Wow! If Mike Ran, He Might Be First To Burn $1 Billion

But besides the fact that Mr. Bloomberg seems somewhat less eccentric than the Texan (“Eagles don’t flock, you have to find them one at a time,” was one typical Perotism) there is another key distinction.

“Michael Bloomberg is really willing to spend the money,” said Rob Ryan, a Republican operative who managed George Pataki’s first campaign for Governor. “He can be on TV all the time, sending direct mail into key areas, wherever his polling shows he has support.”

Mr. Ryan said that one potential stumbling block for the Mayor would be a lack of foot soldiers available to set the campaign in motion. Some states require tens of thousands of petitions to get on the ballot, which in turn require an enthusiastic and organized grassroots operation.

And as one New York Democratic operative put it, “Right now there is a paucity of talent out there. If you were to jump in and build a 50-state strategy, the people you would be talking to would be the outsiders and the wackos.”

And all of that money also poses its own unique problem, said the operative, who pointed out that it is one thing to keep an eye on campaign expenditures in the Bronx, while it’s wholly another to know what’s happening to the fat check you sent to North Dakota.

“You have to have robust controls to make sure people aren’t pissing your money away,” the operative said.

Still, $1 billion is a lot of money to go through. And as Mr. Bloomberg proved when he simply overwhelmed his opponents in 2001 and 2005, there’s a lot to be said for volume.

As Mr. Sheinkopf put it, “It will be the most sustained television campaign probably over the most protracted period of time in the history of American politics.”

Consider yourself warned.