David Dayen wrote what turned out to be an amusing article over at New Republic, Michael Bloomberg’s Target Voter: Himself. It is about his grumbling that the people are tired of the extremism of the two parties and what they really want is a “moderate” like himself.
Obviously, coming from a billionaire, this is the basis of high comedy. Michael Bloomberg reminds me of Malvolio in Twelfth Night smiling and dressing like a clown. It also reminds me of a story I had read told by an ex-slave about his master doing target practice in preparation for the Civil War. Those with great power are most prone to make huge fools of themselves because they have no one to keep them in check.
Dayen described the true situation:
But even if you got rid of his gun and immigration policy preferences, conservative voters would still hate him. But this is all part of a larger issue about the class of people that Michael Bloomberg represents. They really do think they are in the “sweet spot” of American politics. They see gun right absolutists — people who think they should be allowed to carry machine guns into banks — as just the other extreme of people who think that the minimum wage ought to at least keep up with inflation.
This is why I’ve long been against the New Democrats. The movement was all about keeping socially liberal policy, but basically accepting conservative policy on economics. (The net result was to push the Republicans to the extreme right on economic policy and create a new “left of center” economics that is decidedly right of center.) And this is what I like most about Bernie Sanders: he’s willing to say what establishment Democrats have been unwilling to say for 25 years, “Neoliberalism doesn’t work.”
But as Dayen noted, there are a lot of people in the New York and DC areas who just love what Bloomberg has to say. To someone like William Saletan, what Bloomberg stands for is not just his opinion — it is The Truth™. It is self-evident to this crowd that the society is working just great. All it needs are a few tweaks: get people to drink less soda, get rid of unions all together, and everything will be fine!
The truth is that the Michael Bloomberg crowd doesn’t see their pro-Wall Street opinions as opinions. It is unthinkable to them that we could have a system that works differently than the one that I am more than willing to admit works for them. It’s bad enough when people just go about their lives without examining their assumptions. But when we are talking about the most powerful people in the country, we have a real problem.
Here’s the thing: if Michael Bloomberg ran for president, I’d be surprised if he got one percent of the vote. But he would get huge media attention because the elite media share his blind spots. I think Dayen was wrong in one thing he wrote. He noted Bloomberg’s “sycophantic advisers.” But the problem is so much deeper than that. Thomas Friedman isn’t paid to be Bloomberg’s yes-man. Thomas Friedman has the exact same unconsidered assumptions. And he’s not alone.
As ignorant as the people may be, they are far better at choosing a president than these jokers.