Mike Bloomberg’s White House aspirations look a bit dimmer today in the wake of the drubbing that Reshma Saujani took in her primary race against Carolyn Maloney yesterday.
The conventional wisdom among Democratic “strategists” is that if the economy is good in 2012, Obama wins the presidential election in a walk. And if it’s not, Mike Bloomberg will probably run a third party challenge.
Per Gallup, the net favorable/unfavorable ratings for both the Democratic and Republican parties is at an all-time low since 1992, with Republicans going from a +14 to a -22 and Democrats from a +16 to a -9 (as of May 2010). That, and Mike Bloomberg’s fat bankroll makes the consultant class think that circumstances will be fertile for a 3rd party run.
So it doesn’t bode well for Mayor Mike that the campaign spearheaded by his girlfriend Diana Taylor, namely Reshma Saujani’s primary challenge to Carolyn Maloney, was such an enormous failure. The Wall Street class fully understood that Taylor was a proxy for Bloomberg, and they opened up their wallets accordingly.
Taylor campaigned aggressively with Saujani up until the last minute.
The campaign brain trust, such as it was, included Taylor, long-time Bloomberg supporter Jerry Speyer of Tishman Speyer , and Bloomberg financial adviser Steve Rattner. (Rattner’s wife Maureen White, who also pulled out all the stops for Reshma, is the former DNC finance chair.) Even Bloomberg’s daughter Emma maxed out to Saujuani in the final days. Bloomberg’s inner circle spent months currying the support for Reshma from the same donors he would tap for a 2012 bid, and their very presence on a campaign finance report was enough to tank her campaign — even in New York.
Team Bloomberg thought they could kill two birds with one stone — install a Bloomberg loyalist, and send a message to members of Congress that they could and would exact a price for perceived lack of loyalty to Wall Street. In this case, by taking out Carolyn Maloney, who backed the financial regulation bill (and which, as Jon Walker notes, is the only action taken by the Democrats since Obama took office popular with a majority of the country).
There is some really twisted logic behind the notion that Obama would be vulnerable in 2012 if the economy’s bad, and yet the country would look to a creature of Wall Street like Mike Bloomberg for salvation. Of course, it’s equally twisted that the tea parties exploded in response to the bank bailouts, and yet Bain Capital billionaire Mitt Romney is their favorite for 2012. Maybe that gave them hope.
But it didn’t work out so well yesterday. The millions that Wall Street pumped into Saujani’s campaign at the behest of Team Bloomberg cast her irrevocably as a tool of Wall Street in the eyes of voters who have had quite enough from the financial oligarchy. She wound up with only a pathetic 19% of the vote.
Michael Bloomberg and his proxies couldn’t even orchestrate a serious challenge to a congressional seat in a year of unprecedented dissatisfaction with incumbents. If 19% doesn’t qualify as a public rebuke of their organizing abilities, I don’t know what does.