Bloomberg might help Democrats
The (albeit anonymous) take on a Bloomberg candidacy from a Republican strategist: it would help the Democrats.
This analysis is interesting because my initial thoughts on this were along the line of other liberal bloggers who theorized that Bloomberg would steal more votes from Dems than from Republicans. Why did I think this? Partially because independents are notoriously disgusted with both parties and may like the appeal of a "pox on both their houses" candidate. But also because Democrats, traditionally, have been more fickle about sticking with their nominee.
For the last two decades (at least as long as I have been paying attention to politics), the Republicans have been nearly lockstep in supporting their nominee. They may squawk along the way about this or that issue (Bush garnered a lot of negative feelings early in 2000 from the Freeper crowd), but when the time comes they were reliable button pushers for their party.
But Democrats (again, for at least as long as I have been paying attention), have a problem getting that kind of loyalty out of their members. Democrats in recent years have loved to toy with the idea of protest candidates (Nader) and candidates outside the mainstream (Perot, etc.) There was even a serious consideration of McCain in 2000 (if he were to have chosen an independent run back then). The worse example of this I can think of is the rumors in 2004 that Kerry was considering offering the VP slot to McCain.
It was a measure of how little faith Democrats had in their candidates that they would seriously consider adopting a right-winger like McCain as their Veep!
But the above mentioned strategist has a different take on this:
"I don't think he's ultimately going to damage the Dem too much because there's a lot of energy behind the Democratic Party right now. People are fired up about the Democratic candidates."
I think he may be right. I've never felt the kind of strong cross-section appeal of the leading Dem candidates (Hillary, Obama and Edwards) within the Democrats as I have felt this year. Democrats got the taste of victory in 2006 and they want it again, even more so, in 2008.
Meanwhile, the Republicans appear to be almost in despair because of their weak slate of candidates. Going so far as to wistfully dream of resurrecting Ronald Reagan in the body of Fred Thompson.
Perhaps this will finally be the year where the Democrats hold tight and it is the Republicans who split.