I watched only the first half-hour, but if the rest of it went like that, then Mike Bloomberg knows that money doesn’t keep you from getting mugged; it adds to it.
Bloomberg came into Wednesday’s Democratic presidential primary debate with a target on his back.
After skipping the early part of the primary race and then dumping nine-figures into a wave of nationwide television advertising, Bloomberg’s campaign released a memo Wednesday morning that portrayed four other candidates on stage as, essentially, political dead weight. Bloomberg’s campaign urged them to get out of the way and clear the path for a Bloomberg-Sanders primary.
Clearly, Bloomberg’s opponents were peeved at their new competition. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) set the tone early Wednesday night in Las Vegas.
“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,” she said, to an audible reaction from the crowd.
After Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) hammered Bloomberg’s memo — “I don’t think you look at Donald Trump and say, ‘We need someone richer in the White House,’” she quipped — the former mayor answered his colleagues with a tepid response.
“I think we have two questions to face tonight. One is, who can beat Donald Trump? And number two, who can do the job if they get into the White House?” Bloomberg said.
Michael Bloomberg fits the bill, Michael Bloomberg said, ignoring the withering criticisms of him on stage and focusing directly on the President.
Later, attacked on the “stop-and-frisks” carried out by police in New York — the use of the maneuver increased massively during Bloomberg’s tenure — the mayor used passive voice, messily dodging one of the most predictable questions of the night.
“Well, if I go back and look at my time in office, the one thing that I’m really worried about, embarrassed about, was how it turned out with stop-and-frisk,” he said, haltingly. Later, he said of the policy: “What happened, however, was it got out of control.”
One answer from the former New York mayor even solicited a loud groan from the audience in attendance in Las Vegas, regarding the tax returns he has not yet released.
“It just takes us a long time,” he said, adding: “I can’t go to TurboTax.”
That was just the beginning.
And Mr. Bloomberg isn’t even on the ballot in the Nevada caucuses on Saturday.
The consensus among the punditry is that Warren and Buttigieg helped themselves by showing some real firepower directed not just at the former New York mayor but at anyone who attacked them and that Biden didn’t do any damage to himself. It sets out a solid core of strong centrists (is there such a thing?) to counter the harsh (or at least loud) rhetoric from Sanders, and there were enough quips and jabs that proved that there’s still a market for zingers.
And for all you hand-wringers about Democrats in Disarray, remember the wise words of Abraham Lincoln: “No matter how much cats fight, there always seem to be plenty of kittens.”