Bloomberg Strikes Presidential Tone, Again

Wednesday, December 08, 2010


Delivering a campaign style speech at the Brooklyn Navy Yard Wednesday, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg harshly criticized the federal government for being distracted by partisan politics and failing on its most pressing task -- creating jobs.

"When did success become a bad word in America? When did cooperation in government become treason? The new 'politics as usual' is making a mockery of our democracy and a mess of our country," he said.

In a room with a view of the Manhattan skyline, the 68-year-old mayor spoke to an audience of real estate and business leaders, as well as the cameras of national news organizations, urging Republicans and Democrats to unite behind centrist ideas to help get more Americans working again.

"We need change," he said. "And whether the recent elections will be a cure for America's economic problems, or just another symptom of our dysfunctional politics, remains to be seen."

The Democrat-turned-Republican-turned-Independent laid out a framework for a middle ground. "Fortunately, there are solutions that can get us out of this mess, that can be embraced by those across the political spectrum," Bloomberg said.

The mayor's speech lasted 30 minutes, and he spent the second half outlining a national economic strategy that included cutting business taxes to prevent companies from moving overseas, opening U.S. borders to more trade and immigrants, and instilling confidence in businesses and families about U.S. economy.

The speech struck a presidential tone, even though the mayor's spokesman Stu Loeser insists Bloomberg is not running for president, but rather trying to influence Washington.

Still, many believe Bloomberg is at least weighing the option. "When his term as mayor is up, he can't succeed himself. He's a man of considerable wealth. And I think he's developing a message that would probably play very well nationally," said Ross Baker, a political science professor at Rutgers University.

But the track record of third party candidates on the presidential level isn't good, Baker said. They're often spoilers. Take Ross Perot in 1992. And Baker said Bloomberg's substantial credentials may not be enough. "He is, I think, in some ways a very good messenger. I doubt very seriously whether he's necessarily someone that people would turn to be their favorite candidate."

Baker believes Bloomberg is very "east coast" and wouldn't necessarily appeal to people who live in rural areas of the country. And Baker said, "He's not particularly an eloquent man."

Robert Shrum, a former Democratic strategist who advised Al Gore's presidential campaign in 2000 and John Kerry’s presidential campaign in 2004, belives Bloomberg's ineloquence isn't an insurmountable barrier.

"What Bloomberg offers is the inspiration of competence, not charisma," Shrum said. "And if the country found itself in a situation in 2012 where people thought the economy wasn't improving and if the Republicans didn't offer a sensible alternative, then Bloomberg might be a very attractive candidate."

Shrum believes there's a good chance Republicans won't offer a good alternative, but he expects the economy to improve next year and in 2012, particularly since President Obama just agreed this week with Republicans on cutting Social Security payroll taxes for a year, extending the Bush-era tax cuts for two more years, and extending unemployment benefits for another year.

But as the economy falters now, Bloomberg continues to spread his message. He's speaking on NBC's Meet the Press this weekend and at a major gathering of political independents next week.



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Comments [16]

oscar from ny

This man messed up NYC he listened to some yuppies and graffiti'd the pavement in NY..did you see how ridiculous it looks with those lame bike lanes??..only in his head while sipping on martinis or w.e in his mansion did he think that this poor young out of state students will somehow ride their lil bicycles and dogs in freezing brick temperatures...this one also try to put a stadium in 34th st!!..??? are you kidding meee??? if this guy becomes president i suggest everyone outside America to run for your livess....because hes coming to get youuuu...

Dec. 09 2010 09:15 PM
April from Manhattan

Great! Bloomberg sounds off just like every other politician, including Obama, except Obama didn't buy his presidency. Mayor Bloomberg create jobs? On Wall St, perhaps, where neither he, Schumer or Cuomo have the balls to raise taxes, instead cut benefits for the poor. The slicker the ads in the last mayoral election, the more money he spent, the more I wanted to vote Against him. I'd love to see a Jewish president. How about Barney Frank? I'd contribute gladly to him. Or Nancy Pelosi as first woman. Either one on either end of the ticket would be fine with me. But we don't want to do another Jimmy Carter and end up with another Ray Gun. Or worse! Jimmy Carter was better than people remember. Why didn't we progressives, of whom Bloomberg is NOT one, wait so long to get angry and start speaking up? Why not the first summer at Town Hall meetings with guns and "death panels"?

Dec. 09 2010 02:57 PM
Longstreeet from NYC area

Centrists taking control won't cure what ails the US. This country has turned its back on nearly all of it's founding principles. Why, then, is it surprising that things are falling apart?
We are simply reaping what we've sown. I don't like stating it, but we're getting what we deserve.

Dec. 09 2010 10:33 AM
Donna from NYC

Totally agree with Steve from New York, NY - thanksfor posting

Good God people, wake up.

Dec. 09 2010 10:30 AM
Janet/Harlem from Harlem

That Bloomberg is chiding Washington for not working together on the heels of his "no discussion, go to your room" Cathie Black appointment and having usurped the rights of the public to decide on term limits so HE could run again, is just laughable and the height of hyprocrisy. Does no one notice?

Dec. 09 2010 10:30 AM
just a thought

Obama/Bloomberg in 2012?

