NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg made it absolutely official today on the NYT op-ed page.
I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not – and will not be – a candidate for president.
OK, so that’s out of the way. The rest of what he has to say is interesting.
Watching the 2008 presidential campaign, you sometimes get the feeling that the candidates – smart, all of them – must know better. They must know we can’t fix our economy and create jobs by isolating America from global trade. They must know that we can’t fix our immigration problems with border security alone. They must know that we can’t fix our schools without holding teachers, principals and parents accountable for results. They must know that fighting global warming is not a costless challenge. And they must know that we can’t keep illegal guns out of the hands of criminals unless we crack down on the black market for them.
The vast majority of Americans know that all of this is true, but – politics being what it is – the candidates seem afraid to level with them.
Also, as the mayor of a really big city, Bloomberg is understandably anxious to see “a new urban agenda.” So what does Mayor not-running-for-president Bloomberg plan to do about it?
[W]hile I have always said I am not running for president, the race is too important to sit on the sidelines, and so I have changed my mind in one area. If a candidate takes an independent, nonpartisan approach – and embraces practical solutions that challenge party orthodoxy – I’ll join others in helping that candidate win the White House.
He says that will involve “using the means at my disposal to promote a real and honest debate.” If he decides that means backing a particular candidate, that could go a couple of ways. Another relatively inconsequential surrogate making the talk-show rounds? Or the best-funded 527 in the history of the world?
Anyway, it’s worth watching. I enjoyed the clever double-entendre in his final sentence:
These forces that prevent meaningful progress are powerful, and they exist in both parties. I believe that the candidate who recognizes that the party is over – and begins enlisting all of us to clean up the mess – will be the winner this November, and will lead our country to a great and boundless future.
“The party is over.” Get it?