Imagine a Democratic candidate combining:
- Hillary Clinton’s charisma deficit and tone-deafness
- Joe Biden’s gaffe-a-minute talents
- The near-octogenarian age cohort of Bernie Sanders
- “Mayor Pete’s” insufferable elitism and smug smarminess
- Buttigieg’s and Amy Klobuchar’s Trojan Horse approach to Medicare for All
- Tom Steyer’s election-buying vanity campaign
- Barack Obama’s foreign policy surrenderism
- The entire field’s out-of-touch views on amnesty for illegals … crazy climate alarmism … class division on taxes … and demagoguery on race.
And oh yeah: a run of boorish statements and behavior toward women and minorities that leaves Donald Trump in the dust.
Ladies and gentlemen, your Democratic Party on Wednesday night presented its shiny new attraction: Michael Rubens Bloomberg.
And the biggest story from the Vegas debate: how the uber-billionaire former New York Mayor, whose ad splurge across the Super Tuesday map had raised expectations, promptly dashed them by living down to the reality that he epitomizes the worst of Democratic fields past and present.
The fury unleashed on the New Kid on the (Chopping) Block conclusively demonstrated his deficiencies in the magnetism department and his inability to take incoming fire.
Hizzoner whiffed on a softball question on why he was a better bet than socialist frontrunner Bernie Sanders, and he left an opening wide enough for Ms. Lizzie Warren to drive a steamroller through – and right over the media mogul – regarding his alleged comments about “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.”
Bloomberg then attempted to make the case for his candidacy with all the expression and energy of an iguana somnambulating in the desert sun. After which he stood, frozen and impassive, while his opponents rained blows on him, and each other, with well-rehearsed attack lines.
It was political rope-a-dope – with the emphasis on “dope.”
A reeling Bloomberg was uninspiring, unconvincing and completely unprepared on releasing his taxes, stop and frisk, and his earlier opposition to Obamacare – looking up frequently as if his planned responses were engraved on the ceiling. He lamely conceded to making “a lot of money” but assured us that he is “giving it all away” to beat Trump and for other causes. (Really? All $62 billion?)
The Mayor got his clock not just cleaned, as Fox News’ Howie Kurtz suggested, but thoroughly power-washed by erstwhile law professor Warren on releasing women from non-disclosure agreements in harassment settlements.
And even in his best moment – terming the Democrats’ debate on socialism v. capitalism the best way to re-elect Donald Trump – Bloomie stepped in it Biden-style by appearing to accuse Sanders of being a Communist.
Yet beyond Bloomberg’s bumbling stylistic performance, more telling was the alleged “centrist’s” lock-step leftward march with other so-called Democratic “moderates” to seek a share of the increasingly radical party base.
Marble-mouthed on health care, Bloomberg did manage to babble out a “public option” – a ruse Buttigieg previously admitted “will become Medicare for All without us having to kick anybody off” their current insurance.
He bought in to his competitors’ insistence on soaking the rich and reversing the job-creating Trump tax cuts. He also agreed that “we’ve got to cut (redlining) out” – implicitly endorsing a return to Obama-era bank shakedowns based on manufactured racial discrimination claims.
Bloomberg sniped at President Trump’s tough China trade stance and ran interference for Xi Jinping on climate – much as when he previously declared that Xi is “not a dictator” and “has a constituency to answer to.”
And despite sensible comments on the fracking revolution, he dismissed its output as a “transition fuel” – and demagogued that “(t)he world is coming apart faster than any scientific study had predicted. We’ve just got to do something now.” Something like rejoining the ineffectual, American-consumer-punishing Paris Climate Agreement.
An oft-told story involves former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s practice upon receiving a first paper from a Harvard student. Soon after, the legendary professor returns the document and gravely intones: “Is that the best you can do?”
“No, I suppose not,” the student gamely replies, and he goes back and painstakingly labors over the tome.
The routine repeats multiple times, until the student insists, “Yes, Professor. That’s the best I can do.”
Upon which the great academic declares, “All right. I’ll read it.”
The American people, after paging through various unsatisfactory Democratic frontrunners, finally got their first real read on the candidate dominating screens from online games to the Super Bowl.
And they learned that if this amalgamation of the worst of all Democrats’ worlds is the best the party can do – and with billions and a pathetic field, Bloomberg may still prove to be – it will be back to the drawing board this November when “Mini Mike” faces real competition.
Bob Maistros is president of RPM Executive Communications, Inc., which provides high-level message development, communications strategy and crisis support to firms ranging from the Fortune 500 to tech startups, and he is of counsel at the Alexandria, Va.-based Strategic Action Public Affairs. He was chief writer for the 1984 Reagan re-election campaign and also wrote for Sens. Charles Grassley and Orrin Hatch.