On Sunday, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg flatly ruled out an independent run for president in 2012. On Monday, he appeared at the national unveiling in New York of No Labels...Especially if he's a billionaire!
It’s also possible, though, that he understands something about the modern political culture that many of those speculating about the purpose of No Labels do not — that an independent not only no longer needs to spend time encouraging the formation of a party organization to run for president, but he’s also probably better off without one.
... No Labels was created by two Washington consultants, the Democratic fund-raiser Nancy Jacobson and the Republican image-shaper Mark McKinnon, and its slick opening event featured throngs of journalists, free boxed lunches and a song written for the occasion by the pop sensation Akon. The group’s slogan, printed on T-shirts and banners, summarizes its purpose this way: “Not left. Not right. Forward.”Hey, that's the Wisconsin motto — "Forward." And free lunch, eh? There is a such thing as a free lunch. That could be a motto. Anyway, I just don't get the enthusiasm around Mayor Bloomberg.
Some commentators have speculated that No Labels could even form the basis of a serious third party, with the mayor at the helm, something America hasn’t seen since Ross Perot’s Reform Party collapsed from a long internal power struggle in 2000.Hmmm. Let me think. What is the similarity between Mayor Bloomberg and Ross Perot?
Here's what Rush Limbaugh said about No Labels yesterday:
Now, what is this? Well, let's take a look at who these people are. Mark McKinnon, Kiki McLean, Nancy Jacobson. I'll tell you what this is about. It is about money. These are political consultants. They need candidates. They need candidates running for office for whom they can take whatever the consultant gets, 5%, 10%, what have you. All three founders of No Labels are Democrats. They would love for Bloomberg to run for president. Why? Because he is a billionaire. Get him to run as an independent, maybe even third party. You know, sucker him into an independent run where they get the money, win or lose. Whether he wins or loses doesn't matter. They get the money. And he would lose. But there are always, as a friend of mine says, there are always political operatives who will tell a billionaire what he wants to hear....ADDED: Here's Byron York:
We know the founders are left-wing political consultants and we know that Democrat and liberal are labels that do not help political people these days. Of course they would want to get rid of them. By the same token, conservative is a good label. Naturally they would want to get rid of that. And naturally they would find some so-called pseudo smart Republicans who would agree with them on this. How many of these people belong to a particular religion, and why? Because of their belief system. Nothing wrong with labels as long as they are appropriate; as long as they are true; as long as they are properly descriptive. It's called language.
No Labels was formed by a group of Democratic and Republican political consultants. On the Democratic side, there is Nancy Jacobson, a former finance director of the Democratic National Committee and veteran of Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign. On the Republican side, there is Mark McKinnon, who worked for former President George W. Bush and Sen. John McCain before announcing, as the 2008 general election race got under way, that he would no longer work for McCain because, as he said at the time, "I just don't want to work against an Obama presidency."AND: Does Bloomberg maintain that he's not running for President?
Now, after two years of an Obama presidency and a Republican opposition, McKinnon believes something is terribly wrong. "Nancy called me about nine months ago and said she wanted to start an organization to address hyperpartisanship," McKinnon says. "She had me at hello."
The event featured appearances by a number of Democratic politicians: Villaraigosa, New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, and retiring Indiana Sen. Evan Bayh. For some reason, most of the Republicans who showed up were recently defeated officeholders: South Carolina Rep. Bob Inglis, Delaware Rep. Mike Castle, and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist. God knows why a group devoted to principle above politics would invite the opportunistic Crist to speak, but No Labels did.