Michael Bloomberg

Michael Bloomberg and the Imperious Presidency

Rules are for the little people, not the eighth richest man on the planet.

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If Donald Trump could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and get away with it, what bit of brazenness might we expect from his fellow septuagenarian Manhattanite presidential candidate Michael Bloomberg?

The then-mayoral candidate gave us a glimpse back in 2001, when he was dumping his first tranche of $74 million into a late-in-life political career and a reporter asked him whether he had ever smoked marijuana. "You bet I did," the media mogul enthused, at a time when politicians tended to be much more reticent about such things. "And I enjoyed it."

Talk about do as I say, not as I did. During Bloomberg's three terms as mayor, the Big Apple became the marijuana arrest capital of the world, thanks to the notorious stop-and-frisk searches in neighborhoods where billionaires rarely venture.

Hizzoner's conscience has never been noticeably clouded by such obvious disparities under the law. If anything, the disproportionate impact of his policy preferences on poorer folk has been the point.

In an April 2018 conversation with Christine Lagarde, then the managing director of the International Monetary Fund, Bloomberg defended his fondness for taxing items, such as sugary sodas and trans fats, that are widely enjoyed by the non-rich.

"Some people say, well, taxes are regressive," he said. "But in this case, yes they are! That's the good thing about them, because the problem is in people that don't have a lot of money. And so, higher taxes should have a bigger impact on their behavior and how they deal with themselves….The question is, do you want to pander to those people, or do you want to get them to live longer?"

Rules may be important for "those people," but much less so for the eighth richest man on the planet. He is the leading financier of gun control advocacy in America—and one of the few people allowed to have an armed security detail in Bermuda. He has been positively Trumpian about releasing his tax returns, snapping at the mere suggestion that such political traditions should apply to him. And as recently as January 2019, even as the rest of the Democratic Party was finally evolving toward getting rid of federal prohibitions on the marijuana Bloomberg once enjoyed, he called pot legalization "perhaps the stupidest thing we've ever done."

If George W. Bush and Barack Obama ushered in the return of the imperial presidency, Trump represents a further devolution toward the imperious presidency. There was an audacity in Obama's pen and phone, and there was an expansive theory of executive branch autonomy spearheaded by former vice president Dick Cheney. Trump's contribution has been more vulgar, more direct, more New York: I dare you to stop me mixed with I can say anything I want.

Bloomberg's manners are more refined, but only just. There's the locker-room talk about women, already apologized for in advance of his presidential run. (To imagine how much teeth-clenching he must be doing through his mea culpa rounds, watch this video from March of Bloomberg mocking Joe Biden's "apology tour" and saying he wouldn't be able to run for president "unless I was willing to change all my views.") Trump may troll people about seeking a legally proscribed third term, but Bloomberg actually went there, changing the law near the end of his second term and then switching it back soon thereafter. As The New York Times noted dryly upon the latter occasion, "Bloomberg thinks that being able to serve three terms in office is a good idea—just not for anyone else."

Mayor Mike's above-the-law demeanor, compared to Trump's, seems far less pegged to the kinds of corruptions in office that have landed the president on the precipice of impeachment. But their approaches to how the law applies to the lowly are distressingly similar.

To the president, constitutional rights are speed bumps slowing down his policy goals, especially concerning immigration. To Bloomberg, apology tour notwithstanding, policy ends can justify means that judges have explicitly ruled unconstitutional. "I think people, the voters, want low crime," he told The New York Times in September 2018, defending the legal setbacks of stop-and-frisk. "They don't want kids to kill each other."

It seems implausible that, in an era of resurgent Democratic populism, primary voters will reward the kind of bluenose who has appeared in skits as "King Michael," dispensing positive policy outcomes to a grateful peasantry. But seeing Bloomberg even in fifth place extends a worrying trend. We've stacked up so much power at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. that billionaires with insatiable ambitions are eyeing the address greedily and finding market share among understandably disgruntled voters.

