Bloomberg Seen More Likely Than Governor Bush To Run in 2008
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
While Mayor Bloomberg and Governor Bush of Florida have been named as possible 2008 presidential candidates, for now they’re on the same team.
Yesterday, the two appeared together at a Midtown breakfast to discuss education reform.
Each has publicly denied having plans to run, although Mr. Bloomberg has done so with a wink and a nod as he chatters with political strategists about a possible third-party candidacy. Meanwhile, political analysts say Mr. Bush will probably sit out the 2008 race because it would be too politically challenging to succeed his brother in the White House.
An increasing number of political analysts are taking Mr. Bloomberg seriously, mapping out the states he could win: New York, California, Ohio, and Florida, to name a few.
“There are enough states and he has enough money that he could do it,” a political consultant, Joseph Mercurio, said. “The best situation for Bloomberg is if the Republican is very conservative and the Democratic is liberal.”
Mr. Mercurio said he expects the Florida governor to go into the private sector until at least 2012, but that if Mr. Bush did run he’d probably be too moderate a Republican for Mr. Bloomberg to challenge. “If Newt Gingrich were the Republican candidate I think that would sort of clinch it for Bloomberg,” Mr. Mercurio said, referring to the former speaker of the House.
Mr. Mercurio said Mr. Bloomberg, a lifelong Democrat who became a Republican just before running for mayor, could suck away votes from both parties in different states, depending on the other nominees.
For now, Messrs. Bloomberg and Bush are on the same side, advocating for improvements to the No Child Left Behind Act, which is up for re-authorization in Congress. The two recently coauthored an op-ed piece in the Washington Post outlining four ideas for improving the federal law.
Also yesterday, Mr. Bloomberg unveiled a template report card — modeled on a similar one in Florida — to grade the city’s public schools (on a scale of A to F) starting next year.
The schools chancellor, Joel Klein, said schools that get failing grades will be closed after four years, and that principals whose schools fail for two years will be fired.
“We’re not fooling around here,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Mr. Bush said implementing the report card in Florida was “very traumatic” at first, but that “the great majority of the schools that were D and F schools in the first year became C, And B, and A schools.”
Mr. Bloomberg also said the city was considering tying teachers’ salaries to the performance of their students — a system strongly opposed by the United Federation of Teachers.
Mr. Bloomberg’s independent style when it comes to schools has been consistent with his approach to other issues. He has taken on gun control, education reform, and immigration in ways that have not always been popular, but have gotten him national attention and allowed him to align himself with a host of politicians from both political parties.
Last month, he attended an event in California with Governor Schwarzenegger, a moderate Republican, and next month he is hosting a fund-raiser for Senator Lieberman, a Democrat turned Independent.
A professor of political science at the University of South Florida, Susan McManus, noted that Mr. Bloomberg is just one of several New Yorkers being buzzed about for 2008.
“It looks like it’s going to be New York all the way, between Hillary, and Bloomberg, and Pataki, and Giuliani,” she said. “I think the question a lot of people are asking is: ‘How many New Yorkers are going to run?'”
Another political observer said a Bloomberg run was far more plausible than a Bush run. He said a Bloomberg candidacy would make both parties “quake.”