There’s no better evidence that Mike Bloomberg’s chances of getting the Democratic nomination are on the rise than the fact that the opportunistic Hillary Clinton is already trying to grab a piece of the action.
The Drudge Report startled the political world on Saturday by noting that “sources close to Bloomberg campaign” are “considering Hillary as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be a formidable force.”
I have no doubt that Hillary wants back in, and her minions are pushing such rumors. I have no doubt that some of Bloomberg’s hundreds of staffers used to work on Hillary’s campaign and are pushing the idea internally. I also have no doubt that Mike Bloomberg is smart enough to never go for such a crazy and risky idea.
First, Mike Bloomberg needs “woke” progressives behind him and enthused enough to actually voted if he is to win a general election campaign. The last thing he should do is infuriate Bernie Sanders voters by sharing his ticket with the woman they blame for “rigging” the 2016 primaries against him. Recall that 12 percent of Sanders’s primary supporters voted for President Trump in the 2016 general election. That is according to the Cooperative Congressional Election Study — a massive election survey of around 50,000 people.
Second, the Democratic ticket would be on the old side with a Bloomberg-Clinton ticket. The former New York mayor will be 78 years old at the time of the election this year, and he looks it. Hillary will be 73 years old, and she has a record of not being candid with her health issues. Should something happen to both of them, the next person in line for the presidency, should she remain House speaker, would be 80-year-old Nancy Pelosi.
While they would be running against a 74-year-old incumbent president, few would question that Trump projects a vigorous persona. The Democratic Party needs an injection of youth and vitality, not a ticket with two people who barely brush the Baby Boom generation.
Third, Hillary Clinton’s last job in government was an ethical disaster. Her email scandal, which clearly involved a coverup of just how much she compromised classified information, would have led to her indictment absent an extraordinary amount of political pull in her favor.
Then there is the Clinton Foundation. There is extensive evidence that special-interest donors to the foundation sought favors from a responsive State Department. We know from Peter Schweitzer’s book Clinton Cash that the State Department helped move along an infamous deal that granted the Russians control of more than 20 percent of the uranium production here in the United States. The company involved in acquiring the American uranium was a very large donor to — you guessed it — the Clinton Foundation.
President Obama had actually taken steps to ensure that none of this would happen. Hillary Clinton pledged that she would “avoid even the appearance of a conflict of interest” in her work as secretary.”
How did she do? The Associated Press reported that more than half of the nongovernmental figures who met with Secretary Clinton were Clinton Foundation donors. Huma Abedin, Clinton’s closest aide, agreed to help a Clinton Foundation aide get a diplomatic passport. Several key donations went unreported. Many of the emails stored on a private server that could have revealed more errant behavior were permanently destroyed using a program called “bleach bit.”
In December 2008, the Clinton Foundation and the office of President-elect Obama signed an agreement. In it, the Foundation promised to disclose all of its donors and that foreign governments would not be allowed to contribute to it; Bill Clinton also agreed that he would not personally solicit funds for the Foundation.
Many ethics experts scoff at the suggestion that Hillary followed either the letter or spirit of that agreement. Even the New York Times editorial board concluded in 2016 that “the emails and previous reporting suggest Mr. Trump has reason to say that while Mrs. Clinton was secretary, it was hard to tell where the foundation ended and the State Department began.”
Forget jokes that Mike Bloomberg, if president, would need a food taster if Hillary were his vice president. But could a President Bloomberg be confident that Hillary wouldn’t be scarf-deep in scandal and intrigue every day she was his vice president? Could he rely on her word that she would avoid conflicts of interest and other ethical wrongs?
Let’s not forget that Clinton’s shifty record led to a general perception that she was dishonest. A New York Times poll in August 2016, found that 67 percent of registered voters had doubts about her trustworthiness. “It wasn’t just emails and the Clinton Foundation,” Michael Barone, co-author of the Almanac of American Politics, told me. “When she was First Lady, there was Health-Care Gate, FBI File-Gate, Travel Gate, and Billing Records Gate.”
Mike Bloomberg has been pressing the notion that scandals have plagued Donald Trump’s administration. Why would he want to surrender his claim to the moral high ground by making Hillary his running mate and exposing himself to accurate counterattacks over that by Trump?
Michael Bloomberg built his business career and reputation as New York’s mayor by sizing up situations dispassionately and coldly. There is no way he is going to look at the prospect of Hillary Clinton joining his ticket as anything other than “risky business.”