Michael Bloomberg: CCP Apologist

A funny thing about the internet is that something that happened months ago can resurface and go viral today. Such was the case on Sunday, when a clip of former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on PBS’s Firing Line from September caught many people’s attention for what Bloomberg said about China and it’s ruling Communist Party and President Xi Jingping.

It started as host Margaret Hoover was talking with Bloomberg about climate change, one of his signature issues. Hoover pointed out the obvious fact that even if Bloomberg were to not only implement his preferred policies, but also get his predicted results as well that still leaves the problem of what to do with countries such as China and India.

Bloomberg then went to bat for Xi Jinping and the CCP. All of a sudden to tough-talking environmentalist who wants to take on the domestic “coal lobby” wasn’t so tough. He claimed “China is doing a lot,” but was forced to concede China is still building coal power plants, but at least they’ve moved them away from population centers, a standard he would never accept for this country.

He then declared that the CCP did this because it is receptive to public opinion, “The communist party wants to stay in power in China and they listen to the public.” He then declared, “Xi Jinping is not a dictator. He has to satisfy his constituents or he’s not going to survive.” After Hoover interrupted to express her confusion at how anybody could say Xi is not a dictator, Bloomberg doubled down.

On the face of it, Bloomberg’s statement is not necessarily as much the product of a bird brain as it may seem. Dictators do have to consider public opinion, or something akin to it, or else they will be overthrown either in some internal power struggle, a coup, or revolution, but they are still dictators.

Even with the China example, this is something that even the CCP’s most vocal critics concede and even worry about. The CCP has bought off significant portions of the Chinese population by saying that they, the CCP and their state-controlled capitalism, for lack of a better phrase, will make them rich. Thus far it has worked because the Chinese economy has grown at such an incredibly rate in recent decades, but outside of China it is known that what cannot last forever, will not last forever. It is theorized that if the economic prosperity that many Chinese have come to view as the new normal starts to disappear that they will be less forgiving of their CCP overlords and start to demand more civil and political liberties and threaten the CCP’s grip on power. That will either lead to a Hong Kong-style crackdown on a much larger and more brutal scale or even worse, Beijing could make a move on Taiwan to rally “public opinion” around the regime, which could end up with the United States at war with China.

Even still, Bloomberg overstates the matter. Yes, dictators have to consider “public opinion,” but “the public” is not necessarily representative of the whole country. In some cases “public opinion” isn’t even “public.” It’s the military, fellow party apparatchiks. Back in the day it could include the aristocratic nobility.

In Xi’s China some members of the public and their opinions matter more than others. Bloomberg talks about how Xi considered the public’s response to pollution in major population centers, but he is the same guy who is running a country that has put Uyghurs in re-education camps where Uyghur Muslims are subject to rape, torture, and human medical experiments. One doubts Bloomberg would say Xi is constrained by Uyghur public opinion.

Then there is how dictators use “public opinion” not as a constrain on their own arbitrary power, but as a weapon to solidify it. Speaking of the Chinese economy, officials know that the strong economy is the main thing keeping the urban population subservient, so they can cook the books on the economy, because who’s going to call them out on it? The loyal opposition? Oh, that’s right, there is none.

Is there anything that could embarrass dear leader, just ban it to shape public opinion, of course. What kind of freedom-hating, fun-hating communist bans Winnie the Pooh? Michael Bloomberg’s favorites.

Bloomberg’s comments about Xi not being a dictator should disqualify him from the presidential race. Fortunately, nobody on either side of the aisle seems to like him. Maybe Bloomberg can now read into public opinion that says that everyone — liberals, conservatives, and everyone in between just want him to get lost.

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Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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Alex Christy

Alex Christy

Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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