Bloomberg: Upon further review…

When I posted my analysis of the Democratic debate from Las Vegas, I suspected my evaluation would be a minority opinion. In fact, I even reported the talking heads on CNN were kicking hell out of the New York billionaire, yet I wrote Michael Bloomberg’s performance was more than adequate. I was wrong.

Michael Bloomberg gets schooled by Elizabeth Warren. (Photo: USA Today)

How did that happen?

First, as I learned as a theater critic, you don’t review the audience, and you don’t allow yourself to be influenced by the other critics. I was the Daily News theater critic from 1978-‘80, and when the Pulitzer Prize-winning “A Chorus Line” came to Philly — I didn’t like it.

As I was writing my negative review, I knew I was going to get killed. Half the audience had been singing along with the show’s songs.

But that was the thing: Most of them had seen it in New York or had the album. I had neither and the company was not well drilled. They were not crisp, the lyrics were mushy and not understandable. That ruined the show for me.

Someone once said if a man is right, even if he is alone, he is a majority. I did not think I am a majority, I just call them as I see them. I’d rather be wrong and honest with you than a hack playing for public approval. Most of you know I am not in this to win a popularity contest.

When you are in the punditry business, sometimes you will be wrong. No shame in that, if you are honest about your opinions. Four years ago I predicted Hillary Clinton would carry Pennsylvania because no Clinton had ever lost an election in the Quaker State. I had a good basis for my prediction, but I was wrong and when you are wrong you own up to it. That’s why I am not removing my post saying Bloomberg did OK. That would be a dishonest “repair” of history.

But I was curious as to why I saw the debate so differently — and not because I am Bloomberg’s payroll, as some moron on Facebook suggested. Yes, he did.

I had acknowledged the body blows landed midway through the debate by Sen. Elizabeth Warren on the now-infamous non disclosure agreements, but I underplayed their importance.


Maybe because I signed a non disclosure agreement when I retired from the Daily News and Inquirer, as had hundreds, if not thousands, of my colleagues. I didn’t like it, no one does, but NDAs are SOP for big business.

NDAs are a form of hush money, yes, but they are “voluntary,” even though the employee is under financial pressure. No one said life is fair.

I think that is why I underestimated the impact of Warren’s assault and the lameness of Bloomberg’s defense. Upon further review, I saw it differently when I went back and reviewed the debate. While his opponents did not crush Bloomberg on his wealth, “buying the election,” redlining or stop-and-frisk, the NDA was a killer.

It was so bad, to stop the hemorrhaging Bloomberg later said he would release several women from the DNAs confidentiality clause.

It was major, I missed it, and I have explained why.

16 thoughts on “Bloomberg: Upon further review…”

    You got a few things going for you. You’re tall, honest and loyal. I hear you with your correction. Politically, you’re probably correct that Mike Bloomberg took it on the chin. I think that he will recover. I think that America’s grandmother is on her way out. She did nothing in the debate except nail Bloomberg. I think Mike could have handled it better, but since that was his first debate, I’ll check it off as being green and wet around the ears. Bloomberg better toughen up fast or he will be debate fodder as well.
    Just for clarity. I don’t like any of the candidates. Of all, I think that Mike Bloomberg is the only one who can mount a challenge to our President, but as Bernie said about the situation, “Trump will chew him up and spit him out “.

  2. Your in itial analysis reminded me of my opinions on the Quayle Bentsen VP debate in “88”. I thought that Quayle had made a very good accounting of himself and actually edged out The Senator from Texas. However, it was Bentsen’s “John Kennedy line that carried the day. Not totally analogous but it did trigger this memory. In short, it’s always a good thing to offer up a minority opinion that is backed by sound sholarship

    1. Quayle missed the perfect retort to Bentsen who famously said, “I knew John Kennedy and you, sir, are no John Kennedy.” What Quayle COULD have said (and maybe carried the day), was “You are correct, sir. I am no John Kennedy…I am faithful to my wife and our marriage vows.”

  3. OK, I admit that I made the same mistake. All I saw was billionaire getting beat up by a woman. (I have cleaned that statement up some.) I found it so entertaining I just didn’t stop to think about the weight of the moment.

  4. I also think that Not-So-Magnificent-Mike got beat up. Soundly? Well, no. I admire his stoicism in the face of his two-faced opponents. But that straight-laced-face also doesn’t “look well” to a lot of people. I was pleased that he didn’t act like the lot off them Wed night. But, as you have already said, the Talking Heads of the troika (CNN, MS-NBC, etc.), saw it ONLY one way for Bloomberg.

    What are worried about this for anyway? The Russians are coming, the Russians are coming!

  5. I believe Mike Bloomberg showed wisdom, rather than “shyness.” I believe he was thinking and sizing up the competition. He did not buy into the ‘Democratic feeding frenzy.” He was a “man among men” with his observation rather than comment.
    I say give him time. We need a thinking President, not an “off the cuff” without thinking. Our country needs a good manager, not a god who is perfect. He had the guts to apologize for what he thought was the right thing to save New Yorker lives when he took on “stop and frisk.”
    Why does our society look to the past to ruin the present and future of a man? Why not listen to what he believes he can do for our country which is what we need so badly. The other prospective candidates did nothing to unite our country when they commented on “blacks and Latinos.” Aren’t we all Americans without giving us a color or a category? We are Americans who vote regardless of our color, and we need a leader who sees us as such.
    I say give Mike Bloomberg a chance.
    An avid independent voter–not a party woman.

  6. I am reminded of a Michael Caine’s famous observation of a fund raiser where a donor offered $100,000 to hear John Wayne do the famous soliloquy from Hamlet. Wayne began (and try to imagine his voice here): “To be…or not to be…that is the question. Hey, who wrote this shit?” I suspect, Stu, you heard a non-John Wayne Bloomberg, while the rest of us heard the Duke doing Hamlet.

      1. My point was that what we see and hear often fools us. When you heard John Wayne *(Bloomberg), you thought you were hearing Sir Laurence Olivier.

  7. When was the debate? Wednesday, I think. And still discussing it? I thought I was Rip Van Winkle. Just kiddin’ Stu. A little levity, even if just for me. As always you’re a stand up columnist with sound principles.

    Since I first commented 3 blogs ago during the debate, while we were still talking about your Bernie one, I’ve reread everything. The caption above (Warren schools Bloomberg, etc)….well, Bloomberg schooled them all on “free market capitalism”, and I pointed it out earlier when he turned to them and asked (paraphrasing ) “I’m the only one on this stage that has created … tens of thousands of jobs….right?” ‘Right, I thought. That’s how Trump won.’ There was dead silence including the spectators. They hadn’t a clue that their best shot had just spoken. I’ve even written the Inq & the NE Times. Basing who won on one line, though, like I have, is maybe equivalent to a single in baseball. I see now that it’s already a political ad, with drama.
    If Bloomberg indeed lost, and they continue to attack him, look for a summer surprise beside the brokered convention!

  8. I thought Bloomberg had his wrists slapped but he held up fairly well. He has never been great at debating. I guess I’m different. Were I him I would take ownership of stop and frisk, and every other dastardly thing he’s accused of doing. New Yorkers must have seen something positive about his performance as Mayor. He was elected three times.
    I’m for anyone who will be a moderate on the ticket. I’m just not ready for socialism

    Jan Fisher

      1. HAPPY MONDAY !!!
        another problem comes to light. Bloomberg in so many words unleashed the cops on the ghetto. This was the ruination of stop and frisk, positive policing and law and order.
        Philly, after having their own problems, use stop and frisk as a tool to stem violence. Too bad the DA and Mayor don’t back Philly’s finest.

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