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How much does Mayor Bloomberg want to be President?
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July 29, 2009, 05:31 PM
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Billionaire media monopolist Michael Bloomberg, the Silvio Berlusconi of America, recently had the law amended so he could run for a third term as mayor of New York this fall.

Bloomberg is now 67, so if he wants to take a shot at the White House, 2012 is his best bet because in 2016 he`ll be two years older than John McCain was in 2008, which was too old.

Still, what could he run for President upon, other than his personal billionaireness and his popularity with the press? How does a billionaire connect with voters who don`t trust Barack Obama?

How many voters across the country even know who Michael Bloomberg is?

And, yet, public ignorance could be a good thing for his political career because it allows him to forge an image suited to the emerging circumstances. Assume Obama has the high and low segments of the electorate locked up in 2012. What kind of image could galvanize the vast middle to show up at the polls?

The Vulcan Society case has dropped in his lap what at first glance appears to be an unfortunate hot potato. Because Judge Nicholas G. Garaufis excluded the firefighter`s union from the case, the decision whether or not to appeal Garaufis`s finding of racial discrimination in testing due to disparate impact appears to be almost solely up to Mayor Bloomberg (barring some creative legal reasoning).

The Bloomberg Administration has announced that it won`t decide whether to appeal until after it finds out how much the damages will be. (One estimate was up to $20 million.) A very pragmatic and prudential course of action ...

What if, however, instead of passively waiting around to learn the dollar amount, then weighing it versus estimated expenses in legal costs and political capital, Bloomberg simply announced next week,

"I`m taking this rotten ruling all the way to the Supreme Court to erase the insult to the honor of the Fire Department of New York. If the Obama Administration wants to defend this slur upon New York`s Bravest, they can see me in court."
A divisive gesture, to be sure... Bloomberg`s media admirers would be aghast.

Yet, re-inventing himself as the Battling Billionaire might be the only route to the White House available.

I think Harry Truman would have liked my political advice. "I`ve got it, Mr. President! You can catch up in the polls by challenging Dewey to a knife fight in the Jefferson Memorial, on tele-vision!"