On April 10, 1912, when it launched on its maiden voyage, the RMS Titanic was one of the most expensive and well-equipped passenger liners in history.
One-hundred-and-eight years later, the Bloomberg liner is the most expensive and well-equipped in history, if measured by its daily burn rate of $6 million a day.
Yet of course, spending money is not the same thing as getting good results. The Titanic proved not to be seaworthy. And the Bloomberg is proving not to be White House-worthy.
Interestingly, during its brief time afloat, the Titanic was thought to be so well manufactured that it was dubbed “unsinkable.” Indeed, so confident were the shipbuilders that they skimped on lifeboats. For his part, the ship’s captain, Edward Smith, shared that optimism; he declared that nautical engineering had advanced so far that he “could not imagine any condition which would cause a ship to founder. Modern shipbuilding has gone beyond that.”
Yet as we all know, even today, ships can still founder and sink. In fact, just four days into its first trip, the Titanic hit an iceberg; it sank in the North Atlantic in the wee hours of April 15, 1912. And yet if the Titanic had possessed those lifeboats, many lives would have been saved; instead, 700 people died—including Captain Smith.
So now, we can observe the fate of the Bloomberg. As with the Titanic, the Bloomberg was lovingly assembled at great cost; no luxury was spared—he’s already spent more than $500 million. His crew-members signed on for fat paychecks, lavish expense accounts, and abundant perks. (As Virgil noted just the other day, the two admen have already collected more than $6 million).
Yet now, the Bloomberg has hit an iceberg named “Joe Biden’s Comeback”—although some might prefer to call it the “Clinton-Obama Democrat Establishment.” That is, Biden won a big victory in South Carolina, proving that he was viable (even if he doesn’t seem to have all his marbles), and so Democrat Establishmentarians (everyone from Clinton pal Terry McAuliffe to Obama adviser Susan Rice, known for being close to the 44th president) are rushing to support Biden. Moreover, three former presidential hopefuls—Amy Klobuchar, Pete Buttigieg, and Beto O’Rourke—have also now endorsed Biden.
Oh, and former Sen. Harry Reid—retired from office, but still influential in Democrat politics—has come out for Biden as well.
And all those endorsements came before Biden’s strong performance on Super Tuesday.
In other words, the Democrat Establishment is coming together to build a roadblock to Stop Bernie Sanders. Will it succeed? It’s too soon to know, but the one thing we do know is that Democrat power-brokers want Biden to have an unobstructed path down the “moderate” (relative term) lane as he proceeds toward the Democrat convention in Milwaukee.
In the meantime, Sanders will have the left lane—except, of course, for the continuing presence of Elizabeth Warren. (Conspiratorialists might wonder why Warren is staying in the race: Is it because she really thinks she has a shot? Or is it because she’s secretly helping Biden by draining away some of Sanders’ left-wing support?)
Yes, just in the last few days, many top Democrats have been pushing icebergs in the path of the Bloomberg. And at least one seems to have hit the ship. An intriguing indicator came in the form of a March 3 item in Vanity Fair, headlined, “He will risk making Ross Perot and Ralph Nader look good: Bloomberg resists advisers’ push to exit the race.”
We can stop right here and observe that referencing Ralph Nader is especially piercing to the Bloomberg’s seaworthiness. How so? Because every Democrat recalls that Nader’s third-party candidacy in 2000 drew votes away from Al Gore, thus giving the White House to George W. Bush. So if Bloomberg gets lumped in the same category, he really will be in Davy Jones’ locker, Democrat-wise.
Indeed, if the Vanity Fair article is to be believed, Bloomberg is getting a hard push from his top mates:
Mike Bloomberg’s campaign advisers lobbied Bloomberg to drop out of the race and endorse Biden before Super Tuesday, four sources briefed on the internal conversations said. Some of the sources said that campaign manager Kevin Sheekey and other top campaign officials argued to Bloomberg that the best chance of beating Donald Trump in November would be for Bloomberg to exit the race to bolster Biden’s candidacy as Biden battles with Bernie Sanders for the nomination. “There is a prevailing view Mike should drop out,” one Bloomberg adviser told me.
Thus the message is as clear as an iceberg glistening on a cloudless night with a full moon: Abandon ship! That is, when your top lieutenants say you’re sinking, it’s best to look for a lifeboat.
For his part, Bloomberg reportedly wants to keep going, at least for a little bit. Speaking like a businessman, he is said to think, I’ll be damned if I walk away before a single vote is cast for me.
Meanwhile, the Vanity Fair report was confirmed, seemingly, by a tweet from The Atlantic—a source which seems fully in keeping with our maritime theme. “A Bloomberg adviser” is said to have added yet another ocean-going image, saying of the candidate, “He’s not going to stay in and say, ‘Damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead.’”
So it seems that the Bloomberg might never make it to port for the Milwaukee convention.
Of course, Bloomberg, still has plenty of money. Okay, that $500 million might be in the drink, but he still has $60 billion or so left. So if he wished to do so, he could build himself a while new ship.
After all, it’s not so obvious that the Biden is up for the long haul of 2020; the Democrats might yet conclude that they have to nominate someone who can reliably put sentences together.
Yes, the Bloomberg is taking on water, and it probably can’t be saved from an ignominious sinking.
But there could always be a Bloomberg II.