic leftward leanings make him the type of candidate that could, were he so inclined, mount something approximating a successful third-party challenge to the sitting president. And that, no matter how unlikely, is the stuff pundit dreams are made of.

For myself, though, engaging momentarily in this unlikely hypothetical, I question the mayor’s chances. Bloomberg is the rare liberal who states his positions boldly, and without hesitation. You just love banning unhealthy products, don’t you?, teased NPR’s Peter Sagal. Ask the audience if they like having three years added to their life expectancy, replied the ecstatic Mayor. This sentiment, and the intellectual courage underlying it, are both sorely lacking in the Obama administration, but we can reasonably question whether it would play outside of New York City. Similarly, the bizarre self-triangulation that Bloomberg has perfected during his two and a half terms in office works for the City, but it doesn’t make sense in a country where Republicans are not just more prominent, but consistently command more attention than their prominence (and their non-existent platform) deserves.

Conventional wisdom holds that the successful statesman should advance. A popular state representative becomes  a popular governor becomes a popular president. But competencies don’t always translate like that (just ask Sarah Palin). Bloomberg is a fantastic mayor, because he understands his city, and has spent a lifetime making it work for him. Could he do the same for the country? Probably, but not without a non-trivial learning curve. The mayoralty was made for Bloomberg, and him for it. When he’s finished his work here, we should let this Cincinnatus return to his palatial estate.

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6 comments

  1. “Bloomberg is a fantastic mayor, because he understands his city, and has spent a lifetime making it work for him. Could he do the same for the country? Probably, but not without a non-trivial learning curve.”

    Seriously? You helped elect a President with no private industry experience, no executive experience, only 2 years into his first national office. You were clearly not troubled by any sort of ‘learnign curve’ in 2008 and to pretend it would matter to you in 2012 is just ludicrous.

  2. Haha, that old canard? Boring. He’s a smart guy and that’s what matters; and I humbly submit that he’s not an outlier among most first-term presidents. Contrast with W, who had private experience but failed at everything he ever did in that sector.

    And I wasn’t saying Bloomberg wouldn’t be qualified! I was saying the particular skills that make him an exceptional mayor wouldn’t translate with ease. You’re answering an argument I never made.

    1. But what I am saying is why even mention it? Certainly he has infinitely more executive experience that your smart but completely inexperienced President. You all decided experience wasn’t important in 2008 so it’s a silly point to make about Bloomberg.

  3. It was quite interesting that Bloomberg actually said something along the lines of “no way – I love my job, and I’ll stay on the remaining time of my term.” That term ends in November 2013, which would be an excellent time to start prepare for a run in the 2016 election. Granted, he’ll be around 70 then, but… well, Reagan.

    1. A 3rd party run is do-able but he may want to wait for the populist anger to peak. The question is whether that will be in 2012 or 2016.

  4. A 3rd party run is do-able but he may want to wait for the populist anger to peak. The question is whether that will be in 2012 or 2016.

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