“Mini-Mike” Height Ethics

When President Trump tweeted that Michael Bloomberg was a  “5’4” mass of dead energy,”this instantly was seized upon by “the resistance” and the news media (like NPR) as one more Trump “lie” to add to the list. Why, all you have to do is google Bloomberg’s height to learn that the ex-NYC mayor and media mogul currently trying to buy the Democratic  nomination for President is a full 5’8″ tall, and also to be informed that 5’8″ is average for an American male!

The tweet was, of course, as infantile as it was Trump-like, redolent of candidate Trump’s mockery of Marco Rubio as “Little Marco.” It was also a lot closer to accurate than Google’s bias-driven mythology. Heck, I knew that Bloomberg was short—anyone who has seen him in a group does—and 5’8″ isn’t short. Edward Welsch, who worked for Bloomberg, writes in Commentary,

As a former Bloomberg News employee, I heard this and shook my head in disbelief. Google is lying. I’ve seen the man in person, and he’s strikingly short. My colleagues and I estimated him at 5’5”. Reviewing morning news reports, I note that Google isn’t the only one that inflates Bloomberg’s height. The Daily Caller and NBC News give him 5’7”, the Washington Free Beacon 5’6”. Apparently Bloomberg himself has said 5’7”,  but then he’s also claimed to be 5’10”, which is taller than I am and contrary to my memory of having to tilt my head downward when I stood near him on one occasion several years ago.

Best guesses, since Bloomberg won’t ‘fess up, are that he’s 5’5″ and maybe a little less. Welsch offers this photo of the candidate with then-French president Nicolas Sarkozy in 2011:

Sarkozy is 5’5”.

Why does it matter? To begin with, lying abut one’s height is one indication of both an integrity deficit and an insecurity complex. Trump reportedly wears lifts and inflates his height, though he is taller than average, probably 6’1″ For leaders and political candidates, and especially U.S. Presidents, size matters. Many studies have shown that people identify height and size with power and authority; it isn’t just coincidence that the taller candidate almost always wins in Presidential races.

Americans seem to especially identify being taller than average with being Presidential. One reason for this is that the two greatest and most iconic Presidents were unusually tall.  George Washington was 6’2″ in an era where the average male was Mike Bloomberg’s height, about 5’5,” and he was hefty as well.  Lincoln, as everyone knows, was a virtual giant for his time at 6’4″, and his affectation of wearing stovepipe hats exaggerated his size: Abe knew his height was a political advantage. For one thing, it made Stephen Douglas (5’4″) look like an Oompa-Loompa by comparison.

The high end of the Presidential height scale, in addition to The Father of His Country and The Great Emancipator, contains many of our most notable Presidents, like Jackson, Jefferson, LBJ and Ronald Reagan. On the other end, the group is less impressive. In fact, of the 13 shortest Presidents, from least short to shortest at 5’4″, Harry S. Truman, Rutherford B. Hayes William Henry Harrison , James K. Polk , Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant , John Quincy Adams , John Adams ,William McKinley ,Martin Van Buren ,Benjamin Harrison, and  James Madison, who weighed about a hundred pounds soaking wet, only Truman and Polk, are regarded as outstanding, and only one, President Grant, even served two full terms. You can see why someone who wants to be seen as Presidential material might want to  stretch the truth about his height….especially if he were untrustworthy anyway.

Does it matter that Bloomberg is misrepresenting his height, and that big tech, in the form of Google, and the media are trying to bolster his fakery? Says Welsch, “It matters because it’s another example of both the candidate and the media lying to our faces about a basic, unquestionable fact of reality.”

Exactly. It’s also a stupid lie, because it will eventually become apparent that Bloomberg is no more 5’8″ than actor Alan Ladd, “Shane” himself, whose publicist claimed was 5’8″ when he was more like 5’5″. In the classic 1953 Western, director George Stevens had other actors standing in trenches or Ladd on a box when they were in scenes together, but the illusion is still blown late in the film when the hero has his big scene with leading lady Jean Arthur.  They seem to be about the same height, and Arthur was only 5’3″.

At some point in this week’s debate, Mini-Mike will have to stand next to Joe Biden (6’0) or Amy Klobuchar (5’4″), and we’ll know just how big a mass of dead energy Bloomberg really is.

19 thoughts on ““Mini-Mike” Height Ethics

  1. On a Bloomberg adjacent topic, the oppo coming out on him (Bernie, is that you?) seems to show in his private musings, and sometimes even public comments, Bloomberg sounds eerily Trumpian. How will Democrat voters conquer their cognitive dissonance by supporting a guy who can be just as offensive and vulgar as Trump, albeit with more discipline. Doesn’t the argument of voting for him because of honor, decency and civility fly out the window? Will Democrat voters accept becoming Orange Man Bad to defeat Orange Man Bad? (The village must be burned down in order to be saved…) This might get amusing, if it ever gets serious. Who know, maybe Bloomberg won’t do that well on Super Tuesday. Maybe in the debate he comes off as a wet paper bag.

    • even public comments, Bloomberg sounds eerily Trumpian.

      Maybe he sounds like a New York business tycoon? Just a theory.

      How will Democrat voters conquer their cognitive dissonance by supporting a guy who can be just as offensive and vulgar as Trump

      Easy. Progressives would elect a ham sandwich if it is not Trump. Trump’s behavior is irrelevant to their hatred.

      I mean, it is not like the left has been anything close to consistent the past three years, er, decades.

