Thursday, December 13, 2007

Bloomberg and the BRP
That's Buyers' Remorse Primary. The Wall Street Journal has an article this morning updating the speculation about an independent presidential campaign by Hizzoner, waged with a billion-dollar bankroll and a focus on executive experience and economic growth:

One scenario -- and the one aides are hoping for -- would be a race between fellow New Yorkers Hillary Clinton and former Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Sen. Clinton's negative rating is the highest in either party, while Mr. Giuliani's is the highest among Republicans. That match-up could make what supporters see as Mr. Bloomberg's "above the fray" image more appealing. Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Giuliani are also seen as moderate on social issues, which could mute opposition to Mr. Bloomberg from the religious right. "If the parties nominate polarizing candidates...then there's plenty of room" for Mr. Bloomberg, independent pollster John Zogby said.
The front-loaded primary season could further open the door for Mr. Bloomberg because voters may grow weary of an unusually long nine-month general election battle. "We're going to see two presumptive nominees from the two major parties in early February," Mr. Zogby said. "What are they going to do except become tiresome?"

Another scenario that could prompt a Bloomberg bid would revolve around how polls frame the nation's mood and priorities early next year. Recent polls have shown voters as more concerned about the economy and health care than Iraq. That could benefit Mr. Bloomberg, who has little foreign policy experience but has won plaudits for his management of New York's economy. "The worse the economy gets, the more the election is up for grabs," Prof. Moss said.

Most observers now think the economy is going to get quite bad indeed--"worst slump since the Depression" is the phrase that sticks in my mind, though I can't remember exactly where I read it. Bloomberg's stewardship--and, perhaps more important, his freedom from the claims of both political contributors and partisan dogma--could look very good in that scenario. Liberals can find solace in his focus on low-income housing development and outspoken rejection of tax-cutting dogma; conservatives will appreciate his record of fiscal responsibility and willingness to take on entrenched interests like the school system.

It's still a longshot that he gets in, considering that he doesn't seem to be selling Bloomberg LP, and for myself I'm now confirmed that I'd support Obama even against Bloomberg. It also seems less certain that the nominations will be secured by Feb. 5, meaning that a Buyers' Remorse Primary might not be nearly as lengthy as I'd suspected. But an opening remains, as does a Bloomberg scenario. I honestly think that in a Three-New Yorker race, he either wins outright or throws it to the House of Representatives.

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