Bob Franken




Will I get in trouble if I observe that Samoa is not just a Girl Scout cookie? American Samoa is a U.S. territory, some 6,000 miles from the mainland, and the site of Michael Bloomberg’s first victory on Super Tuesday. He even beat Tulsi Gabbard, who was born there before moving on to become a congresswoman from Hawaii and an outlier Democratic candidate for president.
Still, Bloomberg whomped favorite daughter Gabbard, nabbing four delegates to the Democratic convention to her two. Altogether Bloomberg collected a grand total of 52 delegates. Given that he spent at least half a billion dollars on his advertising strategy for Super Tuesday, where his name was on the ballot for the first time, after avoiding the early voting states, it amounted to about $10 million or so for each delegate.
Sharp businessman that he is, Mike Bloomberg astutely decided that his plan to purchase the presidency was too expensive even for him. He had financed an organization that was the envy of every political consultant that he hadn’t hired. Those he did take on were paid lavish wages. He also saturated the country with field offices. And all he got was slightly more than 50 lousy delegates.
In pulling out, he endorsed Joe Biden, just like many of the moderate candidates, against Bernie Sanders, the immoderate socialist. Bloomberg’s termination of his egotistical spending spree leaves a few questions on the other side: What will Elizabeth Warren do now that she, too, has pulled the plug? She’s almost as progressive as Sanders, but she hasn’t really caught the left world on fire like the Bern has. Will she be an asset to Bernie Sanders?

And then there is Tulsi Gabbard, of course. What will she do with her two delegates when she finally caves? Will she even bother to announce it since nobody cares? In any case, we won’t have to mention her name ever again.
But the biggie is what about the Bloomberg organization? Will it stay intact to supplement Biden’s? In fact, Joe hadn’t really put together that much of one. Will Bloomberg pull off a merger? And how about those hundreds of millions in TV ads? Will they now feature Joe Biden so we can grow as sick of him as we were of Bloomberg? Or will he spread the wealth around and try to purchase a Democratic majority in both houses of Congress? He’d have some competition there, because the Republicans have their own party treasury raised from the contributions of a majority of America’s oligarchs and those foreigners rich enough to pretend to be Americans.
What surprises lie ahead? Obviously we don’t know the answer to that one, because if we did, they wouldn’t be surprises. We all know about the October one, which fate, or an oppo research team, springs on us within a few days of the election. It’s usually something sensational that can’t be thoroughly checked out because there is no time left, perhaps something cleverly placed out there by the Russians or some other adversary.
But we are way ahead of schedule. What is coronavirus if not a surprise? What effect will it have on the economy, which has already suffered a major hit? To say nothing about an ongoing perception of Trump administration incompetence. That credibility is kinda threadbare after three years of buffoonery. Will President Donald Trump and his impulse control issues get in the way of dealing with this public health menace in the methodical way of scientists and experts he doesn’t claim to trust?
But even before we get to him, will we be witnessing a few surprises within the Democratic Party? Who knew just a few days ago, when Joe Biden was given up for dead, that he would resurrect? Now, for all practical purposes, it’s him and Bernie Sanders going for the nomination. That is, unless Tulsi Gabbard pulls off an even bigger surprise and becomes competitive.

© 2020 Bob Franken
Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

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