Scrambling the picture, Bloomberg style

So the scuttlebutt is, New York City’s former mega-bucks mayor, Michael Bloomberg, is eyeing a 2016 presidential run and is already indicating, the reports say, that he’s prepared to plunk one billion dollars into the effort. We hear, though, that he would make the run only if some of the nutty stuff now infesting the race, in terms of oddballs in the mix, holds firm down the road. Which, if true, makes Bloomberg, at least this time around, not quite the self-indulgent fat cat who turns to elective office on a lark…because, financially, it’s a piece o’ cake.

But either way, bottom line is Bloomberg’s name is being linked to presidential aspirations again, even if getting into the race as an independent puts his chances of victory at the slim-to-none level. He was reportedly seriously contemplating presidential prospects during his second term as mayor when, supposedly because the Oval Office calculus didn’t look good, machinations were put in the works for infamously bending the city’s term limits law into a third term for himself (along with a bunch of unprincipled City Council stooges). That Bloomberg’s margin of victory over Democrat William Thompson in 2009 was ridiculously close, despite wall-to-wall millions expended on his campaign, was an emphatic thumbs-down from voters about the manipulation of the system that kept the mayor around for another four years.

If Bloomberg does indeed want to get into presidential politics this year, one would hope his plans conform to what the buzz is indicating — that he would do so only if Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump wind up as the two nominees. Bloomberg is certainly not to be numbered with Sarah Palin and the other benighted idiots eager to entrust the presidency to a clown like Trump. And no way would the “socialist” label affixed to Sanders find favor with one of the country’s industrialists extraordinaire. One would argue, though, that if the Bloomberg strategy is about derailing the possibility of any toxic presence in the White House, he should definitely have a bull’s eye on Ted Cruz as well.

This 2016 race, especially on the GOP side, has so far been nothing short of a horror show. PBS News Hour commentator David Brooks, who is of conservative bent and clearly exasperated by what the GOP’s search for a nominee has produced to this point, recently again wondered why the party leadership doesn’t get off their rear ends and get behind a more viable candidate than a Trump or Cruz, about whom “frontrunner” headlines keep on coming. But it’s no secret that this fix they’re in on the GOP side is of their own making. Having the party veer hard to the right, to the almost total disappearance of anything that smacks of moderate values, obviously opens the door for some folks emerging as representatives of the brand, who aren’t exactly the high command’s preference. Republicans have two such headaches in Trump and Cruz.

There hasn’t been and there continues to be no indication of re-charting the party’s course anytime soon. Had there been any serious intent to change the party’s look, to soften its tone, Trump’s tasteless volleys against Mexican people would have brought about his swift excommunication. Rather, the party is still mired where it was when Mitt Romney, as he battled for the nomination four years ago, was all but doing cartwheels in attempting to convince the rest of the camp how “severely conservative” he was.

Assuming, again, that talk of his becoming a candidate is accurate, it’s likely that Bloomberg is treating as one of his causes the convoluted 2016 picture, in which some players continue to dominate the conversation who clearly shouldn’t be doing so. Maybe, like his well-known crusade against gun violence, he’s simply looking to weigh in against the trivializing of the presidency that some of the current wannabes and their boosters seem hell-bent on pursuing. We know all too well that there’s no shortage of folks in the political class and in the broader polity who believe, for reasons that have nothing at all to do with credentials, that the presidency was diminished, even disgraced when the present White House occupant moved in. We don’t figure Bloomberg to be among that crowd. If, convinced that with some of the characters waiting in the wings, there could now be real despoiling of the office of president that a scramble move by him would mitigate, that ranks as a good deed.

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