He is not, in any conventional sense, a candidate. He is not even bothering to participate in the Iowa caucus or the New Hampshire primary, ostensibly because he entered the process too late, but really, one suspects, because he thinks he is above having to around shaking the hands of hog farmers and schoolteachers at meet-and-greets in diners and old folks’ homes. Instead, his strategy is simply to spend a lot of money buying up television ads during the NFL playoffs (a spot during the Vikings-Saints game is what reminded this correspondent that he is actually seeking the presidency). How much money are we talking? More than a $100 million so far — to say nothing of an upcoming $10 million dollar spot during the Super Bowl.
A more interesting question to ask about Bloomberg, though, is where the voters are supposed to enter into all this. It is all well and good to point out that after the first three nominating contests are held, we might still be far away from having a clear frontrunner. (I for one would not be surprised if Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina were all won by different candidates.) Does that mean that suddenly, because his name was on television a few times, people who think that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too radical and Joe Biden too old will suddenly be overcome with enthusiasm for the 77-year-old billionaire former mayor? I have to say that I don’t quite it happening. Never mind the slime that will be thrown at him during debates (assuming he ever qualifies for one) on account of his vast wealth. How exactly do we expect him to respond to someone like Biden saying, “With all due respect to the mayor, Big Gulps are not a problem the American people are worried about. The American people are worried about how they are going to pay their bills, how they are going to make their car payments and get a good education for their children and affordable health care.”