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At first, I was a little intrigued by Michael Bloomberg’s running for President as an Independent. After all, the Republicans (at least the ones in the White House) have joined Ted Kennedy on immigration and the Democrats have marched so far left Hillary’s now a moderate, so I thought, maybe, shaking up the two-party system might be a good idea.

Then I talked to a friend in New York and got a dose of reality. He reports Bloomberg has been planning to run for a while and hopes he does for the more practical reasons: It means two liberals running for President. Then, he said, if Republicans nominate Fred Thompson we may be able to elect a conservative – which would be a pretty big challenge otherwise with the shadow of Bush hanging over the election.

His logic goes like this: With Bloomberg’s stands on taxes and issues like gay marriage he’s not going to carry a state in the South. And he won’t put a dent in a conservative anywhere else in the Republican base. So it won’t matter if he spends five hundred million dollars. He won’t hurt Republicans.

But he might win New York or Massachusetts or California. And he’ll be taking votes away from Hillary in swing states like Ohio, and Florida.

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