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.
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 âJewishâ politician. Itâs a characteristic that some say could prove beneficial if the mayor â who derides himself as âa short, Jewish billionaire from New Yorkâ â launches the independent bid for the White House that is suggested by his recent decision to quit the Republican Party.
âBloomberg has never run away from who he is, but heâs not running around waving a lulav, and heâs not holding up a mezuza all day long,â said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic consultant who worked for Bloombergâs opponent in 2001, Mark Green. âAnd why should he? Itâs part of his identity, but itâs not way up front, nor is anything else.â
âMike Bloomberg is proud of being a Jew, but heâs a âWASHâ â a white, Anglo-Saxon Hebrew,â said Morris Offit, a partner of Bloombergâs at Salomon Brothers. Offit has served with him on the boards of John Hopkins and The Jewish Museum. âGiven his class and his secularity, he is a Jew, but in an ethnic and cultural sense.â