Obama and McCain May Be Considering Bloomberg

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As previously reported, John McCain may be considering New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the vice president spot. One issue: he may be on Barack Obama’s list as well.

The very fact that the exact same man is possibly being considered by both the presumptive Democratic and Republican nominees tells us that both sides’ attempts to paint the opposing candidate as an ideological radical are rather disingenuous. While Obama is strongly liberal on many issues and McCain is strongly conservative on just as many, the two men both actively court an image of pragmatism and moderation that makes it hard to believe either is particularly outside the general mainstream. Mayor Bloomberg would give either of the nominees a boost among the large numbers of independents who care more about results and practical programs than about ideological purity.

But who would benefit more from Bloomberg’s presence? I think McCain would. While it’s true that Bloomberg could help Obama shore up the Jewish vote (which he’s struggling to secure), he doesn’t add any foreign policy credentials to Obama’s flimsy resume. Bloomberg would, however, give McCain much needed economic credibility as well as signaling to the nation that this is not a ticket running for George Bush’s third term. Furthermore, since McCain trails Obama in fundraising, it wouldn’t hurt to have a billionaire on the ticket.

One more thing to consider: Bloomberg has a history of supporting the conflict in Iraq, a position that would make him an easier fit with McCain than with Obama and might help mollify the conservatives who’d choke on their coffee over Bloomberg’s socially liberal views.

Nevertheless, despite Bloomberg’s obvious appeal, the reality of politics may end up keeping the mayor on the sidelines. His Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent history will disturb power brokers of both parties and his rather managerial personality would make him an even less effective attack dog than was John Edwards. Personally, I’d be surprised to see him turn up on either ticket, but I do expect his endorsement to be strongly courted by both campaigns.