Bipartisan Group Meeting To Consider Unity Government

For years the Republicans have ruled from the extreme right based and forcing the moderates out of their party until they wound up in the present situation where they first lost Congress and now look likely to lose the White House. Rather than learning from this experience, many Democrats are supporting John Edwards, who proposes to do exactly the same with his newly-adopted extreme populist polices. Numerous posts on liberal blogs, as well as writings from Paul Krugman, have promoted such hyper-partisanship, even to the point of dismissing Obama as undesirable. If the Democrats should be so foolish as to go this route, or to nominate Hillary Clinton who is also opposed by a considerable portion of the electorate, it will serve them right if they are denied the White House due to a new force in politics.

The Washington Post reports that Michael Bloomberg will be meeting with a group of Democrats and Republicans on January 7 to discuss developing a government of national unity. This would possibly include supporting a third party candidate for president. While they do not specifically bill this as backing Bloomberg, considering the money he would bring to such a campaign this would be the most likely outcome. Multiple supporters of the effort are mentioned:

Conveners of the meeting include such prominent Democrats as former senators Sam Nunn (Ga.), Charles S. Robb (Va.) and David L. Boren (Okla.), and former presidential candidate Gary Hart. Republican organizers include Sen. Chuck Hagel (Neb.), former party chairman Bill Brock, former senator John Danforth (Mo.) and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman…

The list of acceptances suggests that the group could muster the financial and political firepower to make the threat of such a candidacy real. Others who have indicated that they plan to attend the one-day session include William S. Cohen, a former Republican senator from Maine and defense secretary in the Clinton administration; Alan Dixon, a former Democratic senator from Illinois; Bob Graham, a former Democratic senator from Florida; Jim Leach, a former Republican congressman from Iowa; Susan Eisenhower, a political consultant and granddaughter of former president Dwight D. Eisenhower; David Abshire, president of the Center for the Study of the Presidency; and Edward Perkins, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

Historically third parties have performed poorly, but the situation is now quite different. Both parties are in danger of being controlled by their extremes leaving many people who feel that neither party represents them. The internet provides a mechanism for organization and fund raising which can challenge the advantages of the established parties. Bloomberg’s wealth would further decrease the advantages of the major parties, and the campaign could get off the ground more quickly than the campaigns of the Democratic and Republican nominees. In 2004, after clinching the Democratic nomination, John Kerry had to spend most of his time raising money before his campaign got off the ground. Without the advantages of incumbency, and with decreased contributions to Republicans this year, they would also be in a similar situation. Should either party have a protracted primary campaign they could be at an even further disadvantage. Ross Perot led the major party candidates in the polls at one point, and Bloomberg would be a much more “reasonable” candidate to borrow from Peggy Noonan’s recent analysis.

The chances of success of such an effort will depend upon who the major parties nominate. There have been rumors since their recent meeting that Bloomberg will not run if Obama is the Democratic nominee, and such a challenge would be futile considering Obama’s support among independents, many moderate Republicans, and even some libertarians who are disillusioned with Paul’s social conservatism and ties to right wing extremists.

Bloomberg’s best chance for victory would be if John Edwards received the Democratic nomination. In such a three way race, Bloomberg would prevent Edwards from winning the electoral votes of the east and west coasts. The Republicans would take the south and mountain states, and the midwest would be a battleground where Edwards would also have a difficult job winning many states. In such a situation many Democrats might ultimately decide to go with Bloomberg as opposed to risking support for Edwards who would place them in danger of coming in third. With Edwards made irrelevant, Bloomberg could then take the blue states and be more competitive than the Democrats have been in several red states. His chances would be best if Mike Huckabee won the Republican nomination as many Wall Street and country club Republicans would prefer Bloomberg over him.

There are many other possible scenarios. Knocking out the Republicans would be even easier if Ron Paul won the nomination, but this is hardly within the realm of reality. If Clinton won the Democratic nomination, Bloomberg would have a more difficult job of winning than if Edwards won the nomination, but with Clinton’s negatives a victory still might be possible. Even if Bloomberg could not win, such a candidacy would dramatically change the election and all previous predictions of the outcome would be irrelevant.

Update: Liberal Hostility To Bipartisanship

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3 Comments

  1. 1
    Pug says:

    Your hatred of Edwards is starting to sound pathological.

  2. 2
    Ron Chusid says:

    Pug,

    This has nothing to do with hatred. You don’t allow people to disagree with your candidate on the issues, question his qualifications, question his ethics when there is tremendous evidence to do so, or predict he wouldn’t do well in a general election?

    You sound just like the conservatives who dismiss all the legitimate arguments against Bush as “Bush derangement syndrome.” But then in many ways the Edwards movement is just a populist version of Bush’s.

  3. 3
    R Cochran says:

    Just posted this at Link

    This Unity 08 is one of the more interesting political developments of my life time but I’m very skeptical. First of all, this notion of some lost age of reason and comity smacks of nostalgia and sentimentality, which runs contrary to my own experiences. In my 55 plus years, there has always been a fair share of bomb throwing opportunists and craven politicians willing to follow in their wake. Bipartisanship is a good thing only when it produces good legislation and not something to be sought in and for its own sake.
    What really would help in DC, is a dose of humility, dash of solemnity and a boat load of gravitas. Why not start there and the rest will follow? All that would be required in this case, would be for the politicians to take an oath to honor and defend the Constitution. Oh, I forgot, they already do that, at least in theory but that is so pre 9/11, n’est ce pas?

    As some one who was raised in a family of staunch Republicans and who came of age during Vietnam, I was some what of a doubting Thomas. My father ( an engineer and by temperament a very analytical man) and I, had many spirited but civil debates on political and philosophical issues. I still have a photo of him and Reagan as an ironic reminder of all the misery, this crowning moment for my father has visited upon his only son. If my father were still alive today, I doubt that his party loyalty would blind his intellect , to the fact ,that Reagan’s cynical courting of the evangelical vote has done so much wholesale damage to the Republic. As a descendent of a people who came to this country to escape the Religious conflicts of Europe, I never quite understood his willingness to accommodate such but if I could, I sure wouldn’t mind telling him, “I told you so at the time”. Having ignored my advice, now it becomes MY job to make the party of Rove and Delay bare some faintly recognizable, ghostly image of Ike. Thanks a lot for the challenge, I’ll get right on it.
    Now, here is the $64,000 question, just how, exactly, will a Bloomberg and my old Sen. Sam Nunn quell the acrimonious waters of the Tidal Basin, if elected?
    What magic powers do they possess to restore the faith based, politicized Judicial Branch of the Government? Who will they enlist to replace the thousands of civil servants, who were run out of their positions or quit in disgust, because their departments were headed by people who, not only didn’t believe in their mission but had they succeeded would have negated their own political ideology? I’m all ears.

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