Dear Reader (including all of you who “consented” to sign NDAs for Michael Bloomberg),
So much for my crazy idea that Michael Bloomberg might emerge from the debate a stronger candidate. I still think he’s a force in the race, with a better shot than the conventional wisdom suggests. But he didn’t definitely didn’t emerge stronger. I had thought that if Bloomberg went in by leaning into his caricature as an arrogant bigshot—dismissive of these mere politicians who screw up everything, swatting away attacks as the desperate ploys of Washington hacks—he would come out, in the words of Osama bin Laden as the “strong horse.” That “strategy” worked for Donald Trump, a billionaire former Democrat. Why not for Bloomberg, a billionaire former Republican? (Though I should note that he was a Democrat before he became a Republican to run for mayor of New York. In other words, Bloomberg’s credentials as a Democrat are at least as good as Sanders.’)
He didn’t do that. Rather than say, “Pfft, of course I’m not going to release those NDAs, that’s ridiculous,” or even the Trumpier, “I’d love to release them, but my lawyers won’t allow it,” he seemed shocked that the question even came up. He looked like a milquetoast college president dealing with furious faculty members—which put Elizabeth Warren in her truest element.
At National Review, Michael Brendan Dougherty warned ahead of time that Bloomberg shouldn’t go—and he was right for precisely the reasons he said. But there are other reasons he should have waited. The whole conceit of Bloomberg’s candidacy boils down to, “People of Earth, stop your bickering. I’m Michael Bloomberg and I’m here to help.” If Spock visited Earth, he wouldn’t compete at the high school science fair. He’d just be like, “Here’s a replicator, bitches.” (Or words to that effect.)