Today, it is my sad duty to come to you with a tale of greed, avarice and Possibly Everything That’s Wrong With America. It comes in the form of two emails that hit my inbox within hours of each other.
One came from our governor and the other came on behalf of our governor, a man with an insatiable desire to get some money out of your pocket and into his already-stuffed political kitty. It’s OK to want to raise a lot of campaign money. But if you feel a need to raise ALL the campaign money …
Last Thursday, in advance of the then-approaching deadline for reporting how much money he raised in the second half of 2017, the Abbott campaign trumpeted this: “Texans for Greg Abbott Starts 2018 with Record-Setting $43.3 Million Cash on Hand. Raises $9 Million in Latest Reporting Period.”
The statement boasted about “this latest fundraising haul” and how it had set “a record for the most cash on hand a Texas statewide candidate has ever reported.”
“I am honored and grateful for the continued support of so many throughout this great state,” Abbott said in the statement, adding some words about how 2017 “was a banner year for Texas as we added more jobs than any other state.”
OK, mazel tov.
But early Friday that same Abbott was back in my inbox with the tone of desperation that always infuses his breathless fundraising pitches. More. He needs more money. More and more. The infidels, he wanted me to know, are at the door. And, even worse, they are drooling infidels.
“Ken,” Abbott told me, “It’s no secret that liberals have been salivating over Texas for years now — not just for the power they believe controlling the Lone Star State will hand them in Washington D.C., but also because our success highlights what a failure liberals’ policies have been all over the country.”
OK, Greg, I get the message. But take a deep breath. You’re a prohibitive favorite for re-election. And if that doesn’t happen, you’re employable and have a nice family. Life will go on.
And there was this, underlined and in blue: “Contribute today to help us start 2018 on the right track and show your support for our traditional Texas values!”
Back to black letters: “As I’ve stated time and time again, the fight for America’s borders starts in Texas. Nancy Pelosi and her liberal cabal in Washington D.C. know that if Texas loses this fight, then America loses this fight.”
I’m not much of a Pelosi fan. But I’m also not sure she is intent on the destruction of the land I love.
Back to Abbott: “But I can’t do any of this without your help — not with national liberal groups coming for me. National liberals believe 2018 is their chance to finally seize control of the Lone Star State and start dismantling our way of life! We must be well-prepared for the oncoming attacks in 2018! Will you make a contribution to help safeguard Texas from out-of-state liberal activists?
“In this decisive election year, every dollar counts. … So, Ken, will you join me in this fight for Texas and make a contribution of $75, $50, or at least $30?”
And there was this postscript: “Ken, we’re facing serious threats from out-of-state liberal organizations, and every dollar you give can help us fight back! Will you please make a contribution of $75, $50, $30 or whatever you can afford to join the fight to defend Texas?”
Unmentioned, somehow, was the statement of a day before announcing the Abbott campaign has a record $43.3 million in the bank. There’s much about politics I don’t understand. And, much as I’d like to be, I’m not a high-finance guy. But $43.3 million sounds like a lot of money, maybe even (perish the thought!) enough money, for an incumbent governor whose defeat by a Democrat this year would go down as one of the great upsets in U.S. political history.
I support your right to spend your money as you choose. And political contributions are important. But before you send “at least $30” to a campaign that already has a record-setting $43.3 million, you might want to find a charity that could use your $30.
P.S. Between them, leading Democratic gubernatorial contenders Lupe Valdez and Andrew White, who didn’t start their campaigns until recent weeks, reported this week they’ve raised only about a quarter-million dollars.
“White Campaign Raises Six Figures from 200 Donors in First Three Weeks,” said the headline on the release announcing the Houston businessman and rookie candidate had collected $219,277 and had $104,000 of it on hand as of Dec. 31. The contributions included $40,000 from White himself.
(FYI, if I were running the White campaign, I’d have reported raising “eight figures.” The numbers to the right of the decimal point are figures, right?)
Former Dallas County Sheriff Valdez reported raising $46,498 and having $40,346 on hand.
Let’s anticipate the Abbott’s next fundraising pitch: “Ken, the drooling Democrats have collected campaign contributions that stretch into eight figures! Help! No, really, help! I think I hear Pelosi pounding on the door!”
And lots of folks will. There’s got to be a better way.