New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg has, by all accounts, put serious thought into seeking the presidency.
There was a good deal of spectulation heading into the 2012 contest—as there had been heading into the 2008 contest—that the billionaire businessman (the eleventh-wealthiest American) who once seemed to be the last hope for liberal “Rockefeller Republicanism” before switching his party affiliation to “independent” during the latter stages of the Bush-Cheney interregnum, might run on a new third-party line or as an unaffiliated contender. But it never happened.
So Bloomberg is campaigning without the campaign.
Since last month’s Dark Knight shootings in Aurora, Colorado, last month, the mayor of the nation’s largest city has emerged as the most outspoken advocate for an active and engaged government response to a rash of gun violence. And now, following the horrific shootings at the Sikh Temple of Wisconsin—in which an alleged white-supremacist gunman killed six worshipers and shot many others, including a police officer—Bloomberg has coupled his antiviolence advocacy with a renewed championship of religious tolerance.
Appearing with Sikh leaders at a community center in the New York borough of Queens, Bloomberg declared, “No matter who you are, no matter where you’re from, no matter what religion you profess, you have a right to be safe in your homes, in your places of worship and in the streets of New York City. We have no tolerance for intolerance.”
That was a more aggressive line than the ones taken by President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney. Both Obama and Romney made sound and sensitive, if rather tepid, statements. Romney decried to the killings as “a senseless act of violence and a tragedy that should never befall any house of worship.” The president, who ordered that US flags be flown at half staff at the White House and other officials buildings through Friday, offered a soft embrace of the religious tolerance: “It is important to reaffirm that regardless of what we look like or where we come from or where we worship, we are all one people and we look after one another in this country,”