I admit it. I’m a Boomer. But please, whatever you do, don’t “OK Boomer” me. To reveal my boomerness, the post title is a reference to an old Dylan song, specifically the wild cover by Fairport Convention. Give it a listen, it’s a lot of fun.
So Mike’s in, which means Joe’s out, or going to be soon. Liz is in and Bernie’s definitely in. But Mike got in to drive them out (which won’t happen). That means Mike’s gonna be out eventually, and a few billion lighter. Which would mean that either Liz or Bernie are going to the last one in and everyone else will be out. Or at least that’s what I hope.
Anyone reading the NY Times will recall the periodic hand-wringing of their political reporters who write stories with the basic premise: Warren is the radical left flavor of the month, all of Punch Sulzberger Jr’s Country Club buddies are wringing their hands and desperately clutching their portfolios at the prospect of the barbarians at the gate, who threaten to ‘liberate them’ from proceeds of their latest billion-dollar stock deal. The Wall Street One-Percenters are crying out like the Israelites for a new corporate Moses to lead them to the promised land (or Palm Beach). They seek a new candidate from their class to enter the ring and fight valiantly to save their hard-won profits.
That’s where Mike comes in. He reads The Times. Hell, he’s probably Punch Jr’s drinking buddy at the club (or Jeff’s or Leon’s or Mark’s). Mike is the very picture of a corporate oligarch who can come to their rescue. He has the cash, he has the panache, he has the smarts. Hell, he even ran New York City for 12 years…as a Republican!
Mike’s motivation is similar to theirs. He sees two things: first, that Joe Biden is a dead man walking. His campaign is on life support. He shows up at debates looking like he’s just come from the set of the Walking Dead. Second, and this is what really ticks Mike off: Liz is scoring all sorts of points with her detailed plans to soak the rich and use the proceeds to provide Medicare for All, free college tuition, universal childcare, fight climate change, and revive public education through a massive infusion of federal funding. All this makes Mike see red (or green, as the case may be). He and his billionaire pals earned their dough fair and square. Ain’t no one gonna take it from them. They’d have to pry it from their cold dead hands, just like Charlton Heston’s musket.
Warren is no shrinking violet in this battle. She’s taken it to Mike with her billionaire tax calculator, which is one of the smartest, tartest campaign tactics. Wanna know how much Mike’s gonna be out if Warren becomes President? $3-billion (out of his $52-billion net worth). Tant pis baby!
And while we’re at it, let’s remember that Mark Zuckerberg (worth $72-billion) called Warren an existential threat to Facebook because she wants to break it up as a social media monopoly. Leon Cooperman (a paltry $3.2-billion) railed at her too claiming “this is the fucking American dream she is shitting on.” Really? Who knew it was the American Dream for billionaires to pillage America for the sake of buying themselves $100-million yachts, million-dollar sports cars, and $50-million mansions in Westchester?
Even Bill Gates ($107-billion) acted like a spoiled brat whose toys Warren was taking away. Which is the height of irony, because the Microsoft founder’s father, Bill Gates Jr. persuaded his son to support a Washington State income tax which would have taxed residents’ income at 1.2% (Warren’s tax would be 6%). Why did Gates’ father launch the 2010 ballot measure (which ultimately failed)? Because he knew his state had an inequitable tax structure, and that it could not offer the services necessary for it to compete on a level playing field with states like New York or California, which do have an income tax. For Gates, it was a question of equity and fairness. He knew, and said publicly he wasn’t paying his fair share and wanted to. Gates’ son has betrayed his father’s vision.
Going back to Mike: he’s on the warpath. He wants to slay Warren’s dragon. I suppose if he really is honest he realizes he can’t possibly win the Democratic nomination. But depriving Bernie and her of it would be almost as sweet. Of course, if he succeeds at banishing them from the field (which is highly unlikely) he will have slain the two populist candidates and left the field to a lackluster moderate corporatist candidate like Pete Buttigieg, who would surely lose to Trump if he runs. So Mike is a spoiler. And he has plenty of cash to spoil.
If you really want set your hair on fire imagine if Mike won this thing: we’d have an ex-Republican-turned-Democrat billionaire (Mike) facing an ex-Democrat-turned-Republican billionaire (Don). What a bizarre election that would be! But can it be much stranger than 2016?