By Pam Martens and Russ Martens: February 20, 2020 ~
Michael Bloomberg reaffirmed for those who have turned off the news since January 20, 2017 that no one, not even his own mock debate team, dares to tell a powerful billionaire what he doesn’t want to hear. And that’s one of the key reasons that billionaires are so dangerous to high public office – they hear only their own voice.
Bloomberg’s performance on the Democratic Debate stage last night was painfully embarrassing. It was like watching an overly-hyped downhill skier, in his first appearance at the U.S. Olympics, trip on his skies getting off the chair lift and slide down the mountain on his belly – making a few awkward groans on the way down.
Voters across the country who had been inundated with Bloomberg’s $409 million in advertisements (ten times what Senator Bernie Sanders has spent) were likely shaking their heads in amazement that such an amateur had made it onto the debate stage with three U.S. Senators and a former Vice President.
To give you a broader assessment of just how lacking in charisma and oratory skills the former Mayor of New York City was last night, Politico Magazine asked 14 political experts for their views on the debate. This is a sampling of what they had to say about Bloomberg:
Alan Schroeder, Professor, School of Journalism at Northeastern University in Boston: “In his ubiquitous TV ads, Bloomberg depicts himself as an Obama-like progressive with the passion and know-how to set the country on a correction course. But in his first debate, Bloomberg came off as something quite different: a bland, clueless billionaire with feet of clay. Despite extensive preparation, Bloomberg was totally unready for the rough-and-tumble of a presidential primary debate, unready even for issues he must certainly have known would come up. Democratic voters hoping that Bloomberg might swoop in and grab the nomination on the basis of charisma and superior performance skills instead ended up with one more name to cross off their list.”
Michelle Bernard, political analyst, lawyer, author, president and CEO of the Bernard Center for Women, Politics & Public Policy: “After 10 weeks of hype, millions of dollars spent on ads, endorsements from highly respected members of the African American community and a double-digit surge in the polls, we learned that Bloomberg does not deserve any of the African American support he has received to date. From stop and frisk to overt and unapologetic sexism, the former mayor appears to be nothing more than Trump bathed in blue.”
Larry J. Sabato, founder and Director of the University of Virginia’s Center for Politics and contributing editor at Politico Magazine. “Bloomberg was the foremost loser. To be blunt, he was terrible. It’s been about a dozen years since his last debate, so I didn’t suppose he’d shine. But I never expected him to look timid and act nervous….”
John Neffinger, speaker coach, lecturer on political communication at Georgetown University and Columbia Business School, and former communications director of the Democratic National Committee: “Bloomberg, who had a case to make but was not prepared to take incoming fire, didn’t make a strong case for his progressive credentials and showed no charisma or spark—suggesting that it might be a dreary four years with him on our screens and radios every day.”
Jennifer Lawless, Professor of Politics at the University of Virginia: “To say that Bloomberg underperformed is to understate how poor the former mayor’s performance really was. He was disengaged, ill-prepared to respond to questions he was sure to be asked—from allegations of sexism to racism to classism—and seemingly unaware that he needed to convince Democrats that he could defeat Trump. He exhibited neither the fiery energy embodied in his recent tweets nor the acumen of a politician who needs to seal a deal.”
Read the full analysis at Politico here.
The worst moment of the night for Bloomberg came from Senator Elizabeth Warren who stunned the audience with this:
“I’d like to talk about who we’re running against: a billionaire who calls women ‘fat broads’ and ‘horse-faced lesbians.’ And, no, I’m not talking about Donald Trump. I’m talking about Mayor Bloomberg. Democrats are not going to win if we have a nominee who has a history of hiding his tax returns, of harassing women and of supporting racist policies like redlining and stop and frisk. Look, I’ll support whoever the Democratic nominee is, but understand this, Democrats take a huge risk if we just substitute one arrogant billionaire for another. This country has worked for the rich for a long time and left everyone else in the dirt. It is time to have a President who will be on the side of working families and be willing to get out there and fight for them. That is why I am in this race and that is how I will beat Donald Trump.”
Bloomberg has, without exaggeration, been attempting to buy his seat in the Oval Office by funding his own campaign out of his $61.5 billion net worth – the bulk of which came from leasing data terminals to Wall Street banks’ trading floors around the globe. (Curiously, the chat rooms on those Bloomberg terminals were the venue of choice for Wall Street traders engaged in rigging markets.) On Monday we reported on the questionable ways that Bloomberg is using his cash to tip the scales in his favor. (See Bloomberg Has Built a Star Wars Machine to Try to Steal the Democratic Nomination.) On Wednesday, the Wall Street Journal reported that Bloomberg was paying hundreds of social-media influencers $2500 per month to “post regularly on their personal social-media accounts in support of the candidate and send text messages to their friends about him.”
After last’s night performance, it has become quite clear why Bloomberg needs to pay people to “like” him and call him cool.