Whoever wants to be the U.S. president has to begin the race with the right running mate. Michael Bloomberg can talk to all the camps, plus he’s a good manager.

If Barack Obama is honest about himself he will admit two things: first, that his greatest weakness is his lack of experience in economic matters, and the other is that in order to be taken seriously he needs a running mate who understands the markets and has experience in the workings of government.

The team governing the White House could be faced with many fundamental realignment issues or even a total reinvention of the American economic model. After decades of complacency when America fancied itself economically superior to the rest of the world, it’s finally time they recognize that the rest of the world has long since copied and improved upon that formula for success. American decision-makers have failed for too long to renew their economic model.

Such touchy subjects as the distribution of wealth and questions of who is to be taxed have been ignored in public discussion for far too long. The same goes for blind faith in deregulation that - combined with incompetent financial supervision – is proving fatal to so many on Wall Street. Too, it also applies to the questions of why American consumers have no savings, why they consistently consume too much, why the United States pays only lip service to environmental protection, why the immigration question is being politicized, and why the health system is so wasteful.

Some observers believe that the task list facing the next US president is so long that it resembles those challenges faced by Central and Eastern European countries after the fall of communism. This problem-laden agenda is perhaps the reason why presidential candidates spend so much time talking about Iraq The solution to that problem may be lengthy but perhaps it’s relatively simple compared with the others.

If this analysis is correct and if there continues to be looming economic uncertainty in the United States, then Obama has only one choice for his running mate: New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg. As a former Democrat who switched to the Republican party and since claims himself an independent, the man who founded the financial information service that bears his name, appeals to all political camps. Were Obama to choose him, the image of Republican candidate John McCain as a centrist would be weakened. Bloomberg was a successful mayor of New York City. He is regarded as a good manager and a team player.

It is likely that economic issues will quickly migrate upward on the future president’s list of priorities. Thus it should concern Obama that McCain, seeking to resolve the internal conflict with the conservative wing of his party, may suggest his former foe Mitt Romney as his running mate: Romney has, as a successful businessman, prestige in the economic community. But despite his wealth and reputation as a capable manager, he appeared unusually wooden as a campaigner.

But no matter what benefits Romney would bring to McCain, Bloomberg as Obama’s VP would not only offset them, he would probably top them. Nevertheless, there would be doubts whether it’s such a good idea to pair Obama with Bloomberg: Do the Democrats really dare to nominate an African-American and a Jew? Wouldn’t that destroy the otherwise good prospects of the party in the coming election?

The fact that such considerations even exist is a source of astonishment in many parts of the world. Is it not high time that the United States, the self-appointed guardian of freedom and independence, rids itself of such outdated thinking? Certainly. This way of thinking has been obsolete for at least 50 years. Perhaps it is time for Americans to finally offer proof of their convictions.

Stephan Richter is editor of the online magazine The Globalist, www.theglobalist.com.