Bloomberg botches his chance to stick it to Bernie on 'communism'
Michael Bloomberg was treated like the skunk at the garden party at his Democratic debate debut, but he missed his opportunity to spray the one guy he needed to to reach the top of the heap.
Sure, there's an entire fading clown car to take on, but it was Bernie Sanders, the real frontrunner with a double-digit poll lead, that he needed to knock out.
Here's the New York Post's account of Bloomberg's reply to some bloviating by Bernie about the wonders of socialism:
"I can't think of a way to make it easier for Donald Trump to get reelected than listening to this conversation," Bloomberg said during Wednesday night's primary debate in Nevada.
"This is ridiculous. We're not going to throw out capitalism. We tried that. Other countries tried that. It was called communism and it just didn't work."
Sanders replied that that was "a cheap shot," something he's always gotten away with when the press or voters have asked him the same thing. Did Bloomberg nail him on that canard in hot pursuit? Nope. Yet that was where he could have made gains. He had one job, to take out Sanders, and he blew it.
Sanders's dishonest reply really did need some kind of interrupting retort from Bloomberg.
Far from that "communist" epithet being a cheap shot, Sanders in fact has been the first one out there to praise any socialist regime — whether it was Nicaragua's Sandinistas, Cuba's Soviet-satellite system, or Venezuela's "Bolivarian revolution." He's always been on the ground supporting those guys and disavowing them when they failed. He's never spent time in Denmark, his supposed role model now. It's always been the hellholes he's gravitated to and praised. He's still got stuff up on his website quoting others who praise the Venezuelan hellhole. He has yet to call any of these places dictatorships or support any measures against their depredations.
Worse still, he's the guy who got the congratulatory notes from the Soviet embassy when he won his first elected office — back in the day when the KGB courted stooges. Did Bloomberg bring up Sanders's Soviet honeymoon? Who on Earth would choose the USSR as the place for his honeymoon, viewing the workers' paradise as a better place for romantic lovebirding than some real paradise like the Bahamas or Hawaii? Why didn't he make Sanders squirm on at least that? He also could have brought up that Denmark's leaders have angrily disavowed any comparison of their democracy to Sanders's Soviet-style plan.
Bloomberg didn't have the cojones to go after any of this. He let Elizabeth Warren gasp "whoa" at his first shot, then let Bernie have the final word with "cheap shot" when, in fact, in Bernie's case, there's nothing cheap about it; he has a willing Marxist background that ought to send chills into the minds of voters. Castro, Chávez, Lenin, Pol Pot all promised figurative Denmarks as they took power. It didn't work out that way at all.
It was especially annoying because Sanders, in fact, has always gotten off easy from the other Democrats. The fading remnants of the Democratic clown car have always been in awe of him because of his youth and grassroots support, something they've envied and hoped to scarf up after Sanders presumably dropped out. In previous debates, they were positively deferential to him. "Wouldn't a Bernie endorsement be great after he drops out? Better not be too mean to him."
In doing this, Bloomberg failed to reach the moderate and independent voters he wanted who might have propelled in into the lead.
Guess who gets them now. That's right: President Trump, not Bloomberg. Bloomie could have had them by offering up some frank talk about socialism and taking on Bernie, but he didn't. That leaves him the sad role as just another fish in the Democrat barrel, not a guy who's got his eye on the prize, first by strategically knocking out Sanders with a Sistah Souljah moment, and then focusing on scarfing up the indies and moderates. As a result of that missed chance, they now have every reason to go for Trump. Thanks, Mini.
Image credit: NBC News via YouTube, screen shot.