      • They don’t have to conquer boo. Progressives already have sexist pig Bill Maher, foul-mouthed hate-spewer Dan Savage, foul-mouthed bully Rahm Emanuel, and impeach-the-mother-fucker Tlaib. They’re masters of the foul-mouthed attack. They just want a monopoly on it, just like the bully in school who used to call you all kinds of foul-mouthed insults, but if you dared throw one back, he gave you a beating.

    • The dems will have a problem playing the “Trump is a tyrant/dictator” card with Bloomie in the room. Only one of the two has actively worked to formulate laws dictating such basics as what people are allowed to eat and drink, directly attacked the First Amendment by directing his influential media outlets to ban negative coverage of one party, spent millions attempting to destroy the Second, and more millions buying elections and referenda around the country.

  2. It’s not just politics. Spend any time on a dating site and you’ll find out just how often men lie about their height (and women about their weight and age). Generally speaking, women like tall men and men know this. But I’ve never understood lying about these matters as your chickens will eventually come home to roost; like when you show up for that first date.

    I once met a gentleman for a drink. He pulled up on a massive Harley. Watching him get off his bike was… Well, you know that scene in Shrek when Lord Farquad makes his first appearance and then dismounts his horse? Yeah, it was kinda like that.

  3. Isn’t height determined when standing barefoot?

    And tallness is a relative thing. At 6′ 1″ I’ve never considered myself tall given my brother is 6’3″ and my closest boy cousins are 6’6″ and 6’5″ respectively. I was the youngest, shortest guy in the family. Plus I stopped growing in ninth grade and played basketball, so I never considered myself particularly tall compared to my peers who all continued to grow.

    Sometime short guys can make great leaders, probably compensating for their actual or perceived shortness. I think some of the most successful people are short guys who are comfortable with their lack of height. Then of course, there was Napoleon Bonaparte, at (a surprising) 5’7″ and Old Joe Stalin at 5’8″ and Vlad Lenin at 5’5″ and Niki Kruschev at 5’3′ (who knew that?) and Vlad Putin at 5’7″. Maybe there’s a problem with beet soup?

    • Napoleon was taller than average for his time. Historians finally figured out that the “little” nickname was the result of bad translation. Short guts have trouble getting elected; they’ve never had trouble seizing power. Ask Attila the Hun, who was a dwarf.

  4. What is interesting is why people view tall people as somehow better leaders. There are numerous studies on the anthropological underpinnings of size and pecking order in the animal kingdom. It is not a stretch to think that deep within the reptilian parts of the human brain are the remnants of the need for a strong protector. The entire concept of the alpha male embodies this notion. The larger, stronger member of the group takes on all comers and provides for the group while the betas and very meek simply do as they told or fight among themselves for the highest possible status in the group who, at some point, will eventually challenge the alpha member for dominance. Other studies involving what is considered beauty have also been done. We routinely give deference to attractive tall people unconsciously. Nature has imbued these folks with an innate power to get others in the group to do for them. I have termed these innate physical traits a source of natural power.

    There are also numerous books on the origins of power. Some types include: Legitimate Power;
    Expert Power; Coercive Power; Referent power; and, Reward Power. The Resistance attempts to convince the less informed that Trump is using coercive power while working to undermine his legitimate powers granted by the Constitution. Some who state that Trump has created a cult like following is ascribing Referent Power to him. I doubt a single Trump supporter with more than two brain cells sees him as a deity. But that seems to be what the resistance wants people to believe because it would create a schism in the religious communities.

    What keeps Trump’s followers in the fold is primarily his natural powers of size but more his ability to wither all the slings and arrows that would cause most of us to fold after a week. The media is angry with him because they did not create him so they seem unable to take him out.

    To a lesser degree Trump holds Expert Powers on some issues. However, most of us could come to the same conclusions as he, but we would be unable to execute as he has.

    It takes a very special type of leader that lacks physical stature to be a leader and not an Emperor or Dictator. Bloomberg is attempting to offset his lack of physical stature (natural power) with “expert power”. He routinely tells us how he built a his business from the ground up etc. etc. He pontificates at length on panels simply because he was mayor and also very wealthy. Again, the belief if he must be an expert because he is so rich. No doubt he has some expertise. There are however many who are lauded for their expertise in one area begin to believe they are experts in all areas. Moreover, stories are now coming out that Bloomberg may not have led his organization by his sheer expertise but by a combination of coercive and reward powers. We know he has no problem deciding how big a soft drink one may purchase or that the rules should be changed to let him run for a third term. We are now finding out that Bloomberg paid (Reward Power) Internet influencers massive sums to create the appearance of his popularity.

    Bloomberg worries me because I don’t think he is running to benefit the country I believe he is running just to beat Trump. Competition between alphas is not for noble reasons; it is simply to be the highest member in the peer group. I also worry that he does not have what it takes to have real followers. What happens when he no longer needs to spread his wealth (Reward Power) around to get people to do as he wants. He has demonstrated the quick willingness to command behavior (Coercive Power) so be prepared.

  5. edit: I doubt a single Trump supporter with more than two brain sees him as a deity.

    Should be: I doubt a single Trump supporter with more than two brain cells sees him as a deity.

  6. The biggest problem with Mini Mike is his basic unlikability: : The millennials will never vote for him as he is a billionaire and despite his slick ads totally unconvincing. I personally don’t care if he’s 5’5” or 5’8” but women will never flock to him in any numbers.

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