Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg's Centrism Combines the Worst Instincts of the Right and Left

In the unlikely event that the former New York mayor wins the Democratic nomination, the 2020 election will pit a billionaire busybody against a billionaire bully.

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Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is reportedly entering the race for the Democratic presidential nomination, presenting himself as a moderate alternative who can beat Donald Trump. That mantle had been claimed by Joe Biden, but Bloomberg, who previously said he was staying out of the race, apparently has been disappointed by the former vice president's performance so far.

It's highly doubtful that Democratic primary voters will find Bloomberg, who until recently was a Republican, more appealing than Biden. But in the unlikely event that Bloomberg wins the nomination, the presidential nomination will pit a billionaire busybody again a billionaire bully, a match-up that might be entertaining but will not offer an obvious alternative for voters who favor limited government.

Bloomberg is hardly unusual among Democrats in favoring stricter gun laws and all manner of paternalistic restrictions on individual choice. But he has shown a special enthusiasm for both projects, as illustrated by his financial support for anti-gun lobbying and a campaign to ban flavored e-cigarettes. As mayor, he supported a litany of taxes, restrictions, and bans aimed at tobacco products, salt, trans fats, and big beverages.

Bloomberg's reaction to the legal defeat of his ban on large sugary drinks was telling. "We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God's planet," he said. "And so while other people will wring their hands over the problem of sugary drinks, in New York City, we're doing something about it." Bloomberg honestly believed he was saving the world, one slightly smaller serving of soda at a time.

At a 2011 U.N. conference on "the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases," Bloomberg explained the rationale for a nanny state that meddles in people's lives for their own good. "There are powers only governments can exercise, policies only governments can mandate and enforce, and results only governments can achieve," he said. "To halt the worldwide epidemic of non-communicable diseases, governments at all levels must make healthy solutions the default social option. That is ultimately government's highest duty." On Bloomberg's to-do list for government, in other words, defending us against our own unhealthy habits ranks above defending us against foreign invaders or marauding criminals.

While Bloomberg's paternalism may not faze progressives, his approach to crime control should. Under his administration, notwithstanding his admission that he had smoked pot and "enjoyed it," arrests for marijuana possession in New York City soared to record levels. This year he said legalizing marijuana, a policy supported by almost every other Democratic presidential contender (with the notable exception of Biden), "is perhaps the stupidest thing we've ever done."

Bloomberg was (and is) an ardent defender of the NYPD's "stop, question, and frisk" (SQF) program, which involved detaining, questioning, and searching young (and overwhelmingly black or Hispanic) men, often without reasonable suspicion of criminal activity. Although the threat posed by hidden weapons was the official justification for stop-and-frisk pat-downs, they almost never discovered any, and a federal judge ultimately ruled that the program was unconstitutional.

Bloomberg actually conceded that point, probably without realizing it. He defended SQF not as a method of disarming criminals but as a way of deterring young men from carrying guns in the first place. To his mind, the tiny and declining percentage of stops that yielded guns showed the program was working. According to the Supreme Court, however, police must have reasonable suspicion that a particular person is armed before patting him down.

Bloomberg is either oblivious to that requirement or believes ignoring it is necessary to prevent gun violence. When The New York Times asked him about the constitutionality of suspicionless searches last fall, he said the ends justify the means. "I think people, the voters, want low crime," he said. "They don't want kids to kill each other." Never mind that property and violent crime rates in New York City—which peaked in 1988 and 1990, respectively—were already falling before SQF, or that there is no clear relationship between the number of stops and the rate of decline.

On this issue, Bloomberg sees eye to eye with Trump, who thinks "stop and frisk" is a no-brainer. Notwithstanding their differences in style and deportment, both men share a belief that constitutional niceties should not get in the way of policies they think will be effective, regardless of what the evidence actually shows. If that's what moderation means, we need less of it, not more.

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  1. Great….A male version of America’s Mother-In-Law.

    He barely won that last term, having spent 100MM+ to retain the Mayoralty. New Yorkers just got tired of the Nanny act.

