I am a West Virginian. I am not now nor have I ever been a supporter of Joe Manchin. Over the decades, I did not vote for him for secretary of state, governor or senator.
But I must salute his unapologetic abuse of campaign finance laws. He is living large on other people’s money. He owns a yacht and a Maserati, and racked up $1 million in fine-dining bills as he lives the lifestyle of the rich and famous — and he just may run for president next year. That’s where the big money is.
Just ask Democrat Martin O'Malley. He served two terms as governor of Maryland and then ran for president in 2016. Scoff all you want but he raised and spent $5,706,888, which placed him between Mike Huckabee and Lindsey Graham in raising money. Presidential elections are now a multi-billion-dollar industry. Everybody who runs and loses the election can be a winner when it comes to money because they can spend the money pretty much as they please.
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Political campaigning is a lot like what Woody Allen said about crime: “I think crime pays. The hours are good, you travel a lot.”
Allen said that in his movie Take the Money and Run. In presidential politics, it is run and take the money. A presidential campaign would save Manchin because he might not get re-elected to the Senate next year.
The Daily Mail reported, “The National Republican Senatorial Committee is gearing up for 2024 and putting conservative Democrat Senator Joe Manchin in its crosshairs before he's even said whether he'll run for reelection.
“In a new ad called Maserati Manchin, the Senate GOP’s campaign arm highlights Manchin's luxury vehicle, his $700,000 houseboat, and DailyMail.com’s reporting that he has blown over $1 million in campaign donation on fine dining.
“The 75-year-old moderate is likely the only one from his party who can hold on to West Virginia’s Senate seat, and the ad looks designed to dissuade him from running.
“‘Life's very good for Democrat Joe Manchin,’ the ad says, ‘While West Virginians get stuck with higher prices, smaller paychecks, open borders.’
“‘Joe Manchin, Joe Biden, living it up,’ the ad says, along with a shot of clinking champagne glasses.”
Chuck Todd recently asked Manchin about a presidential run. He replied, “Everything’s on the table. I’m going to do everything I can to make sure that when I make my decision I make it based on what’s best … for my country and my state.”
And by best for his country and state, Manchin meant Manchin because it is Joe’s world. We just live in it.
A third party presidential candidacy might be the ticket because it allows him to run longer and collect more. The completely unknown Evan McMullin raised $1,634,822. Not only did he spend it all but he racked up another $644,913 in bills he will never have to pay. Surely a career hack can do better. Manchin wouldn’t just rake money in. He would vacuum it up.
Liz Cheney is another run-and-take-the-money candidate. She may be waiting to see if Wyoming Senator John Barrasso retires or dies before she decides on a presidential campaign. If he does not run, she might have a chance at the Senate seat, which if she won would give her the last laugh, wouldn’t it?
But she has the stink of loser on her now and the best place for losers is a presidential race because if you are going to lose, you may as well go out in style. Look, I interviewed Harold Stassen in 1984 when he ran for president for the seventh time. He would run two more times. He wasn’t running because he had a shot at the presidency. He was running because he needed the money.
The money is there because of people like Bunny Mellon. Her grandpa invented Listerine and she married into Mellon Bank money. She was a friend of Jackie Kennedy and redesigned the White House Rose Garden. She did a great job. Like everyone in that circle, the assassination devastated her. 45 years later, she finally saw the second JFK in the form of John Edwards, a senator from North Carolina. When he knocked up a woman who wasn’t his wife, Bunny stepped in to write the check that quieted things down. It was how the JFK crowd handled things.
Cheney gets zero respect because she enabled Democrats to put forth the insurrection lie. But a presidential run would satisfy her needs for attention and money.
Chris Cillizza of CNN wants her to run. He wrote on September 26, 2022, “Liz Cheney is, at the moment, a Republican. But over the weekend, she held open the possibility that she might not always be.
“‘I’m going to make sure Donald Trump, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure he is not the nominee,’ Cheney said during an interview at the Texas Tribune Festival. ‘And if he is the nominee, I won’t be a Republican.’
“Which is interesting!
“Cheney, of course, has already lost her battle for re-election — ousted in an August GOP primary in Wyoming’s lone House district by Harriet Hageman, who had the backing of not just Trump, but House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. Last year, she was removed as the third-ranking Republican in House leadership after being openly critical of Trump and voting to impeach him for his conduct on January 6, 2021.
