Michael Bloomberg was a very good mayor of New York City. He might even get a bridge named after him. He took the reigns from Rudy Giuliani, the greatest mayor in the history of cities, and kept Gotham on the right track. Without Michael Bloomberg, the Brooklyn Nets likely would not exist, and so for that alone I owe him gratitude. But let’s be real for a New York minute, the number of people who want Bloomy to be president of the United States can probably be counted on no hands.
Bloomberg is an effective manager. If he were your boss, you’d feel very comfortable about the future of your company and position, but you would also be vexed by the fact that the soda machine in your office only carried V8 and pomegranate juice. Bloomberg’s political style, which emerged and evolved over his three terms as mayor is basically, “I’m a billionaire, I dated Diana Ross, and I’m going to tell you what you can and cannot do.”
Michael Bloomberg was once a Republican. Following in the footsteps of Rudy Can’t Fail, he secured a third straight term of GOP leadership in Gotham. The city was hopping. It was like “Mad Men” and “Sex in the City” out on a hot date. He helped carry us past 9/11 into a mid 2000s of decadent debauchery and Brooklyn high-rises. And then he became an independent. An independent.
Now Mike wants to be a Democrat or maybe just team up with Justin Amash and do a national, “I’m morally superior to you” stadium tour. Bloomberg is the answer to a question nobody is asking. I get it, some mythical, nameless Democrat donors are queasy about Elizabeth Warren and her little red Medicare for all plan. Don’t be surprised if one of those donors is named Michael Bloomberg.
But let’s be frank. All the gold in Fort Knox could not get Michael Bloomberg elected president. There is a simple reason for this, the man’s entire raison d’etre is an anti-fun agenda that slowly sucks the joy out of life and replaces it with cogs turning wheels in the factory of progress. Nobody wants that. Running the country through the deflavorizing machine, as Woody Allen once put it, is not a winning message.
But one thing to know about Michael Bloomberg is that he isn’t dumb. He knows he’s more likely to be elected pope than president, but he knows what he’s doing. Now that gun-grabbing, pretty boy Beto is out of the race, there is nobody running in the repeal the Second Amendment lane. That’s where Mike comes in. Bloomberg 2020: Strong Fiscal Management and Gun Confiscation.
As I wrote back in 2016 when Trump was elected, New York City is now the center of federal power; D.C. is more like the lake house. But regardless of what Frank Sinatra says, making it here does not mean you can make it anywhere. Michael Bloomberg has a solid legacy, and he’s a better retail politician than most people outside New York would know. But he is completely ill-suited to the current political moment.
There may be some significant segment of the Democratic voting base that says, give me the safest hand at the rudder even if it constricts my freedom. But all the current candidates fit that bill. The Republican Michael Bloomberg of 2002 would be a compelling and potentially significant entry into the 2020 Democratic primary. The “Hey, I’m a Democrat!” Michael Bloomberg of 2019, not so much.
You kind of have to feel bad for the Democratic primary. It dutifully holds its town halls and debates, but the other network has the Game of Thrones impeachment inquiry that sucks up all the ratings. A very special episode with Michael Bloomberg isn’t going to change that.
The frustrating thing about Bloomberg is that he really is an effective leader and manager. He did some wonderful things in the Earth’s capital. But his Fran Drescher nanny routine has become his lock, stock, and trade. And no reasonable conservative or even moderate can trust him.
The American people are up for a fight. It’s the electoral equivalent of Daniel Day-Lewis and Liam Neeson at the top of “Gangs of New York.” Bloomberg’s wet blanket “lets be calm and calculated” shtick is the last thing anybody wants. Michael Bloomberg is a good and decent man, was a great mayor, an out-of-sight businessman, but that’s not what the people want right now. The people want fighters. Bloomberg is a nice guy, and as the saying goes, we know where they finish.