Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Decision '08 — Rick Moran @ 6:45 am

Why do the fabulously rich think they have insight into the problems of the world that the rest of us mere mortals lack?

Ross Perot, Donald Trump, Steve Forbes, the Rockefellers, the DuPonts - all have either run for President or have been mentioned prominently as a possible candidate for the office. The fact that none of them have come close isn’t the point (Nelson Rockefeller perhaps had the best chance but was destroyed by Barry Goldwater in ‘64). The problem is we have to sit and listen to their hectoring lectures about how if only we put a real business executive in charge of the government, our problems would be solved in a jiffy. After all, these are people who’ve made a gazillion dollars (or their fathers, grandfathers, or great grandfathers made the family fortune) and think that their no-nonsense, unflappable executive style leadership personae is just the thing to whip this country into shape.

The latest entry into this most exclusive club of American aristocrats to believe he has what it takes to govern well and wisely is former Democrat, now former Republican, declared “independent” (whatever that means), and still Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg. Back in 2001, Bloomberg didn’t think he had a shot at the Democratic party’s nomination for Mayor so he did what all rich people do when confronted with a roadblock; he altered the playing field by shamelessly switching parties and running as a Republican. Spreading $73 million around of his own money, Bloomberg was barely able to beat liberal gadfly Mark Green in the general election.

Re-elected in 2005, Bloomberg set his sights on the Presidency. His name has floated around as a possible candidate in Republican circles for years, although he was significantly overshadowed by two other Republicans in the state - Rudy Giuliani and Governor George Pataki.

What’s a poor little rich boy to do? Since the party was not going to come to him, Bloomberg decided the only way he could experience the thrill of having pundits and political insiders take him seriously as a national candidate would be to leave the party system behind and strike out as an independent:

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced Tuesday that he was dropping his Republican affiliation, a step that could clear the way for him to make an independent bid for the presidency.

The announcement was released during a campaign-style swing through California, during which Mr. Bloomberg, 65, a billionaire businessman, used increasingly sharp language to criticize both parties in Washington as too timid to take on big problems and too locked into petty squabbling to work together.

“I believe this brings my affiliation into alignment with how I have led and will continue to lead my city,” Mr. Bloomberg’s statement read. “Any successful elected executive knows that real results are more important than partisan battles, and that good ideas should take precedence over rigid adherence to any particular political ideology.”

One assumes that if elected, Mr. Bloomberg would not be “too timid to take on big problems.” That very well might be the case. But he can be as bold as brass and still not get anything done. That’s because there’s a very good reason politicians are too timid to take on the “big problems.”

Trying to solve the nation’s problems always means getting some of the voters mad at you. Not everyone will be convinced that your brilliant solutions to Iraq, the deficit, entitlement programs, social security, Medicare, homeland security, and terrorism are the way to proceed. Many citizens (and perhaps even some lawmakers), in fact, may well wish to hang you in effigy and call you nasty names. And without some kind of party apparatus to whip House and Senate members into line, you have about as much chance of passing any of your heartfelt, carefully thought out solutions to our problems as Paris Hilton has of emerging from jail with her hair shorn, wearing sack cloth and ashes, and chanting the Confiteor - in Latin.

Politicians are not going to stick their neck out for a President Bloomberg just because he’s sincere and has solutions that make sense. He could be the greatest communicator since Reagan (he’s a bore as a speaker) and still fail miserably. Bloomberg can’t be unaware of this which makes his desire to run sheer vanity. As a mutli billionaire (he’s ranked 44th wealthiest man in the world), a hundred million of his own money spent on a Presidential run would give him instant credibility - at least in the eyes of the media. But if he got more than 5% in the general election, I would be shocked.

Having the golden touch at making money and governing the United States of America represent two different skill sets. Why we would think that someone successful in business would be able to translate that skill into being able to deal with al-Qaeda? Or reform entitlements? It won’t wash with the voters. It never has.

If Bloomberg were to give in to the temptation and run for President, who would he potentially hurt more? Conventional wisdom has him taking votes away from the Democratic presidential candidate due to his more liberal views on social issues like abortion and gay marriage. But what happens if Rudy Giuliani receives the Republican nomination? Then all bets are off and both parties would scramble like hell to keep Bloomberg off the ballot in as many states as possible. Why take the chance that Bloomberg will siphon votes away from your candidate?

Just how much would Bloomberg be willing to spend of his own fortune in this vanity run? His legal bills are going to be astronomical as he fights to get his name on as many state ballots as possible. Couple that with spending on paid media, staff, campaign travel, and the number he may be looking at will be approaching $150 million or more. If he goes ahead and takes the plunge, it could end up being the most expensive indulgence ever embraced by a vainglorious aristocrat yet.

J.P. Morgan or Andrew Carnegie would never have spent that much. They considered the Presidency a step down. What does that say about today’s robber barons?


