Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Friday February 21, 2020
Despite His Billions, Bloomberg Busts
You can buy ads and saturate the airwaves with them. You can buy allies, especially with the right budget.
But you can’t buy a debate performance, and that’s why Mike Bloomberg’s on Wednesday night mattered so much. This was the man talking, not the money.
And the man needed rescue — from his bloodthirsty rivals and even more so from himself.
Making his first appearance alongside other contenders for the Democratic presidential nomination, Bloomberg knew that he would be under furious attack and had clearly resolved not to show any negative emotion. But that meant that he often showed no emotion at all. Or he looked vaguely bemused, and that didn’t communicate the coolness that he intended. It signaled an aloofness that he very much needed to avoid.
He made a groaner of a joke about his wealth, saying that he could hardly use a plebeian instrument like TurboTax to ready his tax returns for public consumption. He made light of past harassment-related complaints from female employees: “None of them accuse me of doing anything other than maybe they didn’t like a joke I told.”
He repeatedly — and laughably — suggested that he wouldn’t tear up nondisclosure agreements with women who have sued him or his company because they wanted the silence as much as he did. Elizabeth Warren hammered and hammered him on this point, but he wouldn’t budge, and that left the impression that he couldn’t budge. The truth would be too ugly.
Ugly: That’s the word for this ninth debate of the Democratic primary season. It had the fewest candidates — six — but the most nastiness, because those candidates clearly felt an urgency to diminish their competitors and elevate themselves before it was too late. A meager haul of votes in the Nevada caucuses this coming Saturday could effectively undo one or more of them; a poor showing on Super Tuesday less than two weeks from now would definitely be the end of the road.
It’s no wonder they wanted a bite of him. It was the first time since Bloomberg announced his run for the presidency that he was within reach. For three high-spending, high-flying months, he campaigned essentially as a phantasm, ubiquitous in television commercials but averse to interviews, a supposed paragon of electability who had yet to put himself before voters, more idea than actuality, able to be seen but not touched.
But on Wednesday night, that changed abruptly. The apparition became flesh. And it was bruised from the get-go and bloodied soon after. (Continued…NYT)
* It was my second time drawing him, actually. The first time I sketched Michael Bloomberg was while watching him on TV as he spoke to delegates at the 2016 Democratic Party convention.