June 21, 2007

Cross posted at Daily Kos

Alright, maybe my Gore in ’08 fantasies are getting the better of me, but does anyone else think this ticket could be very interesting?

Now, I’m not saying that Gore will leave the Democratic party. I think there is virtually no chance of that happening.

But I do think it’s possible that he could enter the race and then tap Bloomberg to be his VP. Personally, I’ve said for months that Gore-Obama (Gorbama) would be my ticket to beat, but I wonder what a Gore-Bloomberg (Goreberg) ticket would look like.

Let’s look at this from a few different angles:

I.– The issues.

The Environment
Bloomberg has arguably been the greenest mayor in NYC. He has advocated very specific policy proposals to attempt to move Manhattan ahead of every other major city in its efforts to make the city green. Tree planting, congestion planning with significant tolls to enter the busiest parts of Manhattan, etc, are all specific policy proposals geared towards making real change. Bloomberg has stood with Schwarzenegger in bucking their party to make these changes. Obviously we know where Mr. Gore is on this.

Fiscal policy
Bloomberg has done a marvelous job at taking a city that was run into the red by Rudolph the Red Mayor and turned it around financially. People forget, but for the first 6 months plus of his mayoralty, his polling was in the toilet and his economic policy was seen as draconian: From Wikipedia:

Facing a severe fiscal crisis after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bloomberg introduced a $3 billion tax increase in the middle of the fiscal 2003 year. The move is credited with stabilizing the city’s finances, which have since recovered…… In 2004 and 2005, the city experienced record surpluses, but financial experts and Bloomberg administration officials warned about unfunded future pension costs owed to city workers. In response, in 2006 Bloomberg unilaterally set aside $2 billion for a city-retirees’ health fund.

At at time of record deficits and unfunded mandates that are spiralling out of control, this kind of fiscal discipline is exactly what the country needs.

Foreign Policy, i.e. Iraq
It is obvious right now that Iraq is going to be a mess for a long time to come. Do we want a politician who will come up with a practical, non-ideological way to get our troops out without causing the entire region to turn into a ridiculous sectarian conflagration, or do we want an ideologue (on either side) who will use fear to win our votes? There’s not an American alive who doesn’t want to see our troops come home as soon as possible, but none of us want to create a situation where are troops have to go back in greater numbers in the near future. I believe that the experience of Al Gore and the pragmatism of Bloomberg can make this happen.

Gun control
After the last few cycles, I worry that a leading Dem will not dare take on the NRA and the gun issue. Bloomberg is probably public enemy #1 of the NRA with the stances he’s taken against guns. Again, bold policy ideas that buck the party because it’s what he believes in. I would hope the Gore of ’08 would follow this lead, even if it alienated some voters.

Abortion, gay rights

Both are pro-choice, pro-civil union, no problems here.

II. Electorally/Campaign Strategy

Obviously, the biggest advantage Bloomberg brings to any ticket is his cash. Worth well over $20 billion, he has commented that he would pour in hundreds of millions of dollars into a campaign if necessary.

Unfortunately for those among us who believe that third parties are good for democracy (I’m torn on this one), there are substantial obstacles in the way of Bloomberg #1 running for president as a true independent and getting on enough ballots, and #2 actually getting to 270 electoral votes.

You can game this out in lots of different ways, and it’s hard to see how he gets to 270. The best I can come up with (if he’s at the top of the ticket), is for him to create as situation where no one gets to 270, and the election gets tossed into Congress.

Now, put Gore at the top of the ticket, and you have a very different story. I think that ticket would hold Kerry’s states from 2004 and probably add Florida (the best chance for a pick-up with this ticket), Ohio, Colorado, and probably Missouri to their column.

I have argued repeatedly here for a Gore ticket, and most of my love for this ticket is because of Gore, but I really think the country would respond to a pragmatic message of reform and hope, and Bloomberg has proven in NY that he can lead.

So, what do you think? Is this a crazy idea? Would you support a Gore-Bloomberg ticket?

(Ask yourself this question too– if the race was Hillary, Thompson, and Bloomberg, would you think about voting for Bloomberg?)

I’d love to hear what people think about this……