A Michael Bloomberg (or other possible independent candidate) Effect
A recent op-ed in the New York Times by Thomas Friedman expresses my sentiment about the upcoming 2012 presidential election. As Friedman puts it, “This election has to be about those hard choices, smart investments and shared sacrifices…But, today, neither party is generating that mandate- talking seriously enough about the taxes that will have to be raised or the entitlement spending that will have to be cut to put us on sustainable footing, let alone offering an inspired vision of American renewal that might motivate such sacrifice.”
Friedman believes that in order to generate a serious discussion about these key topics in the upcoming debates, a third party candidate like Michael Bloomberg is needed, and I agree. I feel that with the looming debt that hangs over our heads, Bloomberg could be the guy to point out that neither the liberals nor the conservatives have a solid option. Obama has deployed the Buffet Rule smoke screen and fails to talk about cuts, and Romney continues to pander to his base and oppose tax hikes. As I posted in a previous blog regarding the Simpson Bowles plan, perhaps Bloomberg is the guy to embrace the plan as a sensible solution to our fiscal problems and give it some serious attention during the debates.
As I believe Friedman rightly points out, if Bloomberg does decide to run, then his presence in the debates should have an effect of pulling Romney and Obama to the middle on certain issues, especially economic policy. If that becomes the case, we may even see Congressmen up for election move increasingly toward the middle in order to take advantage of centrist sentiment that is being brought to light. Without the presence of someone like Bloomberg, however, our country will likely get more of the same: polarized proposals that don’t really solve anything.