Last month, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg led a group discussion in Oklahoma with elders from the Democratic and Republican parties. The whole thing was going to be awesome — everyone would recognize what a visionary Bloomberg is and how he (and only he) has the unique independent skills to lead the nation during these challenging times.
Except no one really cared. The discussion was a bust, and even hand-picked participants said they had no interest in supporting an independent Bloomberg bid. Outside of Unity08’s leadership, David Broder, and Bloomberg’s immediate family, it quickly became apparent that no one actually wanted to see the NYC mayor run for president. His “movement” — I use the word loosely — was premised entirely on a tactic: governing without regard for partisanship. Tens of people across the country rallied to the cause.
Today, in a New York Times op-ed, Bloomberg officially scrapped the idea.
I believe that an independent approach to these issues is essential to governing our nation — and that an independent can win the presidency. I listened carefully to those who encouraged me to run, but I am not — and will not be — a candidate for president. I have watched this campaign unfold, and I am hopeful that the current campaigns can rise to the challenge by offering truly independent leadership. The most productive role that I can serve is to push them forward, by using the means at my disposal to promote a real and honest debate.
In the weeks and months ahead, I will continue to work to steer the national conversation away from partisanship and toward unity; away from ideology and toward common sense; away from sound bites and toward substance.
The irony, of course, is that the most glaring omission of Bloomberg’s initiative was even a hint of substance. He would identify serious challenges, but refuse to offer policy specifics of any kind. It was an ego-driven political party that offered literally nothing in the way of ideas, as if “independent solutions” was a serious answer to pressing issues. It wasn’t.