Political tongues are wagging this weekend after the New York Times published a Sunday front-page look at Mike Bloomberg’s election year agenda, which the piece describes as ” trying to pull politics back to the middle, injecting himself into marquee contests and helping candidates fend off the .”
The undertone is that the mayor is once again plotting to run for president. Despite a forceful denial to the Times’ Michael Barbaro, the mayor did acknowledge that the presidency was the only job he would want in Washington. And he declined to say whether or not he would endorse Obama for re-election, saying that some of his friends in the business community feel vilified by the President.
Asked to grade Mr. Obama’s leadership and his record in office, the mayor was careful to not criticize the president directly. “He’s had a tough row to hoe, in all fairness,” he said. But he hinted at the resentment of his fellow corporate chieftains toward government officials like Mr. Obama, who have questioned Wall Street compensation.
“I feel very strongly we should not be – success should not be frowned on, and I have lots of friends, wealthy people, made a lot of money, were big Obama supporters, gave him money, raised money for him, who are not happy now,” he said.
“They all say the same thing: ‘I knew I was going to have to pay more taxes. Somebody’s got to do it, and I’ve got the money,’ ” he said. “ ’But I didn’t expect to be vilified.’ ”
Two years ago the mayor and his aides determined that a run for the presidency was doomed to be unsuccessful for someone who calls himself a “short, Jewish, divorced billionaire.” But there are a couple of reasons why in 2012 there may be more of an appetite for a President Bloomberg. For one thing, the economy could still be sputtering along, making his financial acumen even more valuable. Secondly, if the Tea Partiers take over the House or Senate, either party could be presenting a more extreme version of themselves to the public, and voters may be turned off and looking for a sober alternative. Finally, if the Republicans take over either house, major gridlock is likely to ensue, and voters could finally really want someone who will not pay allegiance to party.