Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Bloomberg's Prospects and David Brook's Tardy Embrace of Obama

I'm a fan of Mike Bloomberg and certainly hope he runs.

I like to read stuff I disagree with so that I can practice finding my rational way around the minefield of my own hot buttons and shoulder chips. So I gave this nasty, inaccurate, unfair, and inappropriate slam/slur on Bloomberg’s potential candidacy my best shot. I'd need 30 pages to rebuff most of the invective and off-kilter nonsense, but I do concede that a couple of the root issues may have merit. Bloomberg would likely do little about income inequality or bank regulation. That said, neither would President Sanders. There's only so much a president can do.

Though, hmmm, perhaps that's wrong. Consider this:

Obama could never push for marijuana legalization (or relaxed drug penalties, generally). The "black guy" simply can't get away with that. That's also how Hillary congealed into her neo-con-ish hawkishness after starting out as an anti-Vietnam activist. The liberal lady must talk tough. To hold on to independent voters, one can't personify ones most obvious cliches. One must lean the other way.

For example, look how long Obama delayed in nudging so much as a finger toward gun control - in spite of sustained hysteria from gun people certain he'd take away their guns. Years and years of attendance at mass shooting funerals - Sandy Hook really wrecked him, as it did us all - yet he didn't go near the issue. Not once! Yes, he's finally boiled over, but it took an awful lot, and even now, his proposals are as mild as can be. They're literally the least he could do.

So here's what I'm thinking. Bloomberg is the furthest thing from the crony capitalist portrayed in that article. He didn't turn his nose up at "Occupy Wall Street" because he's a plutocrat; he found the flailing, unfocused class anger distasteful. And while he certainly wouldn't foment the wild, fantastical revolution Bernie gets his followers riled up about, he's solidly positioned to institute well-reasoned bank regulation, and to work on income inequality in subtler, more pragmatic and realistic ways than the storm-the-gates approach. This may, in fact, be an issue that only a connected billionaire (with a social conscience) could realistically and effectively take on.

Two more political things to read:

I agree 100% with conservative pundit David Brooks' salute to the mensch-ness of Obama, and applaud his frankness. However, I also agree with Salon that it's far too little, far too late.

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