4.11.2008

Endorsement watch: Surprising no one, Bloomberg aims to please all sides

Just a few weeks ago, Mike Bloomberg introduced Barack Obama at an event, prompting speculation that the Mayor of New York might jump on the Democrat's bandwagon. The two had met for a a highly publicized breakfast in November, and Bloomberg's brand of non-partisan governance is often described as similar to the one Obama champions on the trail, making the two a complementary pair.

But Bloomberg did not need a lot of time to remind us of how much his non-partisanship resembles that of those business executives who donate campaign contributions to all parties and all candidates to cover all their bases. Earlier this month, Bloomberg claimed that he was good friends with all the candidates and would consider working for any of them.

Yesterday, he introduced John McCain at an economic roundtable in Brooklyn. Explaining that "no matter what your political affiliation or your views are, [McCain] really deserves to have the term hero attached to his name," Bloomberg described McCain as being responsible for his 2001 election (Giuliani will appreciate that): "If the people of New York are happy, they should say thank you to you."

These declarations are hardly surprising when we consider Bloomberg's political career. A registered Democrat, he switched party affiliations because he knew he would have an easier time seizing the GOP's mayoral nomination. Last year, he became an independent while considering whether he should make a 3rd party bid for the White House -- though he continues to help the state Republican Party campaign for state Senate seats. Little principle, and lots of opportunism.

The other figure to be sparking endorsement talk these days is Elizabeth Edwards. One of the most surprising developments of the 2008 primaries has been John Edwards's refusal to rally Obama after he withdrew in late January. If anything, many reports have been suggesting that Edwards had been more swayed by Clinton's courtship and angered by what he might have seen as Obama's dismissiveness. We can only speculate as to what explains Edwards's reluctance to endorse, but one obvious reason that I have proposed time and time again has been the health care debate:

Given how Edwards centered his own campaign on his health care plan, it would have been very difficult for him to jump on the Obama wagon at a time when the most important policy differences between the two remaining Democrats was the debate on mandates, which Edwards supports. Elizabeth Edwards confirmed that this is the most plausible hypothesis this week in an interview on ABC's Good Morning America

“In order to ensure that we have universal coverage, we need to say everybody has to join. So, for that reason, the mandates that Sen. Clinton is talking about, I think are going to be more successful in achieving the goal." Making her comparison even more explicit, Edwards concluded "I just have more confidence in Sen. Clinton’s policies than Sen. Obama’s on this particular issue." This is certainly not an endorsement of Clinton's candidacy, but it is a huge indication of why the Edwardses, who were so hugely critical of Hillary throughout the fall, have remained on the sidelines.

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4 Comments:

  • It was pretty obvious since the start of this race that Edward's campaign was in direct conflict with Obama's. Hillary agreed to take on his agenda and she will ultimately reap the benefit of his neutrality now. Once Obama's light gets dim, look for an Edwards endorsement for her.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 15:38  

  • It is too late in the primary race for an Edwards endorsement to mean much, either way. Anyway, I didn't think Edwards was a good VP choice last go-round.

    By Anonymous David, Tallahassee FL, At 11 April, 2008 15:52  

  • I think the Edwards endorsement could mean something, only I am truly convinced he is either:

    a.) really not sure which one he would endorse.

    -or-

    b.) still so pissed off for practically being shut out, especially in the debates, that he is sulking.

    By Blogger Mark, At 11 April, 2008 17:03  

  • Edwards has delegates and a share in the Mi 40% uncommitted. He still has a hand in this that could tip the balance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, At 11 April, 2008 17:04  

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