Obama Lunches With Bloomberg? Here's What's Really Afoot When it Comes to Political Money
Right now the political world is buzzing with speculation over aNew York Times report that President Obama recently had lunch with New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Most commentary focuses on how a thaw in the two men's often rocky personal relationship might advance the President's reelection campaign. As the Times story put it: a reconciliation between the two men could help Obama garner support from "centrist, independent voters drawn to Mr. Bloomberg's brand of politics."
Look again. This story is a case study in how scrutinizing the news in light of some basic facts about political money can change your view of what is really afoot. In 2008, the Mayor took a long time making up his mind whether or not to run as an independent candidate for President. Before he finally said no, several different, sometimes well financed groups sprouted to promote the idea. Bloomberg, of course, owns a major media outlet himself, but much of the rest of the major media waxed enthusiastically about a "centrist" candidacy by a billionaire with a prospect for bridging what even then was widely regarded as the Devil's Canyon yawning between America's two major parties. Once the Mayor withdrew, close observers noted a striking resemblance between the independent groups and Cheshire Cat - they were fading away, but not quite disappearing.