Despite all his protestations to the contrary, it appears that Mayor Michael Bloomberg is indeed planning a third-party run for the White House. The Associated Press reports that Bloomberg is poised to launch a new phase of a potential campaign, polling and collecting highly detailed data from all 50 states.
From the AP:
The exhaustive data collection quietly started months ago, and when the analysis begins shortly, it will provide the data-obsessed billionaire businessman with the information he will use to decide whether to launch a White House bid.
The scope of the research, details of which were revealed to The Associated Press, demonstrates how seriously Bloomberg is considering running for president, despite his almost-daily denials that he isn’t entering the race. The extensive coast-to-coast research effort shows that Bloomberg is willing to dig deep into his wallet simply to gauge his chances of winning and lining up the proper support network along the way.
“They want a hard-headed sense of their chances,” said Doug Schoen, who spearheaded Bloomberg’s voter database efforts, known as microtargeting, for his two mayoral campaigns.
In a column that hit newsstands today, the Voice‘s Tom Robbins predicted a Bloomberg candidacy—and took a rare critical look at what that would actually mean for the country.
It doesn’t matter that this candidacy will be a project of the utmost vanity, a billionaire’s conceit. This kind of self-indulgence of the affluent is a phenomenon that we have no choice but to get used to, like warming oceans and the ceaseless chatter on cell phones. What’s worse is that he could even win.
His candidacy was a dead certainty as soon as his picture went onto the covers of Time and Newsweek magazines, honored for accomplishments that stood out mainly because he is fabulously wealthy. Look, said the stories, rich men can do more than make fools of themselves on TV game shows: They can speak seriously about the environment, about guns that shouldn’t be sold, and about schools that don’t teach. His solutions for these ailments are only modest and of the most pedestrian variety. But he has been elected mayor of New York twice and he is hugely wealthy, so he must be taken very seriously.
For another look at a Bloomberg candidacy that also dares to defy the media’s lockstep glowing coverage of Mayor Mike’s potential presidential run, read Glenn Greenwald’s Salon column “Michael Bloomberg: Trans-partisan savior.”
Clearly, this is just exactly what our country desperately needs, what it is missing most—a neoconservative, combat-avoiding, Bush-supporting, Middle-East-warmonger who sees U.S. and Israeli interests as indistinguishable and inextricably linked, with a fetish for ever-increasing government control and surveillance, and a background as a Wall St. billionaire. We just haven’t had enough of those in our political culture. Our political system, more than anything, is missing the influence of people like that. That’s why it’s broken: not enough of those.
Greenwald also quotes Wayne Barrett’s reporting from 2005 about how Bloomberg’s flat feet kept him out of Vietnam.