Political Propaganda: The Tom Steyer Edition

Political Propaganda: The Tom Steyer Edition

Political Propaganda: The Tom Steyer Edition

The primary season is almost upon us. That means our daily exposure to political ads will increase exponentially as we near the Iowa caucus. Short of cutting your use of all electronic devices, you can’t get away from the ads. Instead, do what the candidates don’t want you to. Listen to the ads, take them apart, comment by comment and promise by promise. Ask the hard questions and demand answers. Here at Victory Girls, we’re going to do just that, starting with Tom Steyer.

Who is Tom Steyer?

If you look at Steyer’s campaign site, he’s the warrior for the everyday person.  He is “committed to combating climate change, fixing our government, and, when elected president, putting people, and not corporations, in charge of our democracy.”

Sounds good, doesn’t it? At least if you believe the propaganda about climate change and believe our government (actually, our Constitution) needs to be fixed.

The reality is Tom Steyer is a far cry from being a different sort of candidate than Donald Trump is. He’s not an “every man” despite his rolled up sleeves and vows that he has our best interests at heart.  From his Wiki page, he is an “American hedge fund manager, philanthropist, environmentalist, liberal activist, and fundraiser.” Oh, he’s pledged to give up half his wealth during his lifetime and that is supposed to make him some sort of hero. Sorry, it still means he is a wealthy man, living the life he publicly condemns to score political points. Now he wants to be president because, like so many liberals, he can’t stand Donald Trump and sees himself as our country’s savior. To do so, he is pouring much of his own money into a campaign that includes its own version of political “ads” (really, nothing but bad propaganda).

The Ad:

The Breakdown:

  1. He opens by saying “term limits” is a term that makes Washington insiders “very uncomfortable”. That sent me off to do some research to see who has been in office the longest. If you look at combined tenures (where someone has served in both the House and Senate), out of the top 20 to have served the longest in our country’s history, 17 are Democrats, three are Republicans. Of those, only two are still serving, Don Young (R) and Patrick Leahy (D). If you look at the Senate only, of the top 22 for longevity, 15 were Democrats. One, Strom Thurmond, was both Democrat and Republican, the remainder were Republican. Two are currently serving, Leahy (D) and Chuck Grassley (R). The House pretty much follows the same pattern. Yes, we have career politicians. No one is surprised by that. But the question is whether Steyer realizes how many of those career politicians belong to his own party and if his party realizes what his comments could mean for them.
  2. He goes on to say how “we all know” term limits are needed. But this is where he begins going off the rails:

    Congress shouldn’t be a lifetime appointment. . . .

    Wait, what? First, he’s talking about term limits and now he says once elected, it becomes a lifetime appointment? This is what happens when you are trying to show how anti-government you are and, at the same time, show you have no respect for the intelligence of those who go to the polls. Like so many, Steyer thinks we will take what he says at face value and not consider the meat of his statements.

  3.  Members of Congress and the “corporations who bought our democracy hate term limits.” Oookay, at best, this is an oversimplification of the situation. At worst, it shows a complete lack of historical knowledge. The 1994 Republican platform included adding term limits for Congress. The issue was later brought before the House. It, as well as three other bills (if my memory serves correctly) failed to get the 2/3 majority needed to pass. That’s a bit different from what Steyer claims. Of course, there are those in Congress, and especially in the House, who would fight the bill right now. Can you see Pelosi and company backing such a bill, knowing they would have to give up their seats?
  4. After telling us it’s “too bad” the politicians don’t like term limits, he moves on to universal health care, climate change and “make our economy more fair”. According to him, the only way to do this is to change the status quo.  Of course, he doesn’t say what that status quo is. One would assume, based on how he started the ad, it’s the lack of term limits. But how is he going to change that? Does he really want to and would his own party allow him to if he did?

30 Seconds of Nothing:

That’s exactly what the ad is: 30 seconds of nothing. Steyer hits points that he feels will resonate with voters but there is no substance, no logic to what he says. Here are the questions we need to be asking, questions we should ask of him and his supporters every chance we get.

  1. How is is going to institute term limits on Congress?Steyer’s attack on the “status quo” suffers from a serious flaw.  As president, he could do nothing to impose term limits on members of Congress short of declaring himself dictator. A constitutional amendment would have to be proposed, passed by Congress and then ratified by the requisite number of states.
  2. Members of Congress hate the idea.Really? Then why were folks like Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) and Rep. Francis Rooney (R., Fla.) seeking to bring term limits on Congress to fruition? I know why Steyer isn’t telling us about it. They are the wrong party. It’s the same reason we aren’t hearing how Cruz proposed a similar amendment two years earlier.

    In other words, Steyer is relying on the old Democratic (hell, let’s be honest, political) ploy of making a claim that “politicians” oppose something, knowing many voters will assume he’s referring to the other party. It is our job to be educated voters and call him and others like him out on this. Where was he when these amendments were proposed? Why are we only now hearing from him what an important issue this is?

  3. How will term limits prevent corporations from having an interest in politics and who sits in Congress? They won’t. Again, this is something Steyer knows, or should know, but doesn’t comment on in the ad. After all, doing so would be to take away from his “I fight for the underdog” persona against Corporate America. Just as pointing out that he is a wealthy man who headed a hedge fund, etc. He is a perfect example of “Do as I say, not as I do.”
  4. Finally, there is no substance to the ad. It has even less substance to it than Hillary Clinton’s 2008 “3 am” ad. We go from term limits to climate change to universal health care to fair wealth with nothing tying them all together, with no policy statements, with nothing but “I’m the outsider, vote for me”.

Steyer is running on being someone different. But is he really? Change the name and party, close your eyes and look at why he says he’s running. He is supposed to be the fresh face, the non-politician who will take America to greatness. He is the anti-incumbent. Sound familiar? It should. It is very similar to the tone we heard when Trump first started his run for the Oval Office. There is one big difference. With Trump, we knew exactly what we were getting. He made no attempt to hide who and what he is. Steyer hides behind rhetoric and pledges to give up half his wealth to prove he is a man of the people. I’d be a lot more receptive to his cause if he gave it all up.

Instead, seeing him with his sleeves rolled up and his attempts to show he is just like you and me, my mind keeps going to “A New Argentina” from Evita. Peron, with Evita by his side, rolls up his sleeves and to show his support of the descamisados. It was a brilliant political move, one that Argentina still pays the price for in some ways today. The masses embraced Peron who became a dictator. This is my fear when I see politicians like Steyer and others who play to the fears of the masses.

It is up to us to keep them honest, or as honest as possible. by holding their feet to the proverbial fire. We challenge them on what they say and we demand answers. Then we challenge them some more. We hold our Constitution close and do what is necessary to protect it. We do not go gently into the night. If we do, all is lost for our country and we will have no one but ourselves to blame.

Welcome, Instapundit readers!

Featured Image: “Tom Steyer” by Gage Skidmore is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 

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20 Comments
  • Marta Hernandez says:

    I love the fact that implicit in this bonehead’s “term limits” message is that the American people, who elect these lifetime leeches, are apparently too stupid to be allowed to cast votes to do so, and therefore must be barred by government from doing so