"The president," lawyer Alan Dershowitz said last month, "has the power that kings have never had." Until we start denuding the Oval Office, we will continue getting the royals we deserve.

NEXT: Elizabeth Warren Would Rather Make You Fix Your Terrible Public School Than Let You Send Your Kid to a Charter School

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  1. Anyone in favor of trading the Trumptatorship for a Bloombergtatorshit? Which kind of shit sandwich do YOU prefer? Is there a libertarian sandwich to be had, ANYWHERE in this universe? Even a WEEEE tiny bite?

    1. Don’t worry. Our convention is coming up…. we’ll find someone equal parts kook and ineffectual.

      1. I am amused by the pretensions of inevitably displayed by you oh-so-fragile puny mammals and your history. Do you know I have survived the vastness of space for eons longer than your kind have even existed? We shall see who is “kooky” and “ineffectual”, shan’t we.

        1. Many of us have voted for you over and over! Have you ever won an election?

        2. Someday Jupiter will capture and eat you.

      2. Well, I’m holding out for the Great Hope, which is Amash running for POTUS with an Amish Vice POTUS candidate! All the multi-culti folks, with their Great Melting Pots or Mixed Salad Bowls and what-not… Ya know, diversity really IS a good thing… If a mish-mash is a good, blended thing, then an Amish-Amash would be an unbeatable SMASH! “Amish-Amash is a Bash, a Smash!”, will be the slogan!

        Or maybe something about an Amashquatch? WHAT is the PROPER punchline here, anyway?!?!

      3. Hornberger 2020!

    2. We get it. You like eating shit. You’ve told us already.

      1. Yes, I am a zombie, who eats shit-for-brains’s brains, like yours! Be afraid, be VERY afraid!

        1. Of your breath? Ok. Done. Now fuck off Mary.

          And it’s “an” not “and”

          1. Tulpa-Satan-Mary-Mary’s Period-“.”-AsHoleusMaxumus-TrollificusMaximus, you change your handle as often as your diapers! Are you getting any therapy for your multiple stupidality syndrome?

    3. Seems to be a presumption that Trump would’ve been less imperious in NYC. NYC wanted a king, and Bloomberg obliged. Bloomberg scares me no less than Trump has, and frankly who else is there?

      1. I honestly don’t get this…. What EXACTLY is it that President Trump has done that makes people correlate him to the dictation of Bloomberg. All I see Trump doing and working towards is securing our nation, de-powering the Feds and Cutting the federal government bloated social welfare programs which is EXACTLY what our Constitution demands.

        Please someone; explain to me what Trump has done that anyone could logically associate him to be pushing “King” like dictatorship on the people.

  2. Trump’s contribution has been more vulgar, more direct, more New York: I dare you to stop me mixed with I can say anything I want.
    Bloomberg’s manners are more refined, but only just.

    I don’t know, I always thought of Trump’s New York as “What the fuck you lookin’ at?” and Bloomberg’s as the more Manhattanite “Do you know who the fuck I am?” In either case, you can safely beat the shit out of them because they’re punk-ass bitches, but the second one you’d better go ahead and kill just in case he really is connected.

  3. If George W. Bush and Barack Obama ushered in the return of the imperial presidency, Trump represents a further devolution toward the imperious presidency. There was an audacity in Obama’s pen and phone, and there was an expansive theory of executive branch autonomy spearheaded by former vice president Dick Cheney. Trump’s contribution has been more vulgar, more direct, more New York: I dare you to stop me mixed with I can say anything I want.

    With just a few minor tweaks, we could make this entire article about Trump.

    1. He was trying and the “…kinds of corruptions in office that have landed the president on the precipice of impeachment…” Was a nice touch, especially since the impeachment has to do with the ‘corruptions’ of the D congress critters and the last VP.

      1. Hey- try removing head from ass BEFORE typing. Might help.

        1. Didn’t help you or the shit eater.

        2. wearingit
          December.6.2019 at 9:16 pm
          “Hey- try removing head from ass BEFORE typing. Might help.”

