Monday, December 31, 2007

Bloomberg run: Would it hurt Dems or GOP more?

It looks more and more likely New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will run for president. So, as I rhetorically asked about the “Mitt Romney” Christmas card a couple of days ago, cui bono?

I think which party benefits depends on the candidates, though, given Bloomberg’s stance on most social issues, he seems more likely to take actual or potential Democratic/Democratic-leaning independent votes than GOP ones.

If Clinton gets the Democratic nomination, even if her “divisiveness/Clinton history” negativity is overrated, it’s not non-existent, either. I think Bloomberg takes a heavy cut into her vote.

Edwards would probably be hit second-hardest, and Obama the least hard of the top three Democratic candidates.

On the GOP side, it would be hit hardest if Huckabee is nominated. Given that the non-Mayberry conservative hardcorers are already piling on Huck in National Review and elsewhere, some of them will see Bloomberg as solid enough fiscally to jump ship.

I think Romney and Giuliani are hit somewhat, and that McCain, rightly or wrongly seen as a “straight shooter,” gets hit the least.

Meanwhile, former Missouri Senator John Danforth summed up where many more moderate GOPers feel:

Danforth said he remains a Republican but finds little cause for optimism among the current GOP candidates. "My party is appealing to a real meanness," he said in an interview, "and an irresponsible sense of machismo in foreign policy. I hope it will be less extreme, but I'm an American before I'm a Republican." Danforth has also written critically about the impact of religious conservatives on the Republican Party.

Yes, John, but did you pull the lever for Shrub in 2004, or at least stay home if nothing else? And, let’s not forget that you’re the senator who foisted Clarence Thomas on us. Even if you couldn’t have seen everything about him in advance, the man showed his intellectual dishonesty in advance of his confirmation by essentially denying he’d ever been helped by affirmative action.

In addition, as Steve Benen points out at Washington Monthly, in comparing Unity ’08 to most Democratic candidates, at least, the movement’s focus on “bipartisanship” is a problem in search of a solution, as Obama, Edwards and Richardson have all pledged to have Republicans in their cabinets. (Whether such a pledge is a good idea, and whether “bipartisanship” is such a good idea, is another question entirely.

Update: Per Glenn Greenwald, the simplest characterization of Bloomberg is either as Rudy Giuliani with much more money, or a kinder, gentler, neoconservative.

That second characterization is especially apt.

Bloomberg gave blank-check support to the invasion of Iraq, on that issue, and, as far as being in the Israel lobby’s corner, gave blank-check support to Israel’s 2006 invasion of Lebanon.