If you’ve ever gazed into the sweet, stupid eyes of a milk cow, then you’ve got a pretty good idea of what Michael Bloomberg sees when he looks at you.
How dumb does the billionaire think you are; you, the median American voter, who’s “Big Gulping” your way to an early grave, and crashing the global economy by spending more than you could ever save? Why, dumb enough to believe that the reason Michael Bloomberg did not apologize for his “stop and frisk” policy until late last month — six years after it was ruled unconstitutional, and three years after its phase-out failed to produce any spike in gun homocides — was that no one had ever asked him about it until he started running for president.
On CBS This Morning Friday, Gayle King asked Bloomberg what he would say to those who find his sudden change-of-heart on stop-and-frisk suspicious, given its timing. “The mark of an intelligent, competent person is when they make a mistake, they have the guts to stand up and say, ‘I made a mistake, I’m sorry,’” Bloomberg said. When King pointed out that this wasn’t actually responsive to the timing question, Bloomberg replied, “Well, nobody asked me about it till I started running for president. So, c’mon.”
Bloomberg’s answer doesn’t even make sense on its own, wildly dishonest terms. If the mark of an intelligent, competent person is to “have the guts to stand up” and apologize when they’ve made a mistake, then why would Bloomberg have waited until someone asked him about “stop and frisk” to take responsibility for his error? If the timing of his apology was not dictated by a (suspiciously convenient) come-to-policing-reform moment — but merely by when someone bothered to ask him how he felt — then Bloomberg must have realized he was wrong months if not years ago. In which case, by his account, Michael Bloomberg lacks the guts to stand up and apologize when he’s made a mistake, and is thus, neither intelligent nor competent.
But all that’s besides the point. To hastily review history: Bloomberg oversaw a gun-violence prevention policy that involved having New York City police officers routinely stop and search young, overwhelmingly nonwhite men by the hundreds of thousands. This was a degrading, demoralizing policy, according to many nonwhite New Yorkers. It was also an unconstitutional infringement on their civil rights, according to a federal judge. But even after that judge’s ruling came down in 2013, Bloomberg and his allies persisted in defending the policy, arguing that it was the only thing standing between New Yorkers and a surge in gun violence. Under Bill de Blasio’s administration, the city drastically scaled back “stop and frisk.” In 2011, the NYPD made nearly 700,000 stops. Since de Blasio took office in 2014, they’ve been performing a little over 10,000 stops per year. In that time span, crime in the city has consistently declined; in 2018, homicides in NYC fell to a low unseen in more than six decades.
Let’s give Bloomberg the benefit of the doubt, and assume that he wasn’t claiming he’d never been asked about “stop and frisk” during his time as mayor, or in the immediate aftermath of his mayoralty. Charitably, one might imagine that he meant “no one has asked me about this since the evidence that I was wrong about this policy became dispositive.” But even that would be an audacious lie. The freaking National Review decided its support for stop and frisk was untenable in January 2018, when it published a detailed mea culpa.
Here are the opening paragraphs of a CNN report from January of this year (when Michael Bloomberg was not running for president):
Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg offered a full-throated defense of the New York Police Department’s use of “stop and frisk” policing Tuesday evening, attributing the city’s declining murder rate during his tenure as mayor to the controversial policy.
Taking questions from the audience during the United States Naval Academy’s 2019 Leadership Conference, Bloomberg was told by a Naval Academy midshipman that “there have been a lot of controversies surrounding your support of the policy of stop and frisk that was being used by law enforcement to target African-Americans and Hispanic-Americans.”
“What would you say to those in the two communities that have been negatively affected by the policy that you supported in the past?” the midshipman asked Bloomberg.
“We focused on keeping kids from going through the correctional system … kids who walked around looking like they might have a gun, remove the gun from their pockets and stop it,” Bloomberg said. He added that “the result of that was, over the years, the murder rate in New York City went from 650 a year to 300 a year when I left.”
But Bloomberg doesn’t just believe that you ordinary American voters are as gullible and open to suggestion as a 5-year-old on mescaline. He also thinks they are ungrateful if they believe they have a right to complain about workplace policies that they consider antithetical to their vocation.
How could Trump possibly paint this Democrat as a lying, out-of-touch elite?