OK Bloomberg – The American Prospect
Is it just coincidence that the derisive millennial slang “OK boomer” has crested just as an old billionaire with the similar-sounding name Michael Bloomberg has decided to bigfoot into the presidential race? Yes, probably, but the moniker “OK Bloomberg” certainly fits.
It gives me no pleasure to have become a serial chronicler of Bloomberg’s absurd flirtations with the presidency: here, here, and here, all the way back in 2008. Each time my point is the same: This is someone with no constituency once you take the elevator down from an East 79th St. penthouse or step out of the Morning Joe greenroom. This Twitter thread describing a speech he gave less than a year ago—coming out against marijuana legalization, minimum-wage increases (!), and retraining workers for tech jobs (“they’re just not wired that way”)—highlights the inanity of the exercise.
If anything, this strengthens the hand of Sanders and Warren by putting another competitor on the moderate side to split votes. Bloomberg also reportedly won’t “seek or accept campaign contributions,” a genius move which means, under current DNC rules, that he won’t appear in any primary debates. But that’s not the only show of ignorance on display here.
Bloomberg, speaking for his class, is terrified that popular ideas like the wealth tax are getting traction. For about $50,000, he and his pals could get Kyrsten Sinema, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester, Chris Coons, and a handful of other Senate Democrats to block any legislation to that effect (actually they probably don’t have to spend a dime, these aren’t exactly bold progressive thinkers). They’ve bought the Congress for decades and they’re afraid that somebody talking about soaking the rich will penetrate the iron fortress they’ve built? Do they think their corruption of democracy is that fragile?
Actually, that’s a paradoxical ray of hope. The billionaires are convinced that they’re small men behind the curtain, and anyone pulling that curtain back will rob them of their power. They know this is a country founded in rebellion to aristocrats, that fights Gilded Ages, and they’re desperate to stifle those voices, lest they start a fire. Maybe democracy isn’t quite dead yet.
LINKS TO MY STORIES
Progressives need to focus on Congress or all of their ambitions will die there.
CEOs promised to be kinder corporate actors, but that was a fig leaf for building fortresses around management decision making.
ALSO AT THE PROSPECT
Alex Sammon on the billionaire class’s wealth tax—the Giving Pledge—which utterly failed.
Jon Walker on the great “fairness versus disruption” debate in progressive policy.
Richard Eskow profiles John Larson, an old-school Democrat and the unlikely champion of expanding Social Security.
Harold Meyerson with a dispatch from the New Hampshire primary.
SHARING THE WEALTH
AT&T throttled “unlimited” data plans. (The Verge)
It’s hard to find fresh groceries in farm country. (NY Times)
McDonald’s CEO fired for sex with a subordinate still eligible for six months of severance pay. (Reuters)
Dominion Energy could see its century of triumph in Virginia falter under its new Democratic legislature. (The Intercept)
Third-party data collectors know an insane amount about you. (NY Times)
Alex Pareene on the death of the rude press. (New Republic)