Yes, that Mike Bloomberg, Mayor Big Gulp himself.
I don’t want to get too excited about this, but let me run an idea by you and if you don’t like it, you can hand it right back. Here goes: Bloomberg/Cruz 2016?
“It is just a modern form of McCarthyism,” Bloomberg said of university “censorship” of conservatives. “Think about the irony: In the 1950s, the right wing was attempting to repress left wing ideas. Today, on many college campuses, it is liberals trying to repress conservative ideas even as conservative faculty members are at risk of becoming an endangered species.”
“And that is probably nowhere more true than it is here in the Ivy League,” declared Bloomberg…
“In the 2012 presidential race, according to Federal Election Commission data, 96% of all campaign contributions from Ivy League faculty and employees went to Barack Obama,” he said. “There was more disagreement among the old Soviet politburo than there is among Ivy League donors.”…
“Neither party has a monopoly of truth or God on its side. When 96% of Ivy League donors prefer one candidate to another, you really have to wonder whether students are being exposed to the diversity of views that a great university should offer,” Bloomberg continued, occasionally being interrupted by moderate applause.
Another interesting line, just because it swipes at lefty mob attitudes towards gay-marriage dissenters: “If you want the freedom to worship as you wish, and speak as you wish, and marry as you wish, then you must tolerate my freedom to do so.” I can’t find video or a complete transcript yet, but this new op-ed at Bloomberg View “adapted” from his commencement speech today seems to track closely with media reports of what he said. (Closely, but not perfectly: The sneering line about the politburo is missing.)
If you’re wondering why this guy would go to bat for conservatives in a venue like this, it’s probably because Bloomy understands that he’s not liberal enough for true believers in the perfect progressive society. Yes, he wants to ban guns and supports gay marriage and believes in climate change and defended the Ground Zero mosque (all of which he was careful to remind the audience of today in defending the right to dissent), but he’s also one of the world’s richest people and an ally of Wall Street, a bad thing to be now that the left’s decided that income inequality is America’s Most Important Challenge. Even worse, he oversaw stop-and-frisk in New York City for years, a sin that got his former NYPD commissioner, Ray Kelly, heckled off the stage at Brown University last year and drew complaints at Harvard about Bloomberg’s own honorary degree this week. It’s really easy these days to be deemed unfit for honors at commencement due to insufficient enlightenment. I think he expected to face more resistance than he got. Good for Harvard for hearing him out.
Update: Ah, here’s the video now. The key bit starts at around 6:15.