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.
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.