Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Who Will Bloomberg Appeal To?

A lot of people seem to be jumping to the conclusion that a Bloomberg run would doom the Dems, and benefit the GOP, in 08, but I question that logic, especially because they all seem to be basing it on what happened with Nader in 2000.

In my view, Nader's appeal had as much to do with the when as it did with the what. His progressive positions appealed to the Democratic base precisely because they were sick to death of being marginalized during 8 years of a centrist-skewing, third-way policies of the Clinton-Gore administration.

Which is not exactly the case now. In fact, many Nader voters came to *regret* their votes once they witnessed first hand the consequences of letting George W. Bush get sworn in.

Now, after our years in the wilderness, the Dems are united, largely satisfied with the slate of potential nominees, and not afraid of a little compromise if it means winning.

So a third-party challenge will not, in my view, be particularly appealing to Dems this cycle; at least, not as appealing as it was after 8 years of Clinton/Gore... even if the challenger is progressive on social issues. (He's quite conservative on other issues, however: fiscal, crime, business... Nader, of course, was unbelievably to the left on all those issues as well.)

On the other hand, the Republican party is now in precisely the same position the Dems were in back in 2000: pissed off because they feel like they've gotten NOTHING they expected to get (and, frankly, were promised) after 8 years of Bush/Cheney. Hell, only 28% of them still support their own president, so it's fair to say that more than two-thirds of Republicans feel like their party has screwed them with their pants on. (Only 'cause it has. Unfortunately, it screwed the rest of us, too.)

Moreover, rank and file Republcians aren't particularly beholden to any one of the their prospective nominees -- even McCain, who for years had been assumed to be the presumptive nominee for 08, has crashed and burned. Most have written him off.

Giuliani is in the process of doing likewise. As the national Republicans get to know him the way we do, they like him less and less -- what a surprise. And they don't even know him that well yet -- Imagine the effect of replaying Donna Hanover's impromptu sidewalk press conference, after she learned by watching TV that her husband planned to divorce her in favor of one of his mistresses.

Rudy's a non-starter.

The field is so weak on their side that retired politicians weighing vanity runs--yep, Fred Tompson, I'm lookin' at you--are being hailed as the great white hope.

To me, it seems like it's not the Dems who are ripe for poaching by a third-party ticket. It's the GOP.

This will be especially true if, as has been widely speculated, Senator Hagel -- a *true* conservative Republican -- ditches his party to join Bloomberg.

In any case, 2008 just got a helluva lot more interesting.

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