Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Why Bloomberg Matters

New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is worth $5.5 billion according to Forbes online--more than enough to, say, finance a presidential election bid. Now I know that Mayor Bloomberg has consistently denied rumors that he'll seek the Oval Office as a third party candidate, but you have to admit that leaving the Republican party--as he announced last week--doesn't do a whole lot to quiet political pundits.

According to Forbes, Bloomberg spent $85 million in his 2005 mayoral race, about nine times more than his opponent. $85 million is a lot of money for the title of mayor. I haven't a doubt that Bloomberg might drop that $.5 billion--or roughly $500 million--tacked onto the end of his net worth in a presidential run. (Though it would drop him about 20 places on that coveted World Billions list.)

Win or lose, Michael Bloomberg would change the political landscape if he entered the 2008 race. Regardless of where one sits on the political spectrum, it's easy to see that the two-party system isn't working so well right now. According to a recent CNN/Opinions Research Corp. Poll, Al Gore is polling at 16 percent in the Democratic field, but he isn't even running. On the Republican side, more of the same: Fred Thompson is polling at 19 percent, sitting almost within the margin of error or Rudy Giuliani, the party's front runner.

Bloomberg could be the first viable candidate since the beginning of the modern two-party system. Pundits have discussed the possibility of Chuck Hagel, the Republican senator from Nebraska, joining forces with Bloomberg. While the Editorial Board has had a bit of fun at the name (Bloomberg-Hagel sounds a bit like a communicable disease), this duo's strengths might be infectious (I apologize for the pun). While the other candidates squabble over who would do a better job at running Washington, these two have no arguing to do: Together they'd already be a ticket just waiting for election day.

And that might be the sort of unity Americans are looking for.

No comments: