Unpopular View #1: The Right Has Too Many Grifters Mooching Off the Base

FEB 26, 2024
Matt nails it with this column, his examples look like my emails too!!!!  Jim Lewis

I know many readers will disagree with this column, but there really are too many big name and long-time insiders who apparently can’t figure out how to make a living that doesn’t depend on squeezing money out of the Right’s base. I’m sure you get your share, but every day my email and smartphone is bombarded by well-known names citing the latest “emergency” requiring me to send them money. I never do, and block those emails and telephone numbers going forward. The practice is repugnant, especially as it tends to prey on seniors and others on limited or fixed incomes.


Newt Gingrich was Speaker of the House for four years beginning nearly THIRTY YEARS AGO in 1995. As someone who once wrote a paper in law school titled, “Newt Gingrich and the Republican Revolution as Modern Day Thomas Paines,” I’m a big fan of what Gingrich did to take back the U.S. House (but just meh about Newt’s policy ideas as half were brilliant while the other half were, let’s say, not so brilliant). As far as I can tell, however, since he lost the U.S. House and his Speakership to the Democrats in the 1998 midterm elections, Gingrich has been making tens of millions from hocking dozens of books to Main Street Americans (via his own production company), creating or working for various non-profits and government commissions for which he presumably is paid handsomely, and giving speeches and television commentary for high five-to-six figure fees. Nice gigs for something you did decades ago.


I don’t mean to pick on Gingrich, but he is the most glaring example of DC insiders who have made it big milking the Right. There are countless more examples. Wayne LaPierre, formerly the head of the National Rifle Association, lived quite the high-life on the funds raised from the Right, including using a jet for family vacations. I know of another husband-wife combo who move from cause-to-cause based on raising money from the Right. Heck, former Vice President Mike Pence and his entourage are now pushing his latest group which has as its aim to promote conservatism as defined by Pence over populism — a populism he was more than willing to be part of when it served his purpose and put him in the driver seat to become President.


I wouldn’t have a beef with these folks if they paid themselves a modest salary, but they rarely do. Instead, they pay themselves very generous salaries that allow them to live in very nice houses, drive luxury cars, and travel extensively to interesting places. The Main Street Americans who fund them live far more modestly.


Interest groups are in on the fleecing, as well. I vividly recall when an idea backed by dozens of state groups was opposed by the head of a national interest group because the solution would have put his group out of business. As I’ve previously talked about, the same happened on my idea to decentralize Medicaid to the states. A top think tank “expert” opposed it because she knew it would render her DC-based job superfluous. Interest groups have a vested interest in NOT getting their problems solved, as that would lead to them going out of business. As the head of a think tank, I would love nothing more than to shut down because Ohio policymakers finally enacted the ideas we have been promoting, thereby making Ohio great again.


The mooching extends to politicians, too. It seems a day doesn’t go by when I don’t get a request for money from Matt Gaetz and Majorie Taylor Greene. In fact, over the last four days, I’ve received four notes each from Gaetz and from Taylor Greene. I live in Ohio, which last I checked is nowhere near Florida or Georgia. Both Gaetz and Taylor Greene are in fairly safe seats, so they don’t need money like fellow Ohioan Bernie Moreno needs to unseat Democrat Senator Sherrod Brown. It is unfortunate that a donation I made or group I belonged to decades ago resulted in my email and telephone number being sold and resold literally hundreds of times, which makes the seller money and annoys the hell out of me.


Why does all of this mooching matter?


It matters because it results in finite money being sent to those who will waste it, don’t need it, or will squander it, as that money doesn’t reach the people and groups who won’t waste it, do need it, and won’t squander it. It also is why the Right typically gets outspent by the Left in key battles like the abortion fight that just happened in Ohio. The loss means Ohio — a strongly Red state — now has an abortion law in its constitution that is among the most radical in America. Where were all the big names and the “emergency” funds they’ve raised to help fund and defeat that measure?


Wouldn’t it be great when the D.C. swamp finally gets drained (one can dream, right?), all of the people and groups mooching off the Right’s base go down the drain, too?