          Hey, try engaging whatever passes for a brain before posting. Given there are few cells there, it probably won’t help.
          Oh, and make the world a better and more intelligent place; fuck off and die.
          And you can make it a more fragrant place by doing so where we can’t smell your pathetic carcass.

  4. “If Donald Trump could shoot somebody in the middle of Fifth Avenue and get away with it”

    Matt Welch is the squirrel?

    1. PLEASE keep it to yourself that “SQRLSY One” is an alias of or for Matt Welch! You and me, together, we’ll be even better than me, alone, in keeping this secret, right?

      1. Never mind. Welch has a better sense of humor.

        1. And isn’t Mary, like the shit eating slaver.

    2. Hey! This web traffic is not going to generate itself without reason staff socks.

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    1. That’s a terrible way to advertise your product
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  6. “…The question is, do you want to pander to those people, or do you want to get them to live longer?””

    No, the question is: Why don’t you fuck off?

    1. Ask that every day about your lord and savior trump but he just persists…

      1. wearingit
        December.6.2019 at 9:17 pm
        “Ask that every day about your lord and savior trump but he just persists…”

        I have neither a lord or savior, unlike fucking lefty ignoramuses. Stuff it up your ass and die where we can’t smell you.

        1. He has been told by his media prophets to accuse others of being in a cult. The irony is lost on him.

  7. Completely OT, somewhere in my browsing trying to figure out the correct odds on Georgia (51%) and Ohio State (93%) I ran across an interesting piece from April, 2018 on zombie preppers and flood insurance. The comments are especially good,too. Very few people limiting the conversation to intense discussions of who is or is not a fucking retard, mostly discussing probabilities and statistics and how to develop risk models and how much ammo is enough. (“More” is not enough.)

    Pretend you’re someone with your eyes on the horizon. What would you be looking for, exactly? Increasing partisanship. Civil disorder. Coup rhetoric. A widening wealth gap. A further entrenching oligarchy. Dysfunctional governance. The rise of violent extremist ideologies such as Nazism and Communism. Violent street protests. People marching with masks and dressing like the Italian Blackshirts. Attempts at large scale political assassination. Any one of those might not necessarily be the canary in the coal mine, but all of them in aggregate might be alarming to someone with their eyes on the horizon. Someone with disproportionate faith in the state is naturally inclined to disregard these sorts of events as a cognitive bias, while someone with little faith in the state might take these signs to mean they should buy a few more boxes of ammunition.

  8. All of that being said, if Bloomberg does manage to pull it off and become the Dem candidate for POTUS, you’ll vote for him.

    1. I was actually looking forward to not voting in a presidential election for the first time in my life given how completely retarded politics has become, but if the choice is between the hectoring Jew and evil orange man, I will drag my lazy ass to the polls one last time to vote for orange.

      1. Same. I haven’t voted for a D or R candidate in 20 years but if Bloomberg is the Democratic nominee, I’ll hold my nose for Orange Man in the hopes he takes away fewer of my rights than Mr. Napoleon Complex.

  9. Is anyone besides me vaguely troubled at the prospect of the US presidency becoming the province of billionaires? Mayor Bloomberg has stated he will plunk down 2B. That idiot Steyer will plunk down a couple hundred million. POTUS Trump, who knows WTF he will spend (probably not too much of his own money).

    I understand that the Founders wanted to align the interests of the wealthy with the Republic, but I am not so certain they wanted the wealthy actually running the Republic.

    1. This is a self-correcting problem.

      The good billionaire was elected (Trump). The bad billionaires were not (see Hillary, Bloomberg, Kochs….)

      The states will decide who becomes President.

      Having lawyers run this country is clearly a mistake. Having plumbers run this country is probably also a mistake.

      1. I am not so sure that it is a self-correcting problem. This is something (uber-wealthy billionaires running for POTUS) that is a new development in our history. Perhaps it is the new-ness of this phenomenon that concerns me. But I really do wonder about how this will affect us in the future.

