Nov 08 2019

If I had all the money in the world…

Oh hell, let’s just do what we always do. Hijack some nuclear weapons and hold the world hostage. Yeah? Good! Gentlemen, it has come to my attention that a breakaway Russian Republic called Kreplachistan will be transferring a nuclear warhead to the United Nations in a few days. Here’s the plan. We get the warhead and we hold the world ransom for… ONE MILLION DOLLARS!

Don’t you think we should ask for *more* than a million dollars? A million dollars isn’t exactly a lot of money these days. Virtucon alone makes over 9 billion dollars a year!

Really? That’s a lot of money.

Okay then, we hold the world ransom for…


Well, first off we have enough, my art is generously patronized in the sense of subsidies but also ridicule (“Oh, ek? He blogs.” I write damnit. Format and ephemeral photons don’t matter.). I’m not here for charity of the financial or critical type. Sure I’d help my family, they help me and some of them are in bad spots, I might upgrade my lifestyle a bit but 32 feet is enough boat to single hand and if what you want is a floating Hotel you can buy one or a real Hotel (or bunches of them) or just rent one for a while and pretend.

What are you going to do with the rest of your $53 Billion? Buy dK out of spite (Ok, I would so totally do that. I have a Bosendorfer sitting in my living room that my Mother composed Grade School Musicals on and nobody else in my family plays except my brother who hates playing piano. I could raise the money if he had a business model other than sucking up and pissing people off.)?

I suggest to you the study of Brewster’s Millions, a film with John Candy and Richard Pryor. Brewster (Richard Pryor) stands to inherit an unimaginable amount of money, Han Solo money (“Idunno Princess, I can imagine quite a lot”), but only if he can spend a certain amount to teach him it’s value.

As you might surmise buggy whips come back into vogue and even buying the Chicago Cubs doesn’t suffiently deplete Brewster’s bankroll (he should have tried Atlantic City Casinos, failing Golf Courses, and Mall Steaks) so he does the only thing he can possibly do to blow a vast amount in a limited time to no purpose whatsoever.

So he runs for Mayor.

Bloomberg has already been there, done that but evidently he’s back for more and I’m only half kidding when I say I could file in New Hamshire for $1000 and run as a favorite son (or nearby neighbor).

Michael Bloomberg faces a major ideological challenge
By Paul Waldman, Washington Post
November 8, 2019

Unlike our current president, Bloomberg actually is one of the richest people in the world; Forbes ranks him at No. 8, with a fortune of $53 billion. Which means that he could spend unlimited money on a campaign if he wanted. But the money might not not matter, since the real question is whether there’s a space for him in what has already been a spirited race for the Democratic nomination.

Much of the coverage of Bloomberg’s potential candidacy has described it as a threat to Joe Biden, who is currently understood as the chief “moderate” in the race. But that underplays the complex ideological currents that could make Bloomberg’s candidacy such a challenge.

Before we go further, I should note that for years I have angrily condemned (with little apparent effect) the phenomenon of rich businesspeople running for elected office by saying “I’m a businessman, not a politician,” as though their lack of relevant experience is what qualifies them for the job. If you had a leaky pipe and somebody showed up at your house saying, “I’m an accountant, not a plumber; those guys can’t solve your problem because what you need is common-sense solutions to the water filling up your basement,” the last thing you’d let him do is start taking apart your plumbing.

Our current president offers a kind of horror-cartoon instantiation of this idea, but there are plenty of less dramatic examples of businesspeople who either ran abysmal campaigns (which is where many of their ambitions run aground) or got into office only to find that governing is, whaddya know, hard.

Bloomberg, however, was in many ways the exception to this rule. Even though he did some extremely controversial things as mayor of New York (such as expanding the use of stop-and-frisk), even his critics acknowledge that he was an effective nuts-and-bolts manager in what some people regard as the second most difficult job in America, bringing some sorely needed efficiencies to the operation of the city’s government.

But while there are certainly things he’ll tout from his time as mayor, in a presidential primary voters aren’t looking for management skills as much as they are agreement on issues and a particular vision for where the party should go. You could take Bloomberg’s unusual combination of issue positions, put some into one box and others into another, and end up with something you’d call “moderate” or “centrist.” The other way to look at it, however, is that whoever you are, you’re going to find something about him to dislike.

As David Dayen wrote in 2016 when Bloomberg was considering a run, “An anti-teachers’-union, anti-gun, pro-nanny state, pro-Wall Street, pro-stop-and-frisk, pro-inequality, pro-immigration, pro-surveillance, pro-Iraq War neoconservative is almost surgically designed to repel practically every American voter on some level.”

If Bloomberg does decide to run, I’d predict that questions of ideology are going to bedevil him. He has indicated that he’s contemplating a bid because he doesn’t think the field is strong enough to beat Trump, but he’ll have to articulate a rationale for his candidacy that goes deeper than that.

Or think about it this way: What does Bloomberg think the problem is, and what does he think the solution is? Elizabeth Warren, for instance, thinks the problem is an economic and political system captured by the wealthy and powerful; her solution is deep structural change to dismantle their power. Joe Biden thinks the problem is polarization and partisanship, and the solution is his brand of problem-solving based on good faith and strong cross-partisan friendship.

Bloomberg may already have answers to those questions, even if he hasn’t made them clear to the public. And it’s even possible that his complex collection of issue stands could, in a general election, remain fuzzy enough for voters that they’d just view him as “moderate.”

But to get there, he’ll have to win over a Democratic primary electorate that may be looking for someone whose ideological beliefs look a little more like theirs.

Excuse me, I need to take a cold shower in $100 bills, I mean, go America’s Cup Yacht racing.