Thursday, June 28, 2007

Bloomberg: 'Short Jewish billionaire from New York'

He'd probably be the most-qualified candidate running for president, certainly the best choice from New York. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg's not in the race, remember?

The slow-burning fire was stoked last week when Bloomberg defected from the Republican party. By going independent, speculators speculated, he could galvanize those disgruntled conservative voters while snaking some of the Clinton and Obama vote. But no one really thinks he could win -- unless the Protocoals of the Elders of Zion really are true -- just that he'd make a boring race a lot more interesting.

The Forward's Jennifer Siegel, whose work I find detailed and insightful, has this report about Bloomberg redefining the role of Jewish pol.

Bloomberg the mayor has transformed himself into a politician whom the vast majority of New York Jews can get behind, even though he does not present himself as a typically “Jewish” politician. It’s a characteristic that some say could prove beneficial if the mayor — who derides himself as “a short, Jewish billionaire from New York” — launches the independent bid for the White House that is suggested by his recent decision to quit the Republican Party.

“Bloomberg has never run away from who he is, but he’s not running around waving a lulav, and he’s not holding up a mezuza all day long,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who worked for Bloomberg’s opponent in 2001, Mark Green. “And why should he? It’s part of his identity, but it’s not way up front, nor is anything else.”


“Mike Bloomberg is proud of being a Jew, but he’s a ‘WASH’ — a white, Anglo-Saxon Hebrew,” said Morris Offit, a partner of Bloomberg’s at Salomon Brothers. Offit has served with him on the boards of John Hopkins and The Jewish Museum. “Given his class and his secularity, he is a Jew, but in an ethnic and cultural sense.”

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