The Bloomberg Myth Explodes on Live TV

The Nevada debate offered voters vital information — including the exposure of Michael Bloomberg’s reputation for “electability”.

By Matt Taibbi and cross-posted from Rolling Stone.

What a catastrophe Wednesday night was for Mike Bloomberg. The New York plutocrat was kicked in the teeth by Elizabeth Warren in the first minutes — she denounced him as a Trump-like “arrogant billionaire” who called women “horse-faced lesbians” — and never made it back to his feet.

Bloomberg stood in mute fury as his $400 million campaign investment went up in smoke. His contempt for democracy and sense of entitlement surpass even Donald Trump, who at least likes crowds — Bloomberg’s joyless imperiousness makes Trump seem like Robin Williams.

That Bloomberg has been touted as a potential Democratic Party savior across the top ranks of politics and media is an extraordinary indictment of that group of people.

Some endorsements were straight cash transactions, in which politicians who owe their careers to Bloomberg’s largess repaid him with whatever compliments they could muster. How much does a man who radiates impatience with the idea of having to pretend to equal status with anyone have to spend to get someone to say something nice?

California Congressman Harley Rouda called him a “legendary businessman”: Bloomie gave her more than $4 million. New Jersey’s Mikie Sherrill got more than $2 million from Bloomberg’s Independence USA Super PAC, and in return the Navy vet said Bloomberg embodies “the integrity we need.”

Georgia’s Lucy McBath, a member of the congressional black caucus, got $4 million from Bloomberg PACs, and she endorsed him just as an audio clip was coming out of the ex-mayor talking about putting black men up “against the wall” in stop-and-frisk. News accounts of the endorsement frequently left out the financial ties.

That’s fine. If you give a politician $2 million or $4 million, it must be expected that he or she will say you approximate a human being.

But how does New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman excuse writing “Paging Michael Bloomberg”? (Well, Bloomberg philanthropies donated to Planet Word, “the museum my wife is building,” says Friedman, so there’s that.) How about Jonathan Chait at New York, who wrote, “Winning the election is starting to look hard. How about buying it instead?” Or John Ellis in The Washington Post, who declared Bloomberg the “dream candidate”?

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