Men who have more power and influence than Barack Obama are few and far between in America. Nevertheless, there are a small handful of men who may have earned this distinction. The late Steve Jobs comes to mind as an uncontroversial example, heading the second biggest global company by market value. I would argue, however, that there is at least a second in Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and I question why the Republican Party has not used one of its strongest assets.
On the surface, Mr. Bloomberg’s political trajectory resembles the young political career of Ronald Reagan. Despite the fact that Regan and Bloomberg were Democrats prior to running for the presidency, they both successfully led and were reelected by liberal constituencies, even after drifting right of center. Bloomberg’s electability can be largely attributed to his libertarian appeals. He is self-described as pro-choice, pro-immigration, against tax increases, dedicated to fiscal responsibility, and tough on foreign policy. In New York, he turned a $6 billion dollar deficit into a $3 billion dollar surplus. He took direct control over education by putting it under his authority, raised teacher’s salaries by 15%, and took a hard stance against unions. His education reforms saw real gains in test scores among NYC youth. He is a Washington outsider and a moderate outside of the polarized arena.
Many Americans consider Mitt Romney’s personal wealth of $250 million as an indicator of his economic knowledge (the governor himself has pointed to this on several occasions), but $250 million is pocket change compared to Bloomberg’s $19.5 billon. The mayor is the twelfth wealthiest man in America and our nations seventh largest donator to philanthropic causes. Romney attempts to follow the businesses community and their wishes, while the business community follows Bloomberg.
So the question remains: Why hasn’t Michael Bloomberg been considered as President Obama’s opponent at a time when the Republican field seems so weak? Obviously Mr. Bloomberg is not as conservative as Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich, but the ultimate blame for Bloomberg’s ambiguity in the eyes of the American people has to fall on the libertarian movement. Rallying around Ron Paul, the strange, unelectable congressmen from Texas, they seem to have put their eggs in the wrong basket. Once Mr. Paul is defeated in the primary and Mr. Bloomberg leaves his position as mayor, I hope the libertarian movement can weigh its options more effectively and finally realize all the advantages Michael Bloomberg has to offer.