Political Insider speculates that it could be $1 billion. Personally, I think it’s highly unlikely he’ll spend that much, but half of that? Quite possibly. After all, he spent $50 million on his initial mayoral race.
The tough part for Bloomberg is that his appeal is not about what he would do; it is about how he would do it. His impressive record as New York mayor is due to his cooperative management style and inclusive approach. This will certainly sell well with voters sick of partisan bickering, but can it sustain Bloomberg as he is pressed on social issues, the war in Iraq, and other touchy matters? He may be closer to John Anderson than to Perot, appealing primarily to the upper class and intellectual elites.
But all of that is still to come. The more pressing question is: How does Bloomberg run? The Unity08 group’s leaders are not too subtle about saying they would love to have him, and now that Bloomberg is no longer a Republican, he could take the Unity08 nomination for president with nominal Republican Sen. Chuck Hagel as his running mate. Or Bloomberg could opt for a Democratic running mate and focus on big-media “blue” states. After all, Bloomberg will need 270 electoral votes to win. With his record and appeal, he is more likely to get there by winning pluralities in states like California and New York than by making an unlikely sweep of the GOP Heartland.
However, given the discontent in the GOP among fiscal conservatives with Bush, Bloomberg may well capture those Republicans who are more Libertarian at heart. And how about the moderate Dems out there who have grown tired of the party line? They could very interesting in a third choice who’s smart with money and hands off with privacy…well except for trans fat and smoking.
As I’ve said before, 2008 is probably the best climate for a 3rd party candidacy we’ve ever seen. Bloomberg knows this all too well, and he’s been counting on it for 2 years now…about the amount of time this blog has been in existence (we launched in earnest on July 13, 2005).
So what of it Bloomberg? You gonna run or not?