Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg would be foolish to choose anyone other than Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota as his running mate in the presidential race.
He’s not foolish.
America needed a manager in 2016 and got one in Donald Trump. Differences in goals and priorities aside, with Mr. Bloomberg, America can have a different manager — and one of considerably more means.
When a newly merged Wall Street investment firm showed him the door in 1981, he used his rainy-day stash of $10 million to help found an outfit that now employs 20,000 people worldwide.
By March 2009, he had turned that $10 million into $16 billion — 1,600 times his original investment.
As of now, Mr. Bloomberg has grown his company and investments to the point where his net worth tops $61 billion.
That’s his cash plus what he can get for all his buildings, land, bonds and stocks minus the money he owes.
Can you wrap your brain around $61 billion? No? Well, he can’t, either. It’s way too big for mortal minds — more than 6,000 times his original $10 million investment.
Mr. Bloomberg’s $61 billion is 30 times President Trump’s net worth, says Forbes Magazine.
It’s also umpteen times Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s $12 million net worth, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden’s $9 million, Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders’ $2.5 million, Ms. Klobuchar’s $2 million and Andrew Yang’s measly $1 million.
There is one nomination chaser whose net worth you can wrap your brain around: former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s $100,000, which sinks him 20,000 leagues under his Democratic presidential rivals.
So why Ms. Klobuchar, who’s as Caucasian as they come, and not California Sen. Kamala D. Harris, who has African heritage — and was a brief hit on the Democratic presidential “Look at Me!” debate circuit?
Because Ms. Harris, the first debater to stab Slow Joe, comes off as a Brutus in drag, the last thing the top of a ticket wants anywhere near him.
Ms. Klobuchar connects with people but not well enough to pose any attention-grabbing threat to Mr. Bloomberg on his July 17-to-Nov. 3 general-election slog.
At last recount, she placed fifth in the Iowa caucuses two Mondays ago. A final, definitive tally is expected one hour before End Times.
Ms. Klobuchar is a fiddle made for second. She has the policy savvy to match her political savvy. Minnesotans — whose average January temperature is 4 degrees Fahrenheit — warmed to her enough to award her three six-year terms in the U.S. Senate.
And she is one of those rare Democrats not in perpetual danger of falling off the left edge of the American political stage.
But wait, there’s less. At 5 feet 4 inches, Ms. Klobuchar will stand less tall by 4 inches than Mr. Bloomberg — requisite optics for the two-person ticket game.
That doesn’t stop America’s Insulter-in-Chief, who stands 6 feet 3 inches in his cashmere socks, from calling his probable fall opponent “Mini Mike.”
“Probable opponent” will turn actual in Milwaukee this July when 1,990 delegates and 775 superdelegates take a final look at the field, then drop to their knees and beg the founder of Bloomberg LP to be their standard-bearer.
Mr. Bloomberg is betting a billion or two on it.
The question is whether Mr. Bloomberg will wither under Mr. Trump’s searing sizzle — or have the Donald’s extraordinary personal appeal.
On a cold, rainy Monday before the New Hampshire primary on Tuesday, Mr. Trump upstaged the whole Democratic field. His presence filled the overflow area outside a Manchester arena that holds about 11,000 people.
Ms. Klobuchar won’t help Mr. Bloomberg attract crowds like that. But as the senior senator and former district attorney from Minnesota, she does connect with people — but not with enough dazzle to bring unease to the top of the ticket.
And she’ll be 60 by the July nominating convention. Perfect.
Old enough to have accumulated wisdom but not so old that she can’t remember half of it, like some other Democrat who’ll go unmentioned here.
But can Mr. Bloomberg compete with that Trump sizzle?
Lavish spending by Mr. Bloomberg on his anti-gun crusade and his nanny-state preachments probably won’t work in crucial Electoral College states that Mr. Trump captured in 2016.
Remember, Mr. Bloomberg got city lawmakers to put a lid on the ounces of sugared beverages that could be sold in the five boroughs over which he ruled for 12 years as New York’s thrice-elected mayor.
He got smoking banned in restaurants, bars, hotels and everywhere else but people’s own homes.
He also proposed banning cellphones in schools.
An absolutist on the holiness of free trade, he could undo whatever fairness to the U.S. that the president has managed to add.
Another potential problem for Mr. Bloomberg is that his social liberalism has at times made him look untethered from the real world. He supported the building of an Islamic complex near Ground Zero after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. It knocked his approval rating for a loop.
Most depressing for some of his more moderate admirers is that as mayor, he favored stop-and-frisk; now he’s apologizing for it.
Mr. Bloomberg has plenty of pluses, like warm conservative hearts on taxes, spending and budget balancing.
“To me, fiscal conservatism means balancing budgets — not running deficits that the next generation can’t afford,” he said in a 2007 speech to the British Conservative Party.
“It means improving the efficiency of delivering services by finding innovative ways to do more with less …, cutting taxes when possible and prudent …, raising them overall only when necessary to balance the budget, and only in combination with spending cuts,” he told his Tory audience.
“It means when you run a surplus, you save it; you don’t squander it,” he added, bring tears of joy to those Brits enduring a Labor Party majority at the time.
That was then; he’s now saying he wants to raise taxes on the rich.
But for conservatives and many independents, the biggest feather in his cap, if he wore one, would be his sticking with school choice and charter schools — private and public — which teachers’ unions rightly see as ways to break their deadly stranglehold on public education.
What likely will cripple him in the Electoral College are his firearms phobia, his wanting to “create a pathway to citizenship for 11 million undocumented people” (Democrat-speak for illegal aliens) and the now even more invincible-looking Mr. Trump as an incumbent.
That gives the Mike-and-Amy team a shelf life of nine months and counting.
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