Wednesday, June 20, 2007

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How should I feel about Bloomberg in 2008?

So Michael Bloomberg has left the GOP, and is enticing media hordes about the prospect of a 2008 campaign (though Howard Kurtz dissents). He's the Time "action hero" of the week.

Should I be interested in him? Matt Yglesias thinks so:

From a Reason magazine perspective, it seems to me that a Bloomberg Administration is likely to be substantially more libertarian than either a Democratic or a Republican one would be. Bloomberg, however, is specifically identified with a brand of trivial nanny-stating -- indoor smoking ban, trans fat ban -- that seems to be to aggravate libertarians in a manner that's out of proportion to the actual significance of the policy issues.
Over at Lawyers, Guns & Money, Scott Lemieux advises libertarians to be cautious: "there is a serious reason libertarians should be skeptical of Bloomberg: the appalling string of arbitrary detentions with no serious justification during the 2004 GOP convention."

What do you think?

posted by Dan on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM


Its interesting how liberals like Yglesias suddenly becomes interested in the desires of libertarians. Perhaps it has something to do with a certain party preparing to field a candidate that 45-50% of the public already say they will definitely not vote for?

posted by: PD Shaw on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

I think it would be great to have an independent elected, even if it he was moderately liberal. Getting certain appointments and other presidential duties out of the hands of either party would be a welcomed breath of fresh air (to the extent that it would really happen).

Plus, he can't possibly be any more of a nanny than the Democrats or many of the Republicans.

posted by: Jake on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

How should you feel about Bloomberg? Depends on how you feel about having a Democrat, possibly Clinton, elected president. Because that's the likely outcome of a Bloomberg candidacy.

posted by: KenS on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

How should you feel about Bloomberg? Depends on how you feel about having a Democrat, possibly Clinton, elected president. Because that's the likely outcome of a Bloomberg candidacy.

I was thinking of him as a Ralph Nader. Bloomberg is a temporary guest worker Republican, having entered the party just for the sake of running for NYC mayor. Everyone knows he's really a Democrat. How does he pull GOP votes?

posted by: Alan K. Henderson on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Not for nothing, but Michael Bloomberg has said publicly that he has no plans to run for President and intends to remain Mayor of New York City for the remaining 930-odd days in his term.

This means either that he is not running for President, or that he is lying through his teeth. I'd think the latter would be a poor way to begin a Presidential candidacy, though the media don't seem to mind being lied to in this way by potential candidates teasing a good story and I admit to being a little old-fashioned about these things.

posted by: Zathras on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Bloomberg is more likely to hurt Hillary than a Republican candidate.

Bloomberg is a lifelong Democrat except for his RINO stint as mayor of New York, and his policies and ideas are more likely to siphon off people from the left rather than the right. No one takes him seriously as a Republican.

If Giuliani is the Republican nominee, that will really hurt Hillary, and put the entire state of New York with all those juicy delegates into play, and possibly into the Republican camp for once.

posted by: Ken McCracken on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Boomberg, if he chooses to run will pull people from both sides. While he was a lifelong democrat until he ran for mayor, his overall views put him smack in the middle. A lot of people in New York City, even some conservatives are registered democrats since (outside of Staten Island) whoever wins the democratic primary has the election won for most local elections. I know because I live in NYC, and I have a number of friends who do this.

As for libertarians voting for Bloomberg, he is no more or less an overall libertarian than any of the serious potential democrat or republican candidates. He might be libertarian on different issues, but that is it. I have no clue why Matt Yglesias thinks he would be more libetarian.

posted by: ZH on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

For what it's worth, Survey USA polled a three-way race in a bunch of states. The results are at

Unfortunately, they didn't present the results in a way that would let you determine who Bloomberg draws from.

