America can exhale. The long-awaited news has just broken: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will not run for president CLICK HERE. There goes the pundits' favorite parlor game.
Early on, I think Bloomberg was seriously considering a run. He looked at the sprawling field of candidates and thought, "What in the world are these clowns doing running for president?" He saw the possibility of hyper-partisanship. He saw the possibility of an all-New York race. And he thought, with ego mightily intact, "I could wipe the floor with these guys (and lady)."
Then came the monkey wrench. Republicans didn't nominate Bloomberg's nemesis, former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani. Republicans didn't even go with their most partisan choice. They went with the maverick, the guy who has transcended party labels and forged a most independent path.
Similarly, Democrats seem poised to nominate not their most partisan, divisive figure, but a guy whose message hangs on "unity" and "change" and "hope."
Not exactly the alternatives against which Bloomberg thought he could run.
McCain and Obama have the Bloomberg schtick down cold, even though McCain IS a conservative and Obama HAS been the most reliably liberal partisan in the Senate. Both McCain and Obama have positioned themselves well as the guys who can "cross party lines," "work with the other side," "get stuff done." Although McCain is the only one of the two who has actually done that.
But the fantasy of "post-partisanship" is overblown and actually contrary to how this country was supposed to operate. We are supposed to have the clash of ideas, parties, styles, visions. That clash generates new ideas and moves the nation forward. "Post-partisanship" is a feel-good phrase that usually means we end up with mushy, unsatisfying compromise that doesn't accomplish much.
Since both McCain and Obama are sailing along on a confrontation-averse, "can't we all just get along" message, Bloomberg had no justification to run. Would he take the Number Two job? Possibly. But McCain and Obama are going to have to sharpen their partisan attacks as the race goes forward, and neither one of them is going to want Mayor "Post-Partisan" riding shotgun.