He sounds pretty committed when talking to Couric, and yet, and yet…

In a stinging and blunt address that at times sounded like a campaign speech, Mr. Bloomberg described a point-by-point plan for reigniting entrepreneurship and growth, calling for tax cuts for businesses, an overhaul of regulations and investments in job training…

“Last month, voters turned against Democrats in Washington for the same reason they turned against Republicans in 2006,” Mr. Bloomberg said. “Democrats now, and Republicans then, spent more time and energy conducting partisan warfare than forging centrist solutions to our toughest economic problems.”…

The sweeping scope of the speech and its deliberate timing, just weeks after Mr. Bloomberg endorsed a flurry of moderate candidates in the midterm elections, instantly intensified speculation about his political ambitions. Next week, he is scheduled to speak at the formal unveiling of a national group called No Labels, which will seek to combat partisan gridlock with chapters in every Congressional district…

“Both parties follow the mood of the moment — instead of leading from the front,” he said. “They incite anger instead of addressing it — for their own partisan interests. They tell the world about every real or imagined problem in America, and not what is right with America.”

Gosh, if only there were a prominent self-funded DINO/RINO compromise candidate who could “lead from the front.” Is Meg Whitman available, maybe?

His rationale to date for not running is that a third-party candidate is unlikely to win a majority of electoral votes, and would therefore be a sure loser once the election went to the House of Representatives to be decided. But here’s a striking line from another part of his interview with Couric:

We have to help the President succeed. If you want to run against him, and I don’t, and I won’t, but if you wanted to do that, the time to do that is near the next election.

By “you,” I don’t think he means the GOP nominee. If he truly believes a third-party candidate can’t win, why would he say that the next election is the optimal time to take Obama on? Maybe his calculation is this: Given the ongoing liberal meltdown over The One’s tax cuts deal and establishment Republican jitters about Palin, there might be enough votes in the House to elect an independent president if that independent somehow managed to win a mere plurality of electoral votes. The argument would be straightforward — in a democracy you do what the people want, which means representatives should put party aside and make the man with the most EVs president. Are there enough Blue Dogs, disgruntled liberals, and centrist Republicans in the House to make that compromise, knowing that the backlash from their respective bases — especially for Republicans, who’ll have a House majority — would be ferocious? The GOP would have a particularly tough choice since denying the presidency to their own nominee would guarantee primary challenges across the board in 2014 whereas denying it to the independent plurality winner would alienate crucial centrists in the next general election. Then again, how many DINOs and RINOs are left at this point in the House to form a Bloomberg coalition? Most of the Blue Dogs are gone and, thanks to the tea party, the GOP side is even more conservative than it was before. Bloomy would need to peel away disgruntled liberals from Obama to have any chance at winning, but that won’t happen. Have a look at Salon’s predictable sneering reaction to the pro-business provisions in today’s speech to see why. The media might love him, but there’s simply no path for him to the White House.