Saturday, November 9, 2019

Billionaire Bloomberg says he's running. But why?

The prototype for the Rahm Emanuel mayoralty was Michael Bloomberg's New York. -- Crain's
The oddsmakers in Vegas put the odds on Michael Bloomberg winning the presidency at 14/1. That puts him even in their minds with Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg and trailing only Donald Trump 7/5, Elizabeth Warren 3/1, and Joe Biden 8/1 in the eyes of bookies.

I follow this stuff only because the bookies usually have a better handle on things than do the pollsters. That's why the house always wins.

Why is this billionaire Republicrat media tycoon and former New York mayor even considering jumping into a crowded Democratic primary as a 14-to-1 longshot? He knows the odds as well as anyone. One, because he can afford to, and two, he wants to be a hedge against the progressive insurgents like Warren and Sanders.

If either of them won the primary, I could even imagine Bloomberg running as an independent or third-party candidate in key battleground or swing states to draw away votes. Bloomberg is worried much more about the progressive ascendency than about his off-and-on frenemy Trump (who calls Bloomberg "Little Michael").

Known as the stop-and-frisk mayor in New York, Bloomberg once claimed that the biggest problem was his cops "over-stopping whites", and that he was just evening the score.

During his time in office, Bloomberg wielded his personal power against New York's communities of color and their public schools. He imposed a tidal wave of privatization on the city, including a big swing towards privately-run charter schools. What pissed me off most was how he used our "small schools" rhetoric to promote charters.

He was an advocate of using standardized testing results as the main vehicle for evaluating school and teacher performance.

He thought poor and especially immigrant parents were too ignorant to have much to say about their children's education.

Bloomberg once claimed:
“Unfortunately there are some parents who just come from — they never had a formal education, and they don’t understand the value of education...The old Norman Rockwell family is gone.”
That last part is true, and good riddance.

All this reminded me of this great quote from NYT's Michael Powell back in 2011:
"There is an 'autumn of the patriarch' feel to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg these days."
He's an outspoken enemy of organized labor and even compared the teacher unions to the NRA and used the big-lie technique to charge the unions with protecting child molesters.

Bloomberg's charter school cronies, Eva Moskowitz and Joel Klein. 
He hired corporate-style reformers like of Joel Klein and the totally incompetent (thank goodness) Cathie Black to replace public schools with charters and erode public space and public decision-making. Among his partners in crime was the city's supreme charter hustler, Eva Moskowitz, who enriched herself running the so-called Success Academies.

Bloomberg is a horrible politician who was only elected because of his bottomless war chest. You need only go back to his paper-thin 2009 victory in the NY mayor's race over relative political unknown Bill Thompson. Bloomberg poured $90 million of his own fortune into the race, a sum unequaled in the history of municipal politics, that gave him a 14-to-1 advantage in campaign spending. Yet he won by only 5%.

So, is Bloomberg's announced candidacy a bluff, a real threat to anti-Trump forces, or neither? One thing is for sure: Michael Bloomberg offers no positive alternative to Trump or to the current field of candidates in the Democratic primary.

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