Why me? I’m not a politician or a pundit, and I’ve never worked for Bloomberg. I’m a 33-year-old homeschooling mom in Staten Island, N.Y. Oh, I also have a parody Twitter account, @ElBloombito, that makes fun of Bloomberg in Spanglish. Okay, that’s probably why.
Bloomberg wasn’t one of the participants in last week’s Democratic presidential primary debate, but his official Twitter account was active, making strange jokes, including one (since deleted) saying he could fit nine D-cell batteries into his mouth. Meanwhile, “Miguel Bloombito” was also tweeting during the event. (“If yo tengo mucho advertisementos duringo los breakos commerciales del debatero esta counts as participación, verdad?”)
The next night, someone from the Bloomberg campaign sent a direct message to me on Twitter. They were “super interested” in working with @ElBloombito to “create content” and wanted to know whether I was available for a phone call. I said “no thank you.” I probably would have gotten some kind of money out of it — I’m not a billionaire, and I need a new dishwasher — so why did I say no without even hearing what they were offering?
Because my father is William F. Buckley Jr. Okay, no, he isn’t. My dad’s a Puerto Rican guy who grew up in Harlem. But like the late National Review founder, my father’s first language was also Spanish, and just as Buckley learned to speak English as a child while living in London, my father learned to speak like Buckley as a kid by watching him on “Firing Line.”
Not surprisingly, when my father grew up, he turned out to be pretty conservative. Other side effects from prolonged Buckley exposure included writing only with fountain pens, saying “Question” before asking a question, and lecturing his children about history and politics — especially when he was driving and they were trapped in the car.
That last side effect is where Bloomberg first comes in. I was 15 years old in 2001, when Bloomberg was running for mayor in the Republican primary. One day in the car, Dad was explaining to me why Bloomberg wouldn’t get his vote. Bloomberg had been a Democrat, my father said, but switched parties at the last minute because he wanted to be mayor and didn’t want to bother competing in his own party’s crowded primary. Bloomberg had money, and the process apparently was beneath him.
Bloomberg outspent everyone by record numbers and won both the GOP primary and general election. I don’t know whether this was a related development, but the bowling alley where my friends and I liked to hang out soon closed and became a bank.
Five years later, Bloomberg was still mayor. I was in college in New York and saw someone get stopped and frisked for the first time. I didn’t understand what was happening. I ran into a friend at a diner near campus and described what I had just seen. He explained stop and frisk. (In more real estate news, a few months later, the diner closed and became a Starbucks.)
Five years after that, Bloomberg — now an Independent! — was still mayor. It was his third term, which should have been illegal, but he wanted it, so he got it, with the City Council’s help. Over the course of his many years in office, Bloomberg started trying to speak Spanish in public. It was more cringey and condescending than convincing.
I was 25 and a new mother in 2011, living in Upper Manhattan, when Hurricane Irene hit the city. That’s when I created El Bloombito, tweeting in Spanglish during a Bloomberg weather briefing. The tweets went viral, and the media got interested. It happened again the following year with Hurricane Sandy.
The weather and the mayor often prompted commentary from El Bloombito: “Mucho cuidado! El Sñow que make los calles dañgerouso. Por favor instead driving, take el Jelicoptór.”
Near the end of Bloomberg’s time as mayor, in 2013, he said that people who make fun of his Spanish should “just get a life.” Now, his presidential campaign wants to talk about collaborating on “content.” When I mentioned online last week that campaign officials had gotten in touch, and said that I had turned them down, that’s when reporters started calling all over again.
I’m not #NeverBloomberg. I’m sure there have been worse mayors in New York’s history. If Bloomberg wins the nomination — he’s a Democrat again! — I’ll vote for him. He’d certainly make a better president than El Trumpacabra.