“It’s been clear for months now — and has come into even sharper relief since her primary loss last month — that Cheney has an eye on a national bid. In her concession speech, she invoked Ulysses S. Grant and Abraham Lincoln, noting that she took the honorable path, not the easy one.”
Do you know who else Cillizza called honorable? Michael Avenatti, the creepy porn lawyer. Cillizza wrote on July 5, 2018, “President Michael Avenatti? Never say never!”
Avenatti is a man of his convictions: three counts of the attempted extortion of Nike, 16 counts of wire fraud, one count of endeavoring to obstruct the administration of the Internal Revenue Code, another count of wire fraud, and one count of identity theft. Forget president. He should run to be Biden’s next son.
People magazine wants Stacey Abrams to run for president and ranks her as the third favorite to win after Biden and Trump. Why not? Star Trek already made her the future president of Earth. Besides, she already has the sticky fingers needed to raise millions and spend it all and then some.
BET reported on December 20, 2022, “Stacey Abrams Campaign Under Scrutiny: $1 Million In Debt, Former Staffers Allege Wasted Spending. The campaign raised more than $100 million for the rematch against Gov. Brian Kemp.”
She may not own a Maserati, a vehicle that should come with its own mechanic, but Abrams could show Manchin a thing or two about making money the political way. Her loss in the 2018 gubernatorial race in Georgia made her a fortune. The Washington Free Beacon reported on her on April 5, 2022, “Failed candidate was in debt 3 years ago, now worth more than $3 million.”
She really knows how to work the scam.
The Washington Examiner reported on December 6, 2022, “A nonprofit group founded by twice-failed Democratic Georgia gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams is raking in donations in at least nine states without license to do so, meaning it could face criminal investigations and fines.
“Charities such as the New Georgia Project are barred across the country from soliciting donations if they have not filed their tax forms with the IRS. Despite the New Georgia Project failing to file its tax forms by the federal Nov. 15 deadline, the organization is still raising funds nationwide through ActBlue, a left-leaning fundraising platform software, records show.”
The Democrat most likely to run and not win next year is Pete Buttigieg, the gay darling of the Democrat Party. Last time out, he raised $99,925,342 — just shy of $100 million. Not bad for the former mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana. How does he spell money?
(Google surely would have busted me for saying that on my blog.)
While certainly Paternity Leave Pete would have a good shot at the nomination, why would he want to be president? It is too much work. He was a lousy mayor and is a terrible transportation secretary. Better to have run and lost than to run and win. Buttigieg does not need to run long to pile the money up. He ended his 2020 campaign shortly after Groundhog’s Day and look at how much he made.
Of course, being homosexual gives him an advantage over the straights. I am not really sure why the Gay Mafia still feels the need to back him. They have gay marriage and gay adoption. How many Christian wedding cakes do they need? But they have money to burn and Buttigieg has the matches.
There is a lot of anti-Trump money out there for Republicans. Cheney could lock most of it up but that should not discourage Nikki Haley. She has the advantage of being the former governor of South Carolina, which is the pivotal primary state in both parties now. She can huckster with the best of them.
National Review reported on January 21, “Nikki Haley has been making presidential-campaign-sounding noises for months. Last June, while speaking at a fundraiser in Iowa — a casual trip to the state that just so happens to host the first primary caucuses — the former South Carolina governor said she’d run in 2024 ‘if there’s a place for me.’ Earlier this week, she blasted Mike Pompeo, another speculative 2024 contender, for peddling ‘lies and gossip’ in his upcoming memoir. And yesterday, in an interview with Sean Hannity, Haley came about as close as possible to saying she intended to run without actually saying so officially: ‘As fun as it would be to announce right now, yes . . . we are leaning in,’ she responded to Hannity’s query about a run. ‘It is time for a new generation. . . . It is time that we get a Republican in there that can lead and that can win a general election.’”
Of course, when you say new generation in the Republican Party, everyone thinks of Ron DeSantis. If he ran, he would have a very good chance of winning. I will write about that tomorrow. This column is about the grifters who will run because they believe in something greater than winning.
They run and take it.
Tomorrow’s column is “Ron or Don?”
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Rather than have intellectually brilliant men and woman who care about our republic, your tome reminds us that almost everyone involved in politics is a grifter. Kudos!
Keep writing about the grifters. They’re more fun and need more exposure of the truth.