Thomas Friedman still has this idea about a Bloomberg gesture in 2012

Briefing: Bloomberg. (Azi Paybarah via flickr)
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Times columnist Thomas Friedman wants New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg to run for president, if for no other reason than "to participate in the presidential debates and give our two-party system the shock it needs."

The "straight-talking" Bloomberg would "challenge, and maybe even improve both" Obama and Romney, Friedman said, "by speaking honestly about what is needed" to improve America.

Romney is hamstrung because he opposes tax increases and Obama has no big ideas, according to Friedman.

This is not the first time Friedman has suggested that this will be the year a "viable, centrist" third presidential candidate breaks through. 

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Bloomberg will undoubtedly be flattered by the suggestion, but will almost certainly not take Friedman's advice to engage in a billion-dollar educational exercise to shore up the resolve of the major-party candidates, which is predicated on the idea that there's room in the center of the ideological spectrum between Obama and Romney. 

That's not where Bloomberg is, anyway. Yes, the mayor is a registered independent, and is stridently anti-partisan in his rhetoric. But his position against organized parties has always been more a function of his personal wealth, which allows him to operate without depending on traditional organizations, than his ideology. His positions on guns and gay rights and even taxes make him a flaming liberal by Washington standards. 

(Friedman describes Bloomberg as "fiscally conservative," which imay be true in the old-timey deficit-hawk sense, but is not at all true in the fervently anti-tax sense that has actually defined fiscal conservatism in Washington since long before Bloomberg got into politics.)

As Steve Kornacki noted during the debt-ceiling debate, Bloomberg's plague-on-both-your-houses approach ignores that, and depends on simplistic equivalencies between the major parties. During that fight, Bloomberg said "our national leaders need to stop staring down the other side" and "start working with the other side to get our stalled economy back in gear."

"The debt-ceiling showdown ... is the creation of one specific faction of one party," he wrote, referring to the Tea Party Republicans who control the House agenda. 

Would they be any more likely to listen to Candidate Bloomberg? 

Some Links:

2012

Bloomberg should run for president so he can at least debate Obama and Romney. [Thomas Friedman]

"The thing about Tom Friedman: yes, his ideas are dim. But he is also one of the absolute worst prose stylists." [@AaronRutkoff]

"Great idea," another Times columnist responds to Friedman's column. "After recession of century, more shock." [@PowellNYT]

Advisor Beth Myers said the process of picking Mitt Romney's aide will be "very comprehensive and very thorough." [Michael Barbaro and Ashley Parker]

DCCC

Rep. Joe Crowley helps Democrats raise money by talking up the "billionaire-backed Super PAC" Pataki launched; "airwaves will be filled with smears." [Twitter]

2013

A Post columnist joins the draft-Ray Kelly effort and says proof Democrats are out of touch with voters is the fact Thompson and Ferrer got "each got slightly more than 500,000 votes on the Democratic line." [Michael Goodwin]

Quinn is the only candidate "who left the door open for the public to get access to teacher evaluations." [Yoav Gonen]

Quinn distanced herself from a report critical of Bloomberg's education policy, and embraced by Thompson, Stringer, de Blasio and the chairman of the Council education committee. [Kate Taylor]

"Quinn said she would not support diminishing the mayor's power at all" over schools. [Lindsey Christ]

One Democratic state senator who won't vote for Stringer's commuter tax: David Carlucci. [Garth Johnston]

The Stringer-Christie debate on the commuter tax hit the wires. [Associated Press]

NY-07

A pollster is testing attack messages. [Orthodoxpundit.blogspot.com]

Albany

Cuomo's maneuver to create a health exchange network despite Republican opposition in Albany was "deft" and "wise." [New York Times]

Democrats have just $115,000 in one account, $112,157 in another and $1.48 million of debt. [Ken Lovett]

Cuomo's Taxes

He sold about $800,000 worth of securities at a slight loss and paid about $47,000 in federal and state taxes. [Jacob Gershman]

Cuomo paid a federal tax rate of under 18 percent and he "no longer pays" a personal income tax in New York City. [Thomas Kaplan]

Cuomo's lieutenant governor won more than $2,000 in a single day at the races. [Joseph Spector]

Donations

There was 73.5 percent jump in donations from the hedge fund industry to New York pols and PACs between 2006 and 2010, according to Common Cause NY. [Andrew Grossman]

Smoking

Bloomberg will introduce a bill requiring residential buildings to say where prospective tenants can smoke, including which specific apartments. REBNY does not object. [Michael Howard Saul]

Food Stamps Mario Batali will live on a food-stamp budget for a week, as part of the #FoodStampChallengeNYC. [@ChriscQuinn]

Images

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The calm guy on the right is Rodney Capell. The excited people in the middle are Melissa Mark-Viverito and Diana Reyna. [Facebook]

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"Artist Julian Schnael makes a glorious appearance at tonight's Community Board 1 meeting." [Aaron Short]

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"Poor guy just proposed to his girl at halftime and she said no. Then got booed by fans at msg." [CeFaan Kim]

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The JFK Center for the Performing Arts. [Gregory Victor]