“Oh Lord, take the money out of politics, but do not take it yet.”
-Saint Augustine and/or Tom Steyer, apparently.
I do have a genuine Tom Steyer (D, Money) quote for you. If you go to his presidential campaign website, it quotes him in giant letters just under the signup sheet, “Corporations and special interests have bought politicians and influenced Washington for too long.” But buying voters and endorsements, that’s different. Because reasons.
As a candidate, Steyer has promised deep and broad electoral reforms, including a repeal of Citizens United, giving more powers to the Federal Election Commission (which to my untrained eye look like they might turn out to be somewhat [ahem] partisan, national referendums on big issues, and more. He’s a simple billionaire, just trying to get the filthy corporate stink-dollars out of politics.
When it comes to Steyer’s own money — step back. He’s got Sam Jackson’s BMF wallet from Pulp Fiction, and you don’t want to stand too close when he whips it out.
His money don’t stink:
Tom Steyer has accounted for over 67% of *all* TV ad spending by 2020 candidates in the race, through this week, per CMAG data. Steyer has aired over $46.4 million of TV ads in 2019 so far.
— David Wright (@DavidWright_7) November 14, 2019
One candidate. With about 1% support in the polls. And he has two-thirds of the TV ad dollars. Where’s the fairness in that? Is there even any airtime left over at any price for the other also-rans like Amy Klobuchar and that Bennet guy whose first name I can never remember, even though he’s one of my senators? Why, it’s almost as though Steyer is using his fortune to silence the 118 other Democratic presidential contenders.
It seems like it was just last week [EDITOR’S NOTE: It was just last week] that Steyer’s campaign got caught trying to buy endorsements. Let’s set the Wayback Machine to November 7, 2019.
A top aide to Democratic presidential candidate Tom Steyer in Iowa has privately offered campaign contributions to local politicians in exchange for endorsing his White House bid, according to the Associated Press. https://t.co/DKcrfOKJcF
— KPLC (@KPLC7News) November 7, 2019
And if memory serves [EDITOR’S NOTE: It serves fine this once], that was just a couple days after a Steyer aide in South Carolina was caught stealing data from a rival campaign.
Steyer aide resigns after downloading Harris volunteer data in South Carolina https://t.co/D1fCxAAo5U
— Mr G ❤🇺🇸👍🏻 (@socrkth) November 5, 2019
How desperate do you have to be to steal from Kamala Harris’s campaign, which peaked months ago on nothing but a nice debate zinger and has since stalled like a prewar Chevy trying to make it to the top of Pike’s Peak with a leaky radiator?
Steyer’s sad attempts to buy himself votes, love, and volunteers validates something I’ve been saying for a long time. Politicians are supposed to look around the country, see what needs fixing, and then figure out feasible, constitutional ways of making the fix. But that’s rarely the case, is it? Mostly what we get are politicians who look at their own flaws, and start a legal crusade which, really, is aimed at fixing their own (unacknowledged) bad behaviors. On the off chance they do accomplish anything along those lines, the laws are written with plenty of loopholes for people just like themselves.
“Do as I say, not as I do,” but with the added benefits of smug condescension and the full force of the law.
If Steyer really wants to inject some integrity into his campaign, my modest proposal is that he change slogans to: “Stop me before I spend again.”