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?
Colin Wright says
Trump’s going to win again. He’ll be the worst choice possible…except for his opponent.
Richard Silverstein says
@ Colin Wright: That is the most cynical and ridiculous comment I’ve read in, oh the past 24 hours!
william hoover says
I could not agree with you more. Bloomberg is there as a spoiler and a defender of the .1%. Warren Bernie, and Pete have this privileged crowd running scared.
MR DANIEL SILAGI says
Technically, Bloomberg isn’t a Boomer. Neither is Biden. If one defines “Boomer” by birthday, the first day of Boomerdom is 9 months following the surrender of the Japanese at the end of WWII. In other words, June 3, 1946.
By all other means, notably by attitude and psychology, Boomerdom dates from December 8th, 1941, meaning all the candidates except Bernie are bonafide Boomers. Moreover, being a billionaire is hardly a qualification. There are billionaires, such as Zuckerberg, who are millennials.
Nor is there anything intrinsically wrong with being a billionaire. Bloomberg accomplished a great deal with his billions by making investment information far easier to acquire than before he built his financial empire. In effect, he democratized the process. What I have a huge problem with is those billionaires — and many others — who vitiated unionization in this country, both for industrial and service workers, including those in the tech industries. Unionization is the key factor behind the growth and success of the middle class. Confiscatory tax rates will merely destroy the financial markets for non-billionaires such as myself (OK, I’m a millionaire, even a multi-millionaire, with not too many “multis”) but I hardly consider myself and my family “rich”). Think about it: If Bloomberg had to sell off 4% of his company (which is privately held) it would destroy our 401(k)’s and be a huge disincentive towards investment. That’s what Warren and Bernie want to do. As JFK said, “A rising tide lifts all boats.” Lopping off the top of waves will not. Besides, it ‘ll never happen, and may indeed steer many voters towards Trump, who is an Adolf Hitler wannabe.
I know Mike Bloomberg personally. He’s not my favorite person, but he certainly is extremely competent. Trump’s total incompetence prevents him from being an actual Hitler. (Come to think of it, Hitler was quite incompetent himself, but he had a few good advisers and generals, at least before he became a total raving maniac.) Bloomberg was an outstanding mayor, although I totally disagreed with his “stop and frisk” nonsense and his failed soda tax. Nor is Bloomberg a slave to Bibi and Likud. He is not Michael Steinhardt.
Job No. 1 is to restore America’s greatness. The massive social changes can come later, if at all.
Ed Felien says
I don’t want to fight with bourgeois liberals. I want a united front against fascism. Here’s what we’ll be publishing in next week’s Southside Pride:
Welcome, Michael Bloomberg, let’s talk
First, let me say how grateful we are that you have decided to sit at the table. We want you here. You are without any doubt the best representative of the bourgeois liberal faction of the Democratic Party. You are very rich, very experienced with the operation of how government works, and your news service is the living bible for capital investors. We need you. You are welcome to sit down with us and tell us your solutions to our common problems.
We believe healthcare is a right, and to guarantee healthcare to everyone in America we need your help. Help us figure it out. How do we pay for it?
We need a large capital investment in renewable energy. Immediately! How do we pay for it?
We know the top tax rate in 1960 was 91% on income over $200,000 or $400,000 for married filers—the equivalent of $1.5 and $3 million today. Today the top tax rate is 37%. That’s a difference of 54% from our pockets to yours. The Trump tax cuts are choking the government. The military/industrial complex is bankrupting the treasury in the same way their forefathers did when they caused the collapse of Greece and Rome.
So, welcome aboard, Michael Bloomberg.
We’re facing some violent headwinds.
We’re going to need to stick together through this.
I think that’s Diane Von Furstenburg with the guys in that photo.
I’m with you Richard, though you are tougher than I am with language. Buttigieg is really just getting his feet wet. I don’t mind him at all in this race and his popularity says something about an electorate that we are trying to understand, hopelessly. For that matter so is Warren and Sanders popularity, “progressive” as they are, saying something. The latter two combined would beat Biden.
We’re gonna vote Biden of course preferring Warren & Sanders.Many polled I think feel this way, Biden is a perception based on a perception, I think, even amongst those who say they support Biden. They just don’t believe the “socialists” can win against Trump.
About Bloomberg..he’s really irksome. I think he thinks with his money he can do a Rosie Ruiz ( who was found out anyway).It’s his money, the hubris of it, that gives him the chutzpah. So let him spend it. Maybe he will go anti Trump in a way that so far the Democratic candidates have not,amazingly,what with all the material Trump provides. The electorate that rightly wants to see us focus on other things—climate, healthcare, education,guns,infrastructure, a humane immigration policy, repairing foreign relations ( economic and geopolitical), a balanced judiciary, etc etc.- does not seem to realize that until we get rid of Trump, none of this gets going, some very urgent matters. The electorate must focus, or be focused on getting Trump and his mafia out of the WH.Then repair or replace the GOP.
So all hands on deck for that we’ll see if Bloomberg helps or hinders or simply flops.
Mr. Silagi, I take your points, but we are a country that is out of balance very much on the capitalist side(corporate and money interests). I has left out a large section of the population, people who are angry fearful uneducated. They are voters that moved to Trump enthralled in by his promises of everything great coming and winning while screwing the rest of us he calls elites (a nebulous term as is his “fake”).He tells his followers how he cares about them,has their back. He has convinced his voters that the rest of us are after HIM now (impeachment) because they don’t like THEM and that this is WAR.
Elizabeth Warren is making progress with potential voters because she is out there showing her energy and caring in a more believable sincere way, telling people how she will work toimprove our lives on all fronts.The media and others got after her about to telling us how she plans to pay for her healthcare plan,trying to corner her. Then she did lay it out. Now the economists are arguing pro and con of her plan (there are some formidable pros) while the propagandists have a field day. But she goes on talking to people. As does Bernie Sanders.
Destroying 401K’s and disincentives to investment, if so, means nothing to most people who live from paycheck to paycheck and can’t begin to think about retiring ever. If inequality is not addressed there will be no making America great. There are too many Job no.1’s but electing a decent person who will head a competent administration that works for us, but also by inference, the world takes priority.
Greatness? Trump has killed that notion, thankfully.