The maniacal Mike Bloomberg took the stage for the Democratic debate last night and to his credit, he made the thing interesting to watch. Up until now, these shows have been quite dull. They had the feel of a faculty meeting at a third-tier private college, where everyone pretends the issues at hand are important, but in reality, they are just going through the motions. The introduction of Bloomberg added a genuine sense of urgency to the thing, which made it entertaining.
That sense of urgency mostly served to exaggerate all of the characters on stage, as they let their hair down in an effort to steal the limelight from Bloomberg. Lizzy Warren was the school principle from Uncle Buck, desperately trying to make sure no one had any fun and treated everything with utmost seriousness. She also seemed to vibrate, as if she was receiving a mild jolt of electricity. If she had put a light bulb in her mouth, while the others were talking, it would have made perfect sense.
Similarly, Klobuchar reminded everyone why giving women the vote was a bad idea, as she ticked every box for the matronly politician. At various points she was offended, over eager, cloying and schoolmarmish. She probably had the best night of the bunch, until she got into a purse fight with Buttigieg. He mocked her for not knowing the name of the Mexican president. She responded by demanding if he was calling her dumb, which made the point in an amusing way.
The prize for most ridiculous character on the stage goes to Pete Buttigieg, who looked like a child playing dress-up. Not exactly a child, more like a robot child. That’s because he is the quintessential millennial, who prepares for everything like a test. He probably even practices how he turns to address the other people on stage. When he lectured Klobuchar about not knowing the name of the Mexican president, you just knew that in real life he is a bitchy pedantic nuisance.
Strangely, Joe Biden probably had his best night, but it is a good reminder that you get one chance to make a first impression. Even though he was coherent and lucid for the entire night, you notice that because it is rare. He is at that stage of life where his mind prefers to be in neutral and it takes effort to get the thing in gear. Once he gets it in gear, he is fine, but you never can be certain he will stay that way. You can’t help feeling a bit sad for him, as he staggers through the final days.
What made the show, of course, was Mike Bloomberg. He spent most of the night looking mildly irritated by the whole thing. It was as if he had used a crazy act in court to avoid being sent to prison, but was instead sent to the asylum. He knew he had to keep up the act, but desperately wanted to start shouting that he was not insane like the people around him. The only thing missing was a big Indian to throw a sink through one of the windows to close the show.
Bloomberg is the Democrat version of Ross Perot. He’s not really a candidate, but more of a foil for the other candidates. Last night all of them went ham on him in an effort to show they are the most virtuous of the bunch. Warren went full rage head over Bloomberg having called women “fat broads and horse-faced lesbians.” For the rest, Bloomberg was the cartoon rich guy. They took turns flinging their poo at him. For the most part, he just smirked it off, dismissing them as sideshow clowns.
That’s where we get to the Ross Perot comparison. In 1992, Perot ran as a rich guy with a common touch, trying to save the system. He hated the Bush family and he wanted to see George Bush lose. His folksy and erratic performance in the debates probably put Clinton in the White House. That seems to be the role Bloomberg is hoping to play for the Democrats. His mission is to keep Sanders from winning the nomination outright, so the party can figure out some way to stop him.
Bloomberg also lifts the veil on something we don’t get to see. For our Jewish ruling class, Bernie is the embarrassing uncle, who never amounted to much. He is a reminder of a past they would like to forget. The Jewish Bolshevik is a stereotype that has largely faded from our consciousness, because Jewish billionaires like Bloomberg have worked hard to erase it from the scenery. Jews are no longer subversive irritants like Bernie, but benevolent oligarchs like Bloomberg.
Putting that aside, Bloomberg did not score any hits on the other candidates, but they managed to dirty him up pretty good. Last night was a good example of why normal people tend to do poorly in politics. He was unprepared to play a convincing character in response to the other characters on the stage. Instead, he allowed them to define him as their favorite villain. He was the evil white man, the pervy misogynist, the soulless greed-head and the callous oligarch.
That’s probably going to force Bloomberg to shift his strategy away from attacking Trump with his billion-dollar ad campaign and instead attack Sanders. Most likely, Sanders wins Nevada and heads into South Carolina with a chance to knock out the remaining candidates. Some may linger on, but in two weeks the race will be Bloomberg and Sanders. In order to avoid looking like a fool, Bloomberg will have to go scorched earth on Bernie and his supporters.
All in all, it was a great show, maybe even the best debate ever. No, none of the performers should be allowed loose in society, much less be elected president, but it was a hilarious performance. When the robot historians are sifting through the rubble of this age, they will probably use footage of this debate as an example of just how terribly wrong things went in late empire America. “And just like that, everyone went insane” will be how they describe this age.
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