Dec. 09 2010 10:27 AM
Kevin from Brooklyn

What get passes for the "left" in this country is not left at all. Neither are "moderates" moderates. MSNBC, FOX, Michael Bloomberg, etc., are all just different shades of conservatism. To get to the actual "left" in America, you've got to look far outside the mainstream.

Dec. 09 2010 10:26 AM
Anya from New York, NY

Stop the fetish over phony-moderate and phony-independent and phony-centrist. What matters is actual facts and actual policy. The fact is that among developed countries U.S. has low taxes and regressive taxes. The fact is that among western developed countries we now have low income, shrinking real working and middle class and too many super rich, too much inequality. The problem is the super rich have been gaining. The rest of us can't afford to pay for stuff, to stimulate the economy except with bubbles and credit. As even Henry Ford knew, the workers have to earn enough to buy the stuff.

Deregulation has failed. How many financial scandals does it take to actually change the politics.

The problem is that by polling of general labels U.S. is center-right. But by support for specific policies there is strong support of individual, point-by-point preogressive left policies (tax the rich, regulate to prvent corporate/banker/wall-street riip-offs and worker deaths, single payer health care, etc.).

Shame on you for falling for this phony centrist stuff.

Dec. 09 2010 10:23 AM

I am a moderate!!!! I am so furious with what is happening in this country. The fear-mongering Republicans set up the Democrats to respond, then respond in mock anger to the Dems response. They run on lowering the deficit but don't enforce the sacrifice required to get the job done. The Democrats are wussies!!! They haven't got the guts to stand up for what they say they believe in and certainly don't stand up to the Republicans. Guess I am stuck in the middle (the incredibly shrinking middle) again!

Dec. 09 2010 10:16 AM

I care absolutely nothing about "bipartisanship" for its own sake. Hey Mike B, what are you going to do to help people find good jobs?

Dec. 09 2010 10:13 AM
Karen from Bronx, NY

Per Alex Pareene at Salon:

Billionaire plutocrat Michael Bloomberg delivered a "major speech" this morning about his multiple-point plan to fix America, economically. Bloomberg calls on Washington to "chart a middle way," directly in between Republicans and Democrats, because Democrats and Republicans are ideologues, unlike centrist Michael Bloomberg, a man whose reasonableness is self-evident, because he spends a lot of time telling people that he dislikes both liberals and conservatives. (And bloggers, and journalists, and union leaders, and bureaucrats, etc., etc.)

So! It's time to roll up our sleeves and get to some bipartisan solution-seeking! First, we'll ... slash corporate taxes. We cannot "tax-and-spend" our way out of this mess, because while that was all well-and-good for the extended period of our nation's greatest economic prosperity, nowadays we must coddle and reassure wealthy job creators until they are comfortable and unafraid enough to begin "innovating" us some jobs.

We must also be careful not to go too far with our "financial regulations," because we don't want to cripple the industry that is hoarding all of the money and periodically destabilizing the entire world economy.

As Ben Smith points out, the entire Bloomberg economic plan is basically the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's platform, plus something about job training. Maybe the government can train unemployed construction workers to sign off on their own foreclosure notices without reading them.

Bloomberg is peddling pure, naked corporatism, masquerading as "grown-up" non-ideological common sense. I'm guessing a lot of well-off self-proclaimed centrists will eat it up.

Dec. 09 2010 10:11 AM
Steve from New York, NY

Bloomberg's comments are NOT moderate or non-partisan. They are the same selfish corporatist plutocratic policies of low taxes for the corporate and wealthy and deregulation, that have been promoted for the past 30 years that got us into the mess we are in. The biggest problem we have is low income for the "other" 90% of the population, and the huge inequality for the "other" 98% of us. Shame on you for falling for bloombergs phony "moderation.".

Dec. 09 2010 10:05 AM
Brad from S.F.

You darlings have elected this predatory, conceited, wimp twice! Well, so did we in SF (albeit also an adulterer, addict, etc., etc.), and then elected him "lieutenant governor". And then a certain nation elected a certain Great Wimp twice! The difference is that they were morons (as were the electorate). And they succeeded equally incompetent creeps or crooks. I'd say that you'd best go ahead and let illegals vote, because they could not do worse than you have. How appropriate that the negative connotation of "shmuck" originated in New York. You're shmucks.

Dec. 09 2010 08:14 AM

Why is Bloomberg so rich?

...Talk is CHEAP!

After stealing billions from our state pension fund with his buddy Steven Ratner, Bloomberg went on to lose every neighborhood of color in 2009 as he spent over $120 million for his re-coronation. And how about seeing Cathie Balck's college grades or even her GPA? Gee, you want to grade teachers, schools and even restaurants but we do not have the right to see the new Chancellor's own grades?

Dec. 09 2010 12:35 AM
teddy Galea from Malta

bring back all the manufacturing jobe America lost to China and put America back to work, Buy American made goods if you can find them.

Dec. 08 2010 11:19 PM
oscar from ny

There are like 12 million New Yorkers right?...well how about giving us each 50.00$ thousand dollars each..well make you governor for another 4 years!!!
You will be loved always by us all <3
I'm saying this because i heard you're billionaire.

Dec. 08 2010 11:18 PM

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