"Morning Joe" to billionaire Howard Schultz: How much does a box of Cheerios cost?

Via Mediaite, there are so many good replies to this question floating around social media as I write this — and few of them are at Schultz’s expense. A sample, from least to most biting:

I was … not prepared for light class warfare to be waged this morning on the Beltway establishment’s favorite chat show. Especially since the last guy who got elected president decorated his penthouse apartment to look like Versailles and still somehow convinced voters that he was a populist.

With a major assist from “Morning Joe” early in the primaries, of course.

Schultz should have reminded them that he really is a self-made success. If he’s too rich to know offhand today what a box of cereal costs, he surely knew when he was younger and working hard on his big idea. Or he could have gone balls-out populist instead: “I don’t know because I don’t buy Cheerios. I buy the most sugary thing on the shelf.” This is a guy who became a billionaire by selling milkshakes to Americans with a dash of espresso and convincing them they were drinking “coffee.” If anyone has a right to promote products whose chief virtue is their sickening sweetness, Howard Schultz does.

He told Scarborough and Brzezinski elsewhere that he was “surprised” at the extent of the backlash on the left to his prospective candidacy. I am too. I thought there’d be grumbling but the screeching on political Twitter since his “60 Minutes” interview on Sunday night has been ceaseless, and now comes replete with threats by lefty groups. Tiana Lowe has a suggestion: If an underwhelming rich guy pushing vacuous centrist platitudes is a mortal threat to your 2020 chances, maybe the problem isn’t with him.

If the Democratic constituency is as far-left as the party leaders seem to believe, then Schultz would harm President Trump’s re-election chances far more than he would harm the odds of whoever wins the Democratic nomination. After all, Trump’s post-shutdown polling has sunk from bad to abysmal, and even Warren wouldn’t be worse than Clinton, perhaps the worst presidential nominee in modern American history. Plenty of Republicans and centrists who held their noses to vote against Clinton would be more than happy to find another candidate who doesn’t want to abolish private healthcare, and Democrats will likely see 2018 turnout instead of the unenthused 2016 trickle.

Democratic outrage over Schultz indicates they fear that he’d pull more from their constituency than from Republicans. If that’s the case, maybe the party should get serious about nominating someone who isn’t trying to nationalize one-fifth of the economy and run job creators out of the country.

It’s a fine thought but the left has had notable success over the past few years organizing boycotts to intimidate enemies of the cause into backing down. Why compromise with an ambitious figure from the center when you can strongarm him instead? The WSJ has a piece out this morning, in fact, speculating that progressive rage at Schultz may ultimately start hurting Starbucks’s bottom line. Mike Murphy predicts that Schultz will quit the race within six weeks. I think he might hold on a little longer than that but, yeah, in the end he won’t run. It’d be senseless of him to alienate huge numbers of people on his side of the aisle over a vanity candidacy that stands no chance of victory.

If he does continue, though, he really should ditch his habit of declaring people who disagree with him, whether on single-payer or on amnesty for DREAMers, “un-American.” That’s demagoguery, albeit demagoguery that’s compelled by the gassy nature of his campaign. He’s not running as a Republican or a Democrat, you see; nothing good comes from our major parties anymore. He’s running as an American. And so, by definition, if you disagree with his opinions…