A decade ago, Bloomberg’s defeated charter amendment proposed making the New York mayoralty a non-party office, as it was back in first mayor Thomas Willett’s day (1665), when things seemed to run pretty smoothly around town. But, if cities aren’t partisan, presumably states and nations aren’t, either. The party system, as he sees it, deprived America of a Bloomberg presidency. All the smart people wanted him to run: The now defunct Newsweek ran a cover story on him, headlined with a straight-face “How a Mike Bloomberg Presidential Run Could Remake 2008.” But parties mean primaries, and primaries mean you have to go to New Hampshire and Iowa and South Carolina and pretend to the rubes that you like guns and God more than the 15 other guys on the ticket. So no President Bloomberg.
Nevertheless, he is a portent of the future. To a man like Bloomberg, believing in global warming and gun control is like believing the sun rises in the east and water runs downhill: Why should it be part of a party platform? In that sense, he is testament to the triumph of liberalism — for, if liberal values are so universal among the upper reaches of American society, why should they require the Democratic party? The founder of Bloomberg magazine, Bloomberg News, Bloomberg Television, Bloomberg News Radio, Bloomberg.com, and Bloomberg Tradebook quite reasonably would rather have a Bloomberg party all his own, unsullied by the grubby little ward-heelers, race-baiters, grievance-mongers, shysters, and perverts who infest career liberal politics. Bloomberg has spent over a quarter-billion dollars selling himself to New Yorkers as a post-partisan can-do technocrat, and, if he can do it, there’s no reason the checkbooks of other, less charmless liberal billionaires shouldn’t be able to pull it off in cities and states across the land.