  1. Mr Bloomberg may be worth around 13 billion, but he is also mayor of one of America’s largest cities, some call it the real capital, and he’s done a heckuva job. And he’s done it without getting blood all over the carpet like the sainted Rudy. The fact is Bloomberg would be an outstanding candidate for the presidency.

    Comment by John — 6/20/2007 @ 8:22 am

  2. A Bloomberg run may aid Thompson in the primaries, as the GOP will see Bloomberg as stripping Giuliani of independent votes in the general. I also can’t see the GOP nominating Giulini when the other 2 major candidates are New Yorkers. Like Perot, Bloomberg can’t win. So the question becomes- will he peel independent/moderate voters from the Dems or the GOP? If Giulini is the GOP nominee, the answer is obvious- Hillary will benefit- Giuliani and Bloomberg will be competing for the same voters. Less certain is the effect on Thompson. My sense is that Bloomberg hurts Hillary more than Fred because Thompson’s base, the South- isn’t Bloomberg country. Unlike her husband in 1992, Hillary lacks Bill’s ability to succeed in Dixie. Interesting stuff.

    Comment by kreiz — 6/20/2007 @ 8:25 am

  3. Then all bets are off and both parties would scramble like hell to keep Bloomberg off the ballot in as many states as possible. Why take the chance that Bloomberg will siphon votes away from your candidate?

    Which is exactly the problem. High office was not intended to be the exclusive domain of a two-party duopoly. The fact that the only non-party people able to marginally compete are multi-millionaires says more about the iron-fisted control of the political system by the parties than anything else.

    However, I agree that an independent President is unlikely to get much through a Congress that is inherently hostile to anyone who isn’t in the Democrat or Republican club. Of course, one would like to see independents in the House and Senate, but any such candidate that wins will be gerrymandered out of office.

    So we will likely be screwed again this election cycle with a choice between to non-candidates that will cause most Americans to choose a the lesser of two evils and not a candidate they truly support. Is it any wonder less than half of Americans even both with elections anymore? Oh wait, that’s by design!

    Comment by Andy — 6/20/2007 @ 9:21 am

  4. Bloomberg’s ‘Surprise’…

    The Mayor of New York City has abandoned the GOP! Stop the presses! This is just another poke in the eye for George W. Bush, obviously.LOS ANGELES, June 19 — Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Tuesday that he was dropping his…

    Trackback by Joust The Facts — 6/20/2007 @ 10:26 am

  5. The truth be said that Bloomberg is an unknown quantity outside of New York. His major draw are left leaning moderates, not exactly much different from Hiliary.

    The use of the term “vanity run” is spot on.

    Comment by Neo — 6/20/2007 @ 10:47 am

  6. Bloomberg is just a softer Giuliani. Neither will get my vote

    Comment by Right Wing — 6/20/2007 @ 10:51 am

  7. Bloomberg’s Folly…

    Rick Moran does a great job taking Bloomberg to the woodshed for his opportunistic leap from the GOP to independent status. He makes a good case against the aristocracy class which is constantly dabbling in political theater and making their……

    Trackback by Fapo — 6/20/2007 @ 11:36 am

  8. I just don’t see him running, given the overwhelming likelihood that he’ll spend a huge fortune to become Perot II (best case). Perot in 92 was a huge force, and still didn’t exceed 20% of the vote.

    Comment by kreiz — 6/20/2007 @ 11:36 am

  9. [...] Rich Moran discounts Bloomberg’s “vanity” campaign because politics and business are different–we do give them different names for a reason: Having the golden touch at making money and governing the United States of America represent two different skill sets. Why we would think that someone successful in business would be able to translate that skill into being able to deal with al-Qaeda? Or reform entitlements? It won’t wash with the voters. It never has. [...]

    Pingback by Bloomberg Declares His Independence » The American Mind — 6/20/2007 @ 11:52 am

  10. If a mayor of New York City running for President is a vanity run, does that include Rudy’s run as well?

    While agreeing that making robber baron money is not a prequisite for being an effective politician, it is surely as valuable as not completely tripping over yourself in a time of serious crisis, per Mayor Nagin. That is Rudy’s national claim to fame.

    Comment by ed — 6/20/2007 @ 3:29 pm

  11. I agree that:
    1) He is a better Mayor than Rudy was.
    2) He has little shot at winning as an indep.
    3) If he did somehow win he’d have a really tough time handling Congress. And that is the real shame because in my opinion both of the parties need to be gutted and that’s not going to happen unless there are some other viable parties.

    Comment by Ed T — 6/20/2007 @ 3:45 pm

  12. Giuliani’s 9/11 Trap…

    “Questions that were arguably glossed over by the 9/11 Commission, about the communications snafus that led to so many firefighters losing their lives, as well as a perceived lack of compassion for workers cleaning up Ground Zero will dog his……

    Trackback by Pajamas Media — 6/21/2007 @ 4:25 am

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