Tags: GOP | Insiders: | Bloomberg | Helps

GOP Insiders: Bloomberg Helps Us

Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM

Republican insiders believe that if New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg enters the presidential race, he will attract votes from liberals — mainly Democrats but also some independents and some Republicans — and thus guarantee a Republican victory.

Bloomberg, who is Jewish, would be expected to attract voters in large cities as well as a segment of Jewish voters, but he will not hold much appeal for voters in the heartland, insiders say.

If he runs, Bloomberg, who just announced he is leaving the Republican party, will be banking on spending a chunk of his $5.5 billion on a campaign. As an independent, he will have the luxury of waiting until next March to see who the Republican and Democratic contenders turn out to be for the general election.

"Bloomberg will run if he thinks the Democratic and Republican candidate is at the extreme end of his party's spectrum," predicts one Republican strategist. "He will then be seen as a moderate who can take votes from conservatives and from liberals. If he doesn't see an opening like that, he won't run."

"I can't imagine that Bloomberg would attract many Republican votes no matter how much money he spends," Grover Norquist, who heads Americans for Tax Reform, tells me.

While Dave Keene, president of the American Conservative Union, agrees, he says, "One has to recognize that if Bloomberg in fact runs and is willing to spend half a billion dollars on his race, he may have far more flexibility in shaping or reshaping his image and appeal than would otherwise be possible."

At the end of the day, however, Bloomberg remains on the left on such issues as gay marriage, gun control, and abortion, Keene says.

"He will make things interesting if he gets in and would do so for one of two reasons," Keene says. "Either he hates the current GOP front-runner and might be assuming that even if he doesn't win, he can prevent Rudy Giuliani from winning. Or, if both the GOP and Democratic nominees encounter the 'market resistance' among voters we see now, he can envision a possible plurality win. It's not likely, but neither is it completely impossible."

One fascinating thing about politics is how the views of extreme conservatives and extreme liberals often intersect. One example is Real ID, an effort by the federal government to encourage states to adopt tamper-proof drivers' licenses.

The American Civil Liberties Union has been enlisting the support of conservatives like Bob Barr, the former George congressman, to urge states to reject the change. Opponents from either end of the political spectrum raise privacy concerns because Real ID requires states to share data on drivers to help verify their identities.

The fact is that today, drivers' licenses must be shown for everything from boarding a plane to opening a bank account, having surgery, or entering an office building. But drivers' licenses are easily counterfeited. And anyone who thinks we can have privacy today is living in a dream world. Almost any personal detail can be obtained online for a mere $25.

The 9/11 hijackers had 30 bogus drivers' licenses among them. When terrorists want to wipe us out, we should not let imaginary concerns about privacy jeopardize our security.

Everyone has a theory about why so many people—especially those in the media—think America is on the wrong course. Did too many of us watch too much television when we were very young, altering the brain's structure to cause a short attention span? Or did some Americans smoke too much marijuana, causing depression?

All or none of the above may be the culprit, but one thing is certain: We Americans are spoiled.

Craig R. Smith, a conservative columnist, makes the case by asking what Americans are so unhappy about. Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day? Could it be because more than 95 percent of us have a job? That we have freedom of speech, press, and religion enjoyed by few other countries in the world? Or that we see more food in any supermarket than Darfur has seen in a year?

"Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen," writes Smith, who tells me has received more than 500 emails congratulating him on his column. "No wonder the world loves the U.S. yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here."

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Republican insiders believe that if New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg enters the presidential race, he will attract votes from liberals - mainly Democrats but also some independents and some Republicans - and thus guarantee a Republican victory. Bloomberg, who is...
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2007-00-20
Wednesday, 20 June 2007 12:00 AM
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