The Bloomberg factor

Looking around the Washington media this morning, there are few who think that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s endorsement of President Obama is going to make any difference on Tuesday, particularly in the swing states.

The Washington Post’s The Fix quotes a witty tweet from Alec MacGillis of the New Republic: “Obama gets The Economist AND Mike Bloomberg in the same day? How many Electoral College votes does the Acela quiet car carry?”

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But I’m with Brent Budowsky on this. I think it’s a big f--king deal. Look carefully at Bloomberg’s argument. It might be a lukewarm endorsement of Obama, but it’s a devastating critique of Romney. Once again, we have a former supporter who simply doesn’t know where the candidate stands. Like former Secretary of State Colin Powell, Bloomberg points to the policy flip-flops.

And that has to be a problem for any thinking voter. What kind of president will Romney be? We can make a judgment about Obama because he is the incumbent. But people are still wondering whether President Romney would be the “severely conservative” one, or the newly minted centrist of the presidential debates. They also must wonder whether he — like the moderate Republicans in the House — would be held hostage by the Tea Party radicals if elected.

This leads to Bloomberg’s other central point — bipartisanship. The mayor believes that Obama stands a better chance of reaching across the aisle. We have just seen a demonstration of that by Chris Christie, the Republican New Jersey governor, and Obama in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. And that’s what Americans like; they say so in poll after poll. They are fed up with the gridlock in Washington and want it to change.

The voters have a chance to do that next Tuesday. It’s not just about picking a presidential candidate with a certain vision for America. Americans can decide on the future of the Tea Party, which has done so much to damage the fabric of democracy through its acolytes’ obstructionism in Congress. “Throw the bums out” has never made so much sense.

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