In New York, Clinton wins a Clinton-Giuliani-Bloomberg race by huge margins: 49-32-15.

posted by: KenS on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

How are we figuring Bloomberg is going to pull votes from the GOP? If this happens at all it will be in states The GOP has no chance in anyway as the Rockefeller Republicans might go Bloomberg's way. He's certainly not going to pull GOP voters on social issues. I have to admit I've never heard Bloomberg referred to as a libertarian before? How so? The man comes up with a new crusade every other day to save the lives of New Yorkers with unhealthy habits. The only part of the GOP Bloomberg has a chance with are the Wall St. set. But his status as a tax raiser is likely to mute that advantage. So, no, I don't see a Bloomberg candidacy helping the Democrat. The only reason we're having this discussion is because he had an "R" next to his name for the last 6 years. But don't be fooled, he's the dictionary definition of a RINO.

And what's with his schtick about a post-partisan, non-ideological platform? He's as ideological as any other politician. He is a fervently anti-gun, pro-gay rights, government interventionist. And Al Sharpton backed him in the election twice!! I hear Bloomberg is a very nice man. I used to work for his company after he had become mayor and ceased running it day-to-day, and everyone who worked there when he was still running it had nothing but nice things to say about the guy. But a Republican he is not!

posted by: Dan on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Getting advice from Matthew Yglesias about how to be libertarian is like getting advice from Ali Sistani about how to be Jewish. Why would anyone listen to that? Bloomberg is a nanny-stater and a tax-raiser; his modus operandi as mayor has been to buy off special interests with tax dollars.

posted by: y81 on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

I presume Yglesias was saying that Pres. Bloomberg would be "more libertarian" than either a Democratic or Republican president because (A) he does plan to run somewhat to the Right of the Democrat on economic issues (otherwise he'd be emulating John Lindsay and jumping to the Dems before running for their party's Presidential nomination); and (B) he would sure as hell be less likely than the Republican to try appealing to Christian fundamentalism where social laws are concerned.

As for who he'd bleed more votes off of: beats me. The polls I've seen on Ross Perot -- and the one poll I've ever seen on this subject regarding John Anderson -- indicate that they both ended up bleeding votes about equally off both major parties; I suspect Bloomberg might also end up doing so. But Survey USA's poll of 29 states today indicates clearly that, right now, his 10% of the vote would come mostly out of the Republican's hide and tilt the Electoral College Democratic by a landslide (which meshes well with the fact that Republican voters are a lot less happy with their own party's current crop of Presidential candidates than Democratic voters are).

As for Giuliani in a plain 2-man race: repeated polls of NY State show Hillary pasting him there, and Edwards and Obama probably beating him but by reduced margins. But Quinnipiac shows him displaying strength very unusual for a GOP nominee in neighboring New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Connecticut.

posted by: Bruce Moomaw on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Any polls that show Edwards beating anybody gives me reason to doubt its findings. Hillary and Obama I can believe, but Edwards is finished - which is paltry fundraising will make clear.

As for Bloomberg. He's not jumping to the Dems b/c that's not how he works. He looks for the least crowded field to make the most use of his money. This meant becoming a Republican in 2000, and it means being an independent in a year where both sides have 3-4 major candidates. It means nothing about how he's going to run.

And I still don't see Bloomberg doing much damage to the GOP. The only reason we're having this debate is b/c he moved to the Republican Party in 2000 for expediency. So now we associate him as a Republican even though he in no way governed like one. If he had never made that change, we would all realize he never stopped being a Democrat.

posted by: Dan on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

Ah, but Bloomberg has to at least LOOK as though he's different from the Democrat in the general election. John Anderson was able to pull this off in 1980 merely by promising (in some mostly unspecified way) to be more competent than Carter, since the incompetence of the latter had by then become excruciatingly apparent -- but Bloomberg won't be able to beat the Democratic nominee this time with that stick. He'll have to find some other way of distingushing himself from the Democrat, especially during the debates.

As for Edwards: a long series of polls have shown that Americans regard him as being distinctly less liberal then either Hillary or Obama -- which explains why he runs either as strong as they do, or several percent stronger, in every general-election poll so far.

posted by: Bruce Moomaw on 06.20.07 at 01:59 PM [permalink]

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