I don’t know what to expect of Michael Bloomberg tonight. The conventional wisdom — that his angry, jealous opponents will carve him up — is plausible. But so is the view that he’s smarter and more skillful than they are.
The conventional wisdom might play into Bloomberg’s hands. His rivals want to portray him as an empty suit who has bought his way into the mix. But Bloomberg was a highly successful three-term mayor of New York City. Pete Buttigieg is a less than highly successful mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Who is the lightweight?
If one compares paper credentials for the presidency — disregarding age, ideology, charisma, etc. — Bloomberg is more qualified than anyone who will be on the stage tonight. Only Biden can match or exceed Bloomberg’s credentials as an office holder. And if one throws in Bloomberg’s phenomenal success in business, there is no contest.
This doesn’t mean that Bloomberg will perform well in tonight’s debate. But if he’s able to talk about his success as mayor and to discuss policy intelligently, rational voters won’t see an entitled billionaire. Instead, they will see a quality candidate for president, at least as measured against the rest of the Democratic field.
In short, Bloomberg’s rivals and portions of the leftist media have lowered the expectations on Bloomberg tonight. That’s an advantage for the media tycoon heading into the debate.