    1. Bloomberg is so boring I can’t even muster the energy to properly insult him.

      1. A bully will at least leave you alone if you stay out of his way. Busybodies track you down then never let up with their hectoring.
        I know which one I would prefer given two shitty choices.

        1. Exactly. I was going to say something along those lines. And you have a fighting chance against a bully if you stand up to them.

          A busybody is a type of bully since they usually use coercive power to harm others.

          A busybody and a progressive are relentless to the point of exhaustion. They exist but to bully you into their demands.

          1. Oh, just a busybody. Just like Gladys and Abner Kravitz were it not for this busybody whose accustomed to having the NYPD and countless city agencies to identify, track, over-regulate, harass and incarcerate but a perfect analogy otherwise.

            Accepting the foolish “bully” label, Trump would have to be a an epic liberating bully (stop and frisk aside) which is pretty atypical since bullying is about control. If you like your lunch money, you can keep your lunch money. And an acknowledgement of respect that you really did build that. Respects the NAP by questioning vaccines.

            “… both men share a belief that constitutional niceties should not get in the way of policies they think will be effective, regardless of what the evidence actually shows.”

            So much so that it’s spooky. In the same vein of Bloomberg, just look at all of Trumps genuine efforts to limit/eliminate gun rights so no one has the ability to resist authoritarian over-reaches like stop and frisk. And when Jacob says “evidence” is he referring to the gold standard of incontrovertible man made global warming evidence or more like Barak’s birth certificate evidence? This article’s comparison is an over-reach.

            When people think of fair and balanced journalism, I’m pretty sure this is not what they think of on either count. Well, at least there is only one Koch brother left to put his hand in.

        2. That’s the gist of that C.S. Lewis quote that’s popular around here. I’ve always found it to be true.

          1. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.

            It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
            The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

      2. An old diminutive N.Y. Jew billionaire who favors more breaks for the rich, a grotesquely militarized police, more wars for Israel, gun confiscation and the banning of tobacco and Big Gulp sodas. Where has this candidate been all my life?!

    2. New Yorkers just got tired of the Nanny act.

      Facts not supported by evidence, see de Blasio.

      1. No sometimes….You forget Mayor Putz (de Blasio) is in a class by himself. 🙂

    3. Bloomberg is no Centrist.

      Centrists are Libertarians and Classic Liberals.

      1. Libertarians are no centrist.

        1. Right wing are monarchists and other super conservatives. Left wing are communists and socialist and democrats. The extremes of the political spectrum are tyrannical and authoritarian. Minimum freedoms.

          Centrist on the political spectrum is where Libertarianism is located. Maximum freedoms.

    4. Maybe he and Liz can fuck. Either way, Bloomberg is no centrist.

    5. “”New Yorkers just got tired of the Nanny act.””

      Really? De Blazio.

  2. Bloomberg actually conceded that point, probably without realizing it. He defended SQF not as a method of disarming criminals but as a way of deterring young men from carrying guns in the first place. To his mind, the tiny and declining percentage of stops that yielded guns showed the program was working.

    If the percentage was small and declining, that meant it was working. I can’t stand Bloomburg but logic dictates that he has a point here. Reason can’t even write an anti Bloomburg article without fucking it up.

    1. What the article doesn’t clarify is that there never was a ‘declining percentage’. That’s just Bloomberg’s claim.

      Its was always low right from the start.

      1. The reason why New York had to resort to stop and frisk is because of their insane gun laws. The city disarmed the public and sure enough criminals decided mugging people was a good way to make a living. If you refuse to let people be armed and make mugging a contact sport, the only way to deter muggers is to conduct a stop and frisk policy so that they risk being arrested for carrying their weapon of choice on the way to the crime. All the dumb ass New York Progs who whined about stop and frisk created the need for it through their idiotic gun laws.

        1. And like their ilk in Great Britain they will follow the expansive gun control with knife control. It is how they work; monolithic, collective solutions to any identified problem.

