Bloomin’ Bloomberg or Blooomberg bloomin’?

The big political news of the day is this: Michael Bloomberg has qualified for Wednesday’s Democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, setting up the first face-to-face showdown between the self-funding billionaire and the other top candidates for the nomination. Politico covers the story here. In an email alert, Politico advises: “Bloomberg, whose late entry has roiled the race, met the Democratic National Committee’s criteria by earning at least 10 percent in four qualifying polls — including an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist survey Tuesday morning that showed the former New York City mayor at 19 percent. That placed him second only to the national leader, Sen. Bernie Sanders…and ahead of the former frontrunner, Joe Biden, who was in third place.”

In the linked Politico story, the reporters observe: “[M]aking the debate stage threatens to lay bare one vulnerability Bloomberg’s wealth cannot guard against: himself.” The debate itself may qualify as appointment viewing.

Bloomberg provides the ultimate test case of the power of money in politics. Can it buy the ingredients of political success? I would have said no, but we shall see.

Bloomberg’s racially inflammatory statements of years past continue to surface. It is beyond the pale to observe that racial disparities in the criminal justice system reflect racial disparities in offending rates. The alleged racism of the criminal justice system has become Democratic Party orthodoxy. Here the question is whether Bloomberg’s apology tour can win him a pardon for past offenses against the orthodoxy.

Bloomberg’s nanny state will to power turned me off long ago. The 2007 video of Bloomberg as Mary Poppins seems to give it memorable form.

In the latest video surprise, Bloomberg appears at a 2016 Oxford University forum and disparages the intelligence required to succeed in farming. Bloomberg explains: “I could teach anybody, even people in this room, so no offense intended, to be a farmer. It’s a processes. You dig a hole, put a seed in, you put dirt on top, and you water it and up comes the corn… you could learn that…. Now comes the information economy. The information economy is fundamentally different because it’s built around replacing people with technology. The skillsets that you have to learn are how to think and analyze. That is a whole degree level different. You have to have a different skillset, you have to have a lot more grey matter.”

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