Let’s give credit where it’s due to Mr. Anti-Charisma himself, Mike Bloomberg.
If there is a black hole at the center of the universe where human grace and charm get sucked up into nothingness, never to escape, then that void is shaped exactly like Mayor Mike’s five-foot-seven-inch frame. Bloomberg’s lack was no obstacle to him creating one of the world’s great business fortunes from scratch, and since I’m unlikely to ever have to make small talk with him at a cocktail party, I can’t say that it bothers me, either.
But Bloomberg knows how to spot talent, or at least how to buy up so much of it that his campaign team occasionally produces a genuinely amusing item. They did just that earlier today.
— Mike Bloomberg (@MikeBloomberg) February 20, 2020
The cricket-laced silence was deafening, but I smiled all the way through and had a genuine chuckle the moment Liz Warren started to raise her hand and then put it back down again. Naturally, the internet went gorilla-stuff over MIKE BLOOMBERG’S DECEPTIVELY EDITED VIDEO.
Before we get to that, a few words about Bloomberg’s actual performance at the real debate.
It wasn’t good. It wasn’t even almost good. It was bad. Really bad. Here’s how I summed it up at the end of my debate drunkblog:
Bloomberg’s applause lines either fell flat or garnered a few boos. Sometimes more than a few.
Maybe it’s the crowd. Maybe he lacks the charisma to deliver an applause line. Maybe Democrats just don’t like him.
Whatever the reason is, it makes me wonder if lobbying to get himself on the debate stage before his first contest on Super Tuesday was an operational-level error.
The other candidates were going to go after him no matter what during his first debate appearance. But without Bloomberg having proven first on Super Tuesday that he has a constituency, they were absolutely fearless in going after him. Maybe, if he had waited a month, he’d have been better prepared. Maybe, with a solid Super Tuesday showing under his belt, Bloomberg’s rivals would have been more trepidatious in their attacks.
But he went all-in tonight, not fully prepared and completely untested.
It didn’t go well.
Just so you’re sure where I stand on Bloomberg, I would rather gnaw off my own forehead than see him become president. (What I would do to myself to avoid seeing a Bernie Sanders presidency is so much worse, so much graphically worse, that I won’t even hint at what it might be.). So whatever else I’m about to write, please don’t mistake any of it as a defense of Bloomberg’s candidacy. But I know an enjoyably silly video when I see one, and this is one.
Nevertheless, POLITICO’s Mark Caputo felt it necessary to spend a good chunk of his morning dissecting Bloomberg’s “deceptively edited video.”
I wish I were kidding:
Look @ this clip of last night's debate where Bloomberg says "I'm the only one here who ever started a business. Is that fair?"
There's a pause of 2 seconds. No 1 answers & Bloomberg says "Okay."
But Bloomberg's campaign deceptively edited video to be more dramatic Tweet 1 of 3 pic.twitter.com/rflUqQzI49
— Marc Caputo (@MarcACaputo) February 20, 2020
Bloomberg’s campaign did not do anything deceptive in order “to be more dramatic.” They cut most of the sound and added in a bunch of B-roll footage of the other candidates, some of it comically sped up or put in reverse, in order to be more funny. And it worked. Yet Caputo insists in a follow-up tweet — yes, he did a whole thread on this silliness — that “Bloomberg actually inserts video that never happened & that’s not clear to viewers.”
Well, sure, if viewers are idiots who think that a half-dozen politicians are going to go silent for 22 seconds of valuable gas-bagging time during a presidential debate, and that the moderators and the audience and the local cricket-American community would play right along.
My boys, ages 9 and 14, and I have a running gag: “The joke just keeps getting funnier the more you explain it!” Don’t you wish Caputo’s dad had been more like me?
Daily Caller’s Eddie Zipperer is a genuinely funny guy, but even he went a little too deep on this one.
— Eddie Zipperer (@EddieZipperer) February 20, 2020
Somebody even went so far as to report Bloomberg’s tweet to the Twitter authorities.
And some people wouldn’t know funny if you propped a bucket full of it atop a cracked-open door they were about to walk through.
Lighten up, Francis.
If that was a deep fake, then we’ve got decades or more before we have to worry about AI taking over the world.
The Blue Checkmark mafia is so all over Bloomberg’s video, that it makes me think that even after last night’s awful debate debut they still see him as a potential threat to Dreamboatt Bernie. If that’s true, it’s really more of a commentary on Sanders than it is on Bloomberg.
Let me finish with one last bit of wisdom if you’ll allow me to call it that.
You might be familiar with Costanza’s Law of Lies:
“It’s not a lie if you believe it.”
However, you might not be familiar with Steve’s Corollary to Costanza’s Law: “It’s not a lie unless you hope someone else will believe it.”
Bloomberg’s silly campaign video was just that: A light bit of fun, meant to highlight what was probably his only good line of the night, and in an amusing way. Nobody was meant to believe it, nobody did believe it, and those of us without a telephone pole up our bottom got a little enjoyment out of it.
For my money, that’s Mission Accomplished. For Bloomberg’s money, a minimal investment yielded rich returns in the form of a bunch of Blue Checkmark Mafia enforcers revealing themselves as self-serious idiots.
I don’t know how much Bloomberg paid, but the result was priceless.