          1. GB is already moving on from knife control to fork/pointy stick control.

            1. Words are weapons there on Garbage Island too.

            2. What if some homicidal maniac comes at you with a bunch of loganberries? Better have a pointed stick.

          2. don’t forget tweet control

      2. There are many reasons other than SQF that a small number might decline over time, so no, it doesn’t mean SQF was the (or even a) cause. The argument also fails to get the denominator correct – non-criminals carrying weapons aren’t relevant.

        1. But when you are out frisking everyone and arresting them for having a weapon, the number of non criminals who are willing to get arrested and will carry a weapon is small.

          Stop and Frisk did have an effect on crime. It did make muggings more rare and made being a mugger higher risk. But, they could have accomplished the same thing by just letting people carry guns. If mugging someone entails risking your life, few people will want to do it.

          1. Yup. Georgia has relatively few muggings, even in Atlanta. Georgia concealed carry laws are fairly lenient.

            In 2017, Fulton County, which includes Atlanta had 2,354 robberies. Some portion of those were muggings and some were other types of robberies.

            NYC in 2018 had 10,931.

            While these two city populations are very different, both cities have millions of visitors every year.

          2. stop and frisk IS a mugging. so muggings went way up.

      3. Whether it was effective or not isn’t really relevant. I think stop and frisk probably did have some small effect on crime reduction but so would locking up everyone in internment camps. The issue is that it was an obvious violation of liberty.

  3. the presidential nomination will pit a billionaire busybody again a billionaire bully

    1. Editing? All these Associate Editors and blatant mistakes still get through.

    2. Which of them has the worst record? One of them is a ‘bully’ – in that he says mean things about people. The other is a busybody and a bully who constantly used his power to bully people to satisfy his busybody desires.

    1. And wants to take your guns people with guns enforce the rules he thinks you should live by. And, of course , he will have many people with guns protecting his pomous ass.

    2. “Associate Editor” is a title you give to a writer when you don’t want to pay him more.

    3. Tons of editors and no proofreaders.

      1. Congratulations! By joining the commentariat, you are now a Reason proofreader.

    4. The worst tyrant in the world is a busybody who thinks he knows what’s best for every one. He can commit the worst atrocities and go to bed with a clean conscience because he knows in his hear that he as done the right thing.

  4. But in the unlikely event that Bloomberg wins the nomination…

    …my advice is to start drinking heavily.

  5. It’s highly doubtful that Democratic primary voters will find Bloomberg, who until recently was a Republican, more appealing than Biden.

    On the contrary. Ban-it-all Bloomberg is the worst but he can at least string a sentence together and remain cognizant of his location. Team Blue loves pasty, white, billionaires with zero charisma. And Jeffrey Epstein didn’t kill himself.

    1. So who did kill him? The Clinton cabal? The British royal family? Giuliani’s goons?

  6. Bloomberg has stated that higher taxes on low income people is a good thing.

    Bloomberg in his own words

    2 Billionaires. One is a buffoon. The other is evil.

    1. I hadn’t seen that before. He, explicitly wants to use taxes to control people’s behavior, which he can do after he disarms them with his gun-control fantasies. Dude is evil.

      1. There is a whole left libertarian school of thought that says you can control society through positive reinforcements instead of coercion. Cass Sunstein is the most famous proponent. And yes, it is some evil shit.

        1. According to Reason, tariffs are immoral and wrong – but excise and payroll taxes are Good and Just

          1. excise and payroll taxes are Good and Just

            Oh, for heaven’s sake. When have they ever said anything remotely like that?

            1. When have they argued against them?
              They screech to the heavens about tariffs daily. They screech about vaping restrictions. They even offer nominal opposition to State healthcare.
              They make it quite clear exactly what they oppose.
              So where are the articles decrying excise and payroll taxes?

              1. If there were significant increases or changes in those taxes happening, I suspect there would be a lot.
                There are tons of things they don’t report on. Do you assume that they also support everything else in the world they haven’t written an article decrying in the past 2 months?

