First the Republican governor of New Jersey, and now the conservative independent mayor of New York City: Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed Barack Obama for president.
In an editorial in his eponymous publication, after heaping praise and criticism on both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, Bloomberg finally chooses Obama, saying (links are from original source):
When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America.One believes a woman’s right to choose should be protected for future generations; one does not. That difference, given the likelihood of Supreme Court vacancies, weighs heavily on my decision.
One recognizes marriage equality as consistent with America’s march of freedom; one does not. I want our president to be on the right side of history.
One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.
I'm not quite sure that Obama has done as much as the Mayor thinks he has in terms of combatting climate change, to put it mildly, or will do so in the future. But he is absolutely correct in saying that Obama will do more than Romney, whose policies would actively make climate change worse.
Bloomberg's endorsement is likely to have little effect locally in swaying voters—NYC seems to be solidly Obama territory—but it may swing independents in a wider arc.
Barack Obama warmly welcomed the endorsement, his campaign issuing the following statement:
I'm honored to have Mayor Bloomberg's endorsement. I deeply respect him for his leadership in business, philanthropy and government, and appreciate the extraordinary job he's doing right now, leading New York City through these difficult days.
While we may not agree on every issue, Mayor Bloomberg and I agree on the most important issues of our time - that the key to a strong economy is investing in the skills and education of our people, that immigration reform is essential to an open and dynamic democracy, and that climate change is a threat to our children's future, and we owe it to them to do something about it. Just as importantly, we agree that whether we are Democrats, Republicans, or independents, there is only one way to solve these challenges and move forward as a nation - together. I look forward to thanking him in person - but for now, he has my continued commitment that this country will stand by New York in its time of need. And New Yorkers have my word that we will recover, we will rebuild, and we will come back stronger.
On the endorsement text itself, I will say this: Bloomberg solidly comes across like the billionaire plutocrat that he is. The Mayor says Obama,
Rather than uniting the country around a message of shared sacrifice, he engaged in partisan attacks and has embraced a divisive populist agenda focused more on redistributing income than creating it.
Let's see... A divisive populist agenda redistributing income? I entirely fail to see a populist agenda in Obama's policies or significant reining in of the excesses of Wall Street or anything to lessen the widening gap between the haves and have nots.
Bloomberg then says Obama can succeed, without a Democratically controlled Congress,
If he listens to people on both sides of the aisle, and builds the trust of moderates, he can fulfill the hope he inspired four years ago and lead our country toward a better future for my children and yours.
The trust of moderates? I know the Mayor travels widely internationally so surely he realizes that in any other nation in the world, or indeed this one just a few decades ago, Obama himself would be seen as at best a moderate. Only in the distorted world of US politics since the second Bush administration, the rise of the Tea Party, can Obama be seen as anything left of center.