Well, some people say he's running for governor of New York as a
Republican. This would be hard for the Empire State G.O.P. to
swallow. After all, a few months ago Bloomberg actually quit the
Republican Party -- maybe because he was serious thinking about throwing
himself into the fight for the Democratic presidential nomination. Other
folk speculate that he'd prefer to fight Eliot Spitzer for the State
House within the parameters of the Democratic Party.
Why is Bloomberg so fungible? Maybe because he has $10 or even $15 billion
to his name. He could finance any campaign in which he was himself a
candidate, including a race for the vice presidency.
In a speculative but shrewd column in Sunday's New York Post, John
Avlon argues that, "The likely nominees John McCain and Barack Obama both
have compelling reasons to consider Bloomberg for veep -- as well as
considerable risk to their reputations as reformers." The compelling
reasons are not just financial. But how would it sit with the American
people if the second candidate were to open his ticket to the charge that
the election was being literally bought by him?
But Bloomberg has other liabilities. If he is the Republican nominee,
McCain will not be able to calm those in his party who are, to say the
least, ambivalent about him and deeply doubt his conservatism.
If Obama chooses Bloomberg, would the fact that the mayor of New York is
also Jewish not make the ticket seem dangerously alien to many
Americans? A black man and a Jew. That would be crossing not one but two