John Derbyshire: Pundits Wrong, Bloomberg Did OK In Debate—And That’s Bad News
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This week's big talking point was of course Wednesday night's televised debate from Las Vegas, featuring the six leading Democratic Party candidates for President.

I normally report on these events in world-weary mode, telling you how much I hate them and what a struggle I had to keep awake. This one was different. I watched the whole thing—all two hours—with fascinated attention.

The country at large agreed with me. Almost twenty million people tuned in to Wednesday's debate, making it the most-watched Democratic candidates' debate ever, according to NBC.

(If you're a Republican you can take consolation from the fact that even Wednesday's night's twenty million was way short of the twenty-four million that Fox News pulled in back in August 2015 for the first GOP debate that year featuring Donald Trump.)

The pundits’ consensus: that Michael Bloomberg lost bigly. My Thursday New York Post put a picture of Bloomberg on the cover page with sticking plasters all over his face. Tucker Carlson on Thursday was crowing and chuckling over what he called Bloomberg's "humiliation."

I'm sorry, but I think there is some serious wishful thinking going on there. I watched the whole debate with keen attention, and I didn't think Bloomberg came out of it too badly.

Perhaps I'm judging on a different metric from the New York Post subs and Tucker. My basic metric is: craziness. Measured thus, the only two candidates up there on Wednesday night who struck me as non-crazy—as reasonably normal people, not hires in from Clowns-R-Us—were Bloomberg and Klobuchar.

Unfortunately, today's Democratic Party is not a safe space for normal people. This is especially true in matters related to race and sex. That's where Bloomberg got into trouble. On race and sex, he wasn't crazy enough, and couldn't convincingly fake being crazy enough.

So he had to do an unconvincing walk-back of his 2015 remarks (noted at the time by Steve Sailer) about crime in New York City. [Bloomberg Gets Cancelled For Old Speech Saying Minorities are Overrepresented in Crime Statistics | Despite him being essentially correct, by Paul Joseph Watson, Summit News, February 11, 2020] Back then he had noted the thing we all know: that to a good first approximation, all violent crime in New York—or any other city—is committed by Sun People, which is to say blacks and Latinos. Stopping suspicious-looking young male Sun People and frisking them for illegal weapons is an excellent crime-prevention strategy. It worked really well.

That of course is total heresy nowadays. Not just in the Democratic Party, either: I'm not holding my breath waiting for Tucker Carlson to speak frankly about race and crime. For Democrats, though, it is super-heresy, and Bloomberg had to do his best to recant.

His best wasn't very good.

And then there are those non-disclosure agreements between Bloomberg and various women he had offended in some way. Here we are back with the weird moral hysteria of the #MeToo movement, which is basically a lawyers' ramp—a very successful scheme by the Trial Lawyers' Associations to monetize bad manners.

Most of the events covered by those non-disclosure agreements probably don't even rise to the level of bad manners. Most were likely just office banter, of the kind that was common thirty or forty years ago.

I can speak from experience here, having worked in much the same milieu as the younger Bloomberg. My boss at First Boston, which I joined in the mid-1980s, was Wally Fekula, who had worked with Bloomberg at Salomon Brothers until they let Bloomberg go in 1981. Wally liked to boast that he had been the last Salomon employee to give Bloomberg's hand a farewell shake as he headed out to the elevator.

We went to work every day in that environment—the back offices of a Wall Street firm—all through the eighties and nineties. I know the kind of guy-gal talk that went on, in office hours and at Christmas parties and other let-your-hair-down events. It was loose, often ribald, but perfectly harmless, and not taken amiss by anyone so far as I can recall. The women gave as good as they got.

Nowadays, though, banter of that sort would get a guy fired on the spot, with a big fat harassment lawsuit to follow.

That's not Bloomberg's fault. It's just a change in our times—a change for the worse, if you want my opinion. God damn to hell the Trial Lawyers' Associations! Bloomberg, with those non-disclosure agreements, is just taking the sensible precautions a guy with deep pockets has to take in a world gone mad.

Listening to myself there, I sound sympathetic to Bloomberg. Again, though, I'm just trying to record facts. No way am I a Bloomberg voter. I want an immigration moratorium; Bloomberg wants wide-open borders. I'm an NRA life member; Bloomberg wants to repeal the Second Amendment.

And I share some of the fears expressed by Gregory Hood over at American Renaissance. [Mike Bloomberg, Oligarch, February 21, 2020] There has been much head-shaking and eye-rolling at the prospect of both big-party tickets putting forward a self-financing billionaire Presidential candidate in November. As Hood points out, however, Bloomberg and Trump are two very different guys.

Trump is lazy, inattentive, and easily swayed by the last authority figure that spoke to him, as we saw in those disastrous televised events of early 2018. So far as he has any ideas at all, he is mostly on our side; but he hasn't sufficiently mastered the machinery of executive politics, or perhaps just isn't interested enough, to actually do very much on our behalf.

Bloomberg is much more driven and able to concentrate. A Bloomberg White House would be busy 24/7 doing all sorts of things, all of them destructive of our liberties. Let me quote from Gregory Hood, edited quote:

He's not just a politician, but an oligarch who commands a vast financial and media empire. He would have almost unimaginable power if he were President, and everything in his past suggests he will use it … We know he would go after mostly white gun owners, and I have little doubt he'd pursue "white nationalists" too.

Bernie Sanders is the most extreme candidate, but Michael Bloomberg is probably the most dangerous. It's a good thing he doesn't know how to debate.

Permit me, please to recycle my favorite quote from Boris Unbegaun's Russian Grammar, quote:

The suffix -ina … is extremely productive in the extended forms -shchina and -ovshchina to denote unfavorably a state of mind or a political, social or artistic movement or trend.

And now let this be the first place you were warned of the looming threat of a Bloombergshchina, in which all the executive and judicial powers of the centralized state are used energetically and ruthlessly to crush all dissent from Politically Correct orthodoxy.

John Derbyshire [email him] writes an incredible amount on all sorts of subjects for all kinds of outlets. (This no longer includes National Review, whose editors had some kind of tantrum and fired him.) He is the author of We Are Doomed: Reclaiming Conservative Pessimism and several other books. He has had two books published by com: FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT (also available in Kindle) and FROM THE DISSIDENT RIGHT II: ESSAYS 2013.

For years he’s been podcasting at Radio Derb, now available at for no charge. His writings are archived at

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