        Like I said, there is a real, and meaningful difference between aligning interests with the wealthy versus having the wealthy run the whole show.

        1. Yea, we should worry about the president being rich… because it’s not like everyone in Congress is a millionaire.
          Or that presidents (and other elected officials) become rich after or while “serving”
          Or federal bureaucrats become rich, as they’re paid significantly more than private sector comps
          You’ve totes identified the real cause for concern

          1. And thankfully no tech/media oligarchs will have any influence or control access to information

        2. George Washington was the richest man in America so it is hardly unprecedented.

          See also, the Roosevelts and the Kennedys.

        3. The position has finally become powerful and remunerative enough that obsessively avaricious men with vast amounts of money are interested in it.

  10. Is there nothing so trivial that Congress can ignore it?

    “Bernie Sanders’ Fight To Save Minor League Baseball Is One Issue That’s Unifying Congress”
    […]
    “Last month, the aforementioned 106 congressional members sent a letter to MLB expressing their “firm opposition” to a cost-cutting proposal that would slash 42 minor league teams across the country….”
    https://www.forbes.com/sites/alexreimer/2019/12/06/bernie-sanders-fight-to-save-minor-league-baseball-is-one-issue-thats-unifying-congress/#7effa8db5777

    1. “Bernie Sanders’ Fight To Save Minor League Baseball Is One Issue That’s Unifying Congress”

      How about a constitutional amendment repealing the designated-hitter rule?

  11. Thanks to Matt Welch for reporting that Mike changed the NY Term Limits law to suit hizzoner hizzelf. Mike the Imperator changed the law, despite the will of NY citizens (or plebeans) to suit hizzelf!

  12. As I watched a worker dig a trench in my neighbor’s yard to lay a new sewer connector, I noticed not only her interesting tatoos, but also the fact that she had a 40 ounce sweet tea from Pal’s Sudden Service. When I worked at the Press, that 40 oz tea was popular for breakfast or lunch & to have something to stay hydrated for 4 hours. Bloomberg’s rhetoric “The question is, do you want to pander to those people, or do you want to get them to live longer?” Yeah, sure, taxes to make working class people struggling to get by pay more for food, drink or tobacco really helps us — NOT. To protect NYC sin taxes on tobacco, NYPD choked Eric Garner to death for selling single cigarettes (“loosies”) to people who could not afford a pack themselves. Do we need Bloomberg’s help? Why does he want us to live longer? So he can enjoy tormenting us longer?

    C.S. Lewis musta been thinking about people like Michael Bloomberg:
    “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. They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.”

  13. Oh please, Matt. Isn’t there some way you could puncture the Bloomberg piñata without resorting to the kind of anti-Trump tripe that is so prevalent in the MSM?

  14. It’s his money to waste. And boy, am I glad he is. Bloomberg ended his career in politics the moment it began as mayor. What do people know him as? Not a job creator, not someone relatable like Trump. They know him as an elitist, a socialite, Soros-lite trying to seize your guns via Everytown, that asshole who went after big gulps and MSG, etc. Believe it or not, he has a worse public image than all other candidates combined.

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  17. Sad to say that America will probably never get a president that is either not wealthy or not well-bought. One real way to get the influence of money out of politics is the REQUIREMENT blocks of UNPAID advertising time per party or candidate as part of a FCC license to broadcast.

    Until some scheme like this is instituted, USA will continue to have the best government money can buy!

  18. If George W. Bush and Barack Obama ushered in the return of the imperial presidency, Trump represents a further devolution toward the imperious presidency. There was an audacity in Obama’s pen and phone, and there was an expansive theory of executive branch autonomy spearheaded by former vice president Dick Cheney. Trump’s contribution has been more vulgar, more direct, more New York: I dare you to stop me mixed with I can say anything I want.

    With just a few minor tweaks, we could make this entire article about Trump. https://www.blissshine.com/

  19. Let them eat cake.

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