Let’s do a thought experiment. If Charles or David Koch got invited onto NBC’s Today show to talk about their efforts to advance their political agenda, would either or both get partnered with Savannah Guthrie for a softball interview? Would their interview include suggestions that one of them should run for President? Kyle Drennen at Newsbusters notes that two weeks prior to Michael Bloomberg’s appearance on Today, the network took a much different approach to money in politics:
Only two weeks earlier, NBC was wringing its hands over a Supreme Court ruling loosening campaign finance restrictions. On the April 3 Today, White House correspondent Peter Alexander proclaimed: “And you thought there was already too much money in politics. Fasten your seat belts. From now on, there’s gonna be a whole lot more.”
Suddenly, though, NBC has nothing but warm fuzzies for multi-billionaires pouring money into electoral politics:
The clip just provides the highlights. Newsbusters has the whole transcript up, but let me just note the tough questions asked by Guthrie in this interview:
Mr. Mayor, I’ll start with a simple question. You had a tragedy like Newtown everybody was horrified by. You had a major presidential push, it went nowhere. Why will you succeed where no one else has been able to?
But you know this is a political heavy lift. You’re putting $50 million into the effort.
Shannon, you got involved when you saw what happened in Newtown. You were a stay-at-home mom who watched it and you were outraged. Why do you think the moms are key? Because that seems to be central to this strategy.
Mr. Mayor, you’ve been pretty blunt about this, saying essentially this new group is going to borrow a page from the NRA’s playbook. The NRA has been very successful in frightening lawmakers who oppose them, saying, “We’ll punish you at the ballot box.” You’re quoted in The New York Times this morning saying, “We have to make them afraid of us.”
To go back to the $50 million. It’s not a small number. It’s not pocket change, even for you. Is it a matter simply of outspending the NRA? Which by the way, this sum would.
And yet we see this cycle over and over again. We’ve seen so many of these tragedies. If you look at the polling right now, people do get angry around these big tragic events. But it is not a priority for most Americans. They put gun control near the bottom of the list when asked to rank what issues matter most to them. You’ve got 49% of Americans right now who favor stricter gun laws. But that’s down almost 10% since Newtown, Shannon.
This all begs the question, we know you’re not afraid to get into the political fray. We know you’re not afraid to put a little money behind the effort. People do wonder perennially, about every four years actually, whether you would consider a run for president.
Do you think there is a time – that this may be a time for a third party candidate? I mean, do you think the two-party system is failing Americans on issues like this?
Do you miss being mayor?
Not once does Guthrie lament the amount of billionaire money being poured into politics, or even question it. Why? Because NBC and the Left aren’t really concerned about money in politics, but just the money that goes to support their opponents and thwart the nanny state.
That’s exactly what Bloomberg’s agenda has been all along. His comments about God in the New York Times were amusing, but also quite revealing, as I argue in my column for The Fiscal Times today:
I’m sure the Almighty is grateful for Bloomberg’s input on this matter, but we can leave the theological implications of this to the theologians. If there is a better example of hubris outside of Greek tragedies, though, we’d need to search far and wide for it. It’s the same hubris that fuels the nanny-state mentality, and makes a mockery of itself.
Take, for example, this new project. The common understanding of grassroots efforts is that they work from the bottom up. That phenomenon is what created the term “grassroots” in the first place. Having a billionaire spend $50 million to start a group is the antithesis of a grassroots movement, and usually ends up derided as “AstroTurf” – fake grass. Instead of the common people speaking truth to elites in power, Bloomberg’s latest project reverses the dynamic into the common nanny-state model of elites telling the hoi polloi what to think and how to live.
The context of Bloomberg’s remark says volumes about the goals of nanny-state politicians, too. The reason why Bloomberg feels he can skip the eternal intake interview has little to do with his faith or in eternal life, and everything to do with his attempt to force a Utopia on Earth. Peters noted that Bloomberg framed his comments in terms of “his work on gun safety, obesity and smoking cessation,” all of which took the form of dictates on access and limitation of choice.
Chris Cillizza at the Washington Post was left scratching his head, as I note in my conclusion:
Making himself the front man for this effort, given his track record of hubris, all but guarantees Bloomberg’s failure. “People don’t like others telling them how to handle their business,” Cillizza concludes, “especially if that person is a billionaire New York City resident who wants to regulate things like sugar in soda.”
Indeed. It also exposes the deep hypocrisy of the nanny-state Left, which loves the wealthy elite like Bloomberg when they want to dictate how everyone else should live while demonizing the wealthy who want people to have the freedom to make those choices themselves. That hubris is hardly limited to Michael Bloomberg, even if he presents the clearest picture of it.
Jeff Dunetz is less than impressed with Bloomberg’s religious views and his politics:
“Created in God’s image” is supposed to teach us that just as God acts as a free being, without prior restraint to do right and wrong, so does man. God does good deeds as a matter of his own free choice, and because we are created in his image so can man. Only through free choice, can man truly be, in the image of God. Bloomberg tried to take that away.
It is further understood that for Man to have true free choice, he must not only have inner free will, but an environment in which a choice between obedience and disobedience exists. God thus created the world such that both good and evil can operate freely; this is what the Rabbis mean when they said, “All is in the hands of Heaven except the fear of Heaven” (Talmud, Berachot 33b). God controls all the options we have, but it is up to man to pick between the correct or incorrect option.
As explained by the Rabbis, free will is the divine version of limited government. God picks the winning direction, but does not force people to go in that direction. But when they do follow the correct direction man is able to become closer to their maker.
According to the faith he grew up in, God is a creator who instilled in us a personal responsibility to do the right thing, but he also provided us with the choice to accept that responsibility or not. There is no room in Jewish law for a government that forces us to do (their interpretation) of the right thing. During his 12 years as Mayor, Mike Bloomberg tried to force his interpretation of right and wrong on New Yorkers. He just might have to explain that before he heads straight in because he is so sure he earned his place in heaven.
Most Utopian nanny-statists want us to put our trust in the elites rather than God. I think I’ll stick with God, and my own free will and freedom of choice.
Update: I made a couple of minor edits to improve clarity.