                1. When the line of argument against tariffs is that outsourcing manufacturing provides comparative advantage, thus Right and Just according to the god Economy, and no mention of why that is the case or alternatives to necessarily gutting manufacturing and fostering dependence on foreign sources it comes off as support for those conditions.
                  It is at the very least a complete lack of opposition.
                  It is unsurprising that a bunch of talentless hack writers prefer foreigners to the despised manufacturing class, but if your goal is to advance libertarianism (and I’m definitely not saying that’s Reason’s goal), then addressing the concerns and conditions of average Americans, in addition to lily white collar programmers and middle managers, is not just wise but also necessary.

                2. Haha Zeb. Your support of reason is laughable.

                  The reason that reason doesnt blast payroll taxes as a worse burden on employers and employees is because they Propagandists. Propagandists only report what the narrative is and ignore all the other stuff.

                  Tariffs bad but payroll taxes no problem. Orange man bad but hillary good.

        2. Taxes are not non-coercive.

          I’m against that kind of social engineering in general, but Sunstein’s approach seems like one of the less evil ways to do it.

          1. Like Stalin giving food to those who do what he wants?

            Evil is evil.

            1. So there are no degrees to evil and it’s just binary? Stalin and Cass Sunstein are morally equivalent?
              I’ve only read the summary. Maybe Sunstein’s ideas are worse than I think.

          2. It is absolutely evil Zeb. All of the problems and evils of central planning apply to this. Central planning isn’t just evil because it is coercive. It is also evil because it claims to know what is in other people’s best interests.

            1. OK, all government is evil. No argument there.

              1. That’s what I was saying. John just said it purtier than I did.

              2. Government is organized crime.
                It is a (necessary for Civilization) violation of the “laws” of nature/physics.

            2. So….government isn’t….us? We?

        3. Rahm Emmanuel’s brother is a huge proponent as well. His thoughts on the nature of humanity and medical care are ghoulish. And that sorry SOB helped write whole sections of PPACA.

    2. Bloomberg has stated that higher taxes on low income people is a good thing.

      And in what way are they not a good thing? Why should people across all incomes not at least pay the same percentage in income tax?

  7. A busybody who is backed up by lots of men with guns looks an awful lot like a bully to me.

  8. “To Hell with Congress; enact gun control by executive order.”

    Bloomberg to Obama, December 2012.

  9. We have a responsibility as human beings to do something, to save each other, to save the lives of ourselves, our families, our friends, and all of the rest of the people that live on God’s planet.

    I don’t think he’d like how so many other people would like to save him.

  10. “Michael Bloomberg’s Centrism Combines the Worst Instincts of the Right and Left”

    My guess is that this is called authoritarianism as opposed to libertarianism . Forget left vs right.

    1. ^this x 1000^

      Fortunately, I don’t think he has much of a chance given his hostility to woke.

  11. How is he a centrist? From what I can see, including the points in this article, he is a Progressive authoritarian. Are the arguments that he even slightly leans right on anything centered on stop and frisk as well as weed enforcement? It seems like his support of stop and frisk was for the purpose of disarming the public. Also, crackdowns on weed are not limited to the right. I’ll give some credit to the left in being more favorable to legalization, but that doesn’t mean democrat administrations are especially better.
    To Reason staff: learn the differences between the right and left. At least attempt to understand some things about the right rather than tagging anyone leaning that way as NAZI aligned.

    1. I think the ‘right-leaning’ descriptor comes from his not being hostile toward Capitalism. He’s not exactly a free market purist, but he believes in markets and the profit-motive and is generally “pro-business” in a Rockefeller-Republican sort of way.

      He used to be a “left-leaning” Republican and now is a “right-leaning” Democrat, to the extent that those terms have any meaning.

  12. A ‘centrist’ democrat is called a ‘republican’.
    Bloomberg is just another fascist. Anybody whose favorite pastime is spending money to decimate the bill of rights is someone to vote against at every opportunity.

