Why Bloomberg Isn’t Running

The note came into my BlackBerry last night just before 10: Michael Bloomberg was using the op-ed page of the New York Times to say he would not make an independent bid for president this year. I spent a good bit of time with Bloomberg and his circle last fall, and wrote about him and his White House ambitions for the magazine. In conversation at the time I joked that I believed Bloomberg's daughters would have to chain him to the hot water heater in the basement of his Upper East Side townhouse to keep him from running.

But that was before Barack Obama, and before John McCain. I believe that Bloomberg would love to be president, and, for what it is worth, I think he would have been making a very different announcement around now if Hillary Clinton and Rudy Giuliani were the putative major-party nominees. With Obama and McCain (who is a friend of Bloomberg's) the novelty narrative is taken, and the New York City mayor and businessman made the wise business decision to save his money.

I was struck, though, by his remark that he would support the kind of candidate who spoke his language of common sense, and I read that as an invitation to Obama and McCain to come calling, not just for an endorsement but for a place on the ticket. Whether they do is another question, but the Bloomberg brand of bipartisanship, while it has its limitations, is one that I think will be very attractive as the months go by.

And so I will keep my BlackBerry on.