I’m as skeptical as you are. But.
It’s fabulous political gossip, fully worthy of the siren treatment Drudge is giving it.
We’re at the stage of the Bloomberg boomlet right now where the sheer improbability of his rise to national contender leaves one reluctant to second-guess him, even on something as outlandish as this. Trump has long enjoyed the same benefit of the doubt. He could rip a fart at a meeting with the Pope and some share of the commentariat would grasp for ways to explain it as a case of him playing eight-dimensional chess. He broke all the rules in 2016 and won the presidency, didn’t he? He knows something about politics that the rest of us don’t. Don’t question his instincts. Bloomberg’s going to experience some of that same generosity until his surge in the polls reverses.
Sources close to Bloomberg campaign tell DRUDGE REPORT that candidate is considering Hillary Clinton as running mate, after their polling found the Bloomberg-Clinton combination would be formidable force… MORE
DRUDGE has learned that Bloomberg himself would go as far as to change his official residence from New York to homes he owns in Colorado or Florida, since the electoral college makes it hard for a POTUS and VPOTUS from the same state… Developing..
The political junkies at FiveThirtyEight seem to agree that this would be, well, nuts — but even in that context, the “Bloomberg’s being smart” benefit of the doubt shines through:
Well, but any day that the media spends talking about Bloomberg instead of Buttigieg or Klobuchar, or even Biden’s somewhat resilient polling in Southern states, is probably good news for Bloomberg. He doesn’t want any of the other moderates to emerge with momentum… https://t.co/fhNvLAqfkz
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) February 15, 2020
Here, watch as I try to talk myself into believing that a Bloomberg/Hillary ticket would be a master stroke of political genius. Yes, fine, let’s grant up front that since her loss in 2016 Hillary has been roughly as popular nationally as coronavirus. That being said:
1. She has fans in the Democratic Party. And for all her unpopularity, she got more votes than Trump did in 2016 and came within a hair’s breadth in several swing states of winning the presidency.
2. Bloomberg’s mammoth spending binge on ads can introduce him to voters but it won’t necessarily make him their preferred choice. “Why should I prefer this guy to Joe Biden or Mayor Pete or even Bernie for that matter? Who the hell is he? What are his policies?” Hillary, however, is a name brand. Having her as VP-in-waiting would serve as a form of quickie vetting for some voters: “If she’s comfortable with him as president, I’d probably be comfortable with him too.” Is there anyone else in America at this point besides Obama whose support would more quickly identify someone as a mainstream Democrat worth taking seriously to the average primary voter?
3. Bloomberg’s campaign thus far has been all about Trump and the urgent need for Democrats to unseat him. That’s a shrewd pitch, not just because so many Dems agree but because it encourages them to overlook Bloomberg’s many faults in the name of anti-Trump unity. No one better personifies the “Trump must go” message than Hillary Clinton, who’s been relitigating the last election in various ways since the moment she conceded. Choosing her as VP would crystallize Bloomberg’s message of “let’s undo the mistake we made in 2016 and worry about the rest later.”
4. He turned 78 years old yesterday. He seems spry, but voters will obviously notice his age at some point. He needs a VP who — deep breath here for the cliche — will be “ready to govern on day one.” Et voila.
5. Our friend Mike may have himself a #MeToo problem. WaPo is rocking this banner headline for a new story out today:
A small taste:
In the most high-profile example, a top saleswoman, Sekiko Sakai Garrison, alleged that Bloomberg told female salespeople about a male colleague getting married: “All of you girls line up to give him [oral sex] as a wedding present.” And, the lawsuit said, when Bloomberg saw certain women, he said, “I’d f— that in a second.”…
Garrison alleged that Bloomberg berated female employees who got pregnant. “What the hell did you do a thing like that for?” Bloomberg allegedly told one pregnant employee. On another occasion, the lawsuit said, Bloomberg berated a female employee who had trouble finding a nanny. “It’s a f—— baby! . . . All you need is some black who doesn’t have to speak English to rescue it from a burning building.”…
When Bloomberg learned on April 11, 1995, that Garrison was pregnant, according to her suit, he allegedly said to her, “Kill it!” Garrison asked Bloomberg to repeat what he said, and she said he responded, “Kill it! Great! Number 16!,” which she took as a reference to the number of pregnant women and new mothers at the company.
He can bribe his way out of most problems. But not quite every problem.
Which, one would assume, explains today’s conveniently timed leak to Drudge. He knows he’s going to be hammered for sexism by his opponents, including and especially at the next debate, and he needs a way to change the subject. Solution: Whisper to the most influential reporter on the Internet that none other than Hillary Clinton — a Drudge obsession for decades — is in the mix for VP. How sexist can Bloomy be if he’s ready to join forces with the almost First Woman President, right? And if nothing else, a juicy “Bloomberg/Clinton?!” scoop at the top of Drudge ensures that the WaPo story isn’t at the top of Drudge instead.
Judging from Bloomberg’s Twitter feed over the past 24 hours, it looks like he was bracing for a story questioning his relationships with women to break. Presumably WaPo tipped him off that it was coming by asking his campaign for comment before it ran, leaving Team Mike scrambling for ways to counterprogram it. For instance:
Mike has always hired women to lead, promoted women to lead, and supported women in balancing work with family. He has zero tolerance for an environment where women aren’t respected or don’t have a seat at the table and a voice. pic.twitter.com/R10ugOAiPT
— Team Bloomberg (@Mike2020) February 15, 2020
All of my success in life — everything I’ve done — is thanks to the strong women around me.
But more than ever, women’s rights are under attack.
As president, I will defend Roe v. Wade and protect the right to choose. pic.twitter.com/ONcsFIHvLu
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 15, 2020
I would not be where I am today without the talented women around me. I’ve depended on their leadership, their advice and their contributions. As I’ve demonstrated throughout my career, I will always be a champion for women in the workplace. https://t.co/WU2FqULgdU
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 15, 2020
And now he, or someone on the campaign, has topped it off by assuring Drudge that the most famous woman in America might be on his ticket. Go figure.
Imagine it, bro. A mega-billionaire plutocrat who bought off the Democratic elite en route to the second-most unlikely presidential nomination in history choosing as his running mate the candidate who dismissed half of Trump’s voters as “deplorables.” Populist magic. Not a single voter to the left of, say, Elizabeth Warren would turn out to vote this fall.
He’s going to have to choose someone if he wins, though. Who? Logically he should choose a populist to “balance” the ticket but Bloomberg doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who’d listen to populists even if it were to his benefit somehow to do so. I can picture him choosing, say, Lloyd Blankfein and saying at his convention speech, “Suck it, socialists. You want to stay home and reelect Trump? Be my guest. It’s your funeral.”
Exit question: Who’s going to be Bernie’s VP? Logically he should want to balance his ticket too by choosing someone more mainstream but he’s also the kind of guy who appears unlikely to compromise. What kind of socialist revolution would it be, after all, with a poseur like Kamala Harris as number two? TNR reports today that Sanders fans like two candidates: Nina Turner, a former state legislator who’s now co-chair of the campaign, and, er … Tulsi Gabbard. Given Gabbard’s chumminess with Fox News, her wimpy “present” vote on Trump’s impeachment, and her age (we’re going to put a 38-year-old second in line behind a 79-year-old president with heart trouble?), I’m guessing that’s a nonstarter. Although President Tulsi’s eventual tripartite pact with Assad and Khamenei would no doubt be, uh, bold.