By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
From the moment he plants himself in a tall director's chair and crosses his legs, you can see he is totally at ease. Wearing a blue blazer, he speaks without a note for more than an hour. A bottle of water sits beside him, but he never looks at it. It is a question-and-answer format, but he does all the talking. He lists his education and health policies, the smoking ban, his call for immigration reforms, the drive to get illegal guns off the streets. More people are killed every day by street crime than by terrorists, he notes, throwing a jibe at the current crop of presidential candidates. "Every press conference, they all beat their chests and say, 'I can protect this country better from terrorists.' Well, what about protecting them out on the streets every day?"
This is all good stuff, the product of a thoughtful man finally unchained from a false alliance. And then, out of nowhere, he announces that he has "a great story" to tell. A couple of weeks earlier, he had been to Bard College in upstate New York to give a commencement address. "It's a very, very liberal college," he says. "They think Trotsky was a capitalist." During the speech, he noticed that many of the students had signs on the back of their gowns that read "Troops Out of Iraq." "I saidand this was Memorial Day weekend'I am not unmindful of seeing the signs, but just remember that young men and women are overseas fighting and dying and have been for 235 years so that you have the right to protest, which you don't have in many other places.'"
At the convention for that Nothing Party he has since quit, he might have gotten big applause for this story. The Google techies sat on their hands.
Back when Bloomberg ran his own high-tech company, he used to joke about how he'd handled his own chance to defend freedom while the Vietnam War raged: "I had a great agreement with the draft board--they never called me and I never called them.