November 25, 2019

So Michael Bloomberg is running for president, and the Manhattan media can't get over their adoration for a so-called billionaire populist?

On Monday's Morning Joe, Bret Stephens, one of the more insufferable of the never-Trumpers, called Bloomberg another FDR. Stephens praised to the sky the sacrifice Mike Bloomberg has made donating money and in, you know, public service.

Stephens also engaged in the brutal abuse tactic of "if you don't agree with me Democrats will lose to Donald Trump in 2020." We don't use the eff word on the front page of Crooks and Liars, but if we did...

Anand Giridharadas was having none of it, and "took Bret Stephens to school" as he noted later on Twitter: "Very hectic morning. Drove from Manhattan to Brooklyn to drop my son off at school and also drove from Brooklyn to Manhattan to drop school on Bret Stephens."

Giridharadas pointed out that while 1 out of 5000 Americans is a Billionaire, one out of NINE Democrats running for president are billionaires. (Bloomberg, Tom Steyer, and John Delaney are 3 out of approximately 20). We don't need a plutocrat savior, and regardless of policy, "plutes gonna plute."

That's when Stephens decided to say "This is America." REALLY.

ANAND GIRIDHARADAS: Couple things. First of all, you don't need to tell me this is America, I'm from America so I understand there's different values at stake in America and we can all claim different values. The values I'm talking about are also American. When you have someone like Mike Bloomberg, he's different than Donald Trump. I believe there's a difference in starting your own business and inheriting money. But the argument I'm stating in this book, I'm happy to send you a copy, because you sound pre, not post. Even if you have given a bunch away, you have benefitted from a system of 30, 40 years in this country. If you look at the data, the 1% of the .1%, it's too much. If you look at the 1% holding the wealth of America, the 1% getting 49% of the income, the data that you and I both know, the issue is unless you are showing as a very wealthy person that you're breaking down that system, you are, in a sense, complicit in that system. And Michael Bloomberg has shown zero appetite to fundamentally alter that system. So say that to my America is not an America in which most people who work 40 hours a week at the bottom half of the country do not anymore feel like they can move ahead, get education, get health care. That's not my America. My America is not a country in which, you know, the 400 wealthiest families play a lower effective tax rate than any other social class in this country. We can talk about what America is, but the way it's working for a lot of people at this table anymore doesn't work anymore. The American dream is a phrase. And the idea that the savior is a plutocrat, it's not Donald Trump, and it is simply trying to suggest that maybe we can actually trust people who come out of popular movements, people who actually grow out of communities to govern this country for the next few decades.

Giridharadas spent the rest of the morning trolling the ran-away-from-Twitter Bret Stephens.

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