After generating a limited amount of interest — probably a small fraction of what organizers had hoped for — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led a group discussion in Oklahoma yesterday with elders from the Democratic and Republican parties. The purpose of the forum, apparently, was to “denounce the extreme partisanship of Washington and plot how to influence the campaign.” Given the vague inanities of it all, dday labeled the confab, “Wankfest.”
So, how’d it go? It’s probably safe to assume Bloomberg ended the day disappointed.
[E]ven as the mayor gathered on Monday with the seasoned Washington hands on the campus of the University of Oklahoma, the surging presidential campaign of Senator Barack Obama seemed to steal energy from the event and set off worry elsewhere among Mr. Bloomberg’s supporters.
Mr. Obama has stressed that he wants to move beyond gridlocked politics and usher in an era of national unity. A key organizer of the effort to draft Mr. Bloomberg for a presidential run acknowledged in an interview on Monday that that Mr. Obama’s rise could be problematic.
There’s been an implication that some of the high-profile participants who traveled to Oklahoma were at least open to bucking their party and supporting an independent Bloomberg candidacy. Yesterday, however, it became clear that this isn’t the case at all.
What are we left with? An independent mayor who has repeatedly said he will not run, the complete absence of a policy agenda or rationale for an independent campaign, a Democratic candidate who’s already filling the void, and group participants who aren’t interested in a third-party initiative at all.
I don’t doubt that Bloomberg is going to continue to pursue some kind of candidacy, but it’s increasingly looking like a pointless exercise.