  13. jfc i ran out of steam railing on this moron years ago

  14. also the whole “T is a bully” thing is ladylike

  15. AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

    ””””””””””centrism””””””””””

    1. AHAAHAHHAHAAHAHHAHAAHAHHAHAAHAHH

      Paradiddles.

  16. Bloomburg has no chance. So why does Trump even have to notice his entry into the race, let alone insulting him already with a “Little Michael” moniker? The guy is his own worst enemy.

    1. They do that in NY. Just like Nadler has always been ‘Fat Jerry’.

  17. We’re all losing sight of what’s important here:

    Epstein didn’t kill himself.

    1. Bullshit.
      There is no method of suicide more effective than having dirt on one or more Clintons.

      1. It is a method that withstands the test of time.

  18. Trump visit to Atlanta

    BLACK WOMEN voters supporting Trump!!!!

    1. Black women.

      No it is BLACK WOMEN.

      Got it.

  19. Not sure I’d characterize, having read about him for years, as being centrist.

  20. The Libertarian case for Bloomberg:

    1. Because he is equally detested by both the woke left and conservative right, he won’t be able to get anything past Congress.

    2. His nannyism will make everyone scream for smaller government, and bring about the long anticipated but elusive libertarian moment.

    3. He is old, so probably won’t run for a second term.

    I can’t think of any others, but have no doubt the Reason staff will come up with some.

    1. 1. Because he is equally detested by both the woke left and conservative right, he won’t be able to get anything past Congress.

      Except for Executive Orders and his nagging of every regulatory agency until they pass deeming rules as bad as or worse than congressional acts

      2. His nannyism will make everyone scream for smaller government, and bring about the long anticipated but elusive libertarian moment.

      This might be true, but the damage will have been done. How often has a change in power brought about a repeal of a nanny law, such as smoking bans and steep sin taxes?

      3. He is old, so probably won’t run for a second term.

      How many old fucks are in government, endlessly?

      1. I forget. Ask Pelosi or Ginsberg or Bernie or Biden – – – – –

  21. Bloomburg has no chance. So why does Trump even have to notice his entry into the race, let alone insulting him already with a “Little Michael” moniker? The guy is his own worst enemy.
    درمان افسردگی بدون دارو

  22. Bloomberg is an opportunist. Sometimes a Republican, sometimes a Democrat. Even Fox Fake News can’t report what he is. They just say he’s applying to run for POTUS. In everyone’s haste to put out a headline, that question never enters their minds.

  23. The only “centrism” with Bloomberg is SELF-centrism.

    Bloomberg is both busybody AND bully, and if he were POTUS would give us the worst selection of judges and justices imaginable. No matter how much you have Trump, you have to admit that he has tried to put good people on the bench.

  24. You know who else wanted a fit and healthy citizenry?

  25. Bloomberg is a fucking psycho. Bloomberg’s thoughts on communism and Chinese freedoms:
    https://freebeacon.com/issues/bloomberg-xi-jinping-is-not-a-dictator/

  26. Bloomberg.. Love letters to Chairman Mao and the fucking PRC.

    1. He aspires to one day reach the Chinese level of authoritarianism.

      https://youtu.be/TOu-2mulMog

      Such a centrist!!! Fuck off with this bullshit Jacob.

  27. “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

    – C. S. Lewis

    Bloomberg to a T

    1. Concur…Bloomberg would do well to keep this quote in mind, also:

      Everyone has the right to make his own decisions, but none has the right to force his decision on others. [Ayn Rand]

  28. It won’t matter because in early 2020 ***spoiler alert***, wicked witch Hillary flies in from Transylvania to take control of the Dem party. All the comical Marxist candidate theater is about nothing and just a waste of time. The Dems are growing extremely desperate and it’s time to pull a witch out of the hat.

  29. If that is the race I’ll take the bully. At least we are getting judicial nominees that believe in the constitution. I’m not voting for a arrogant busybody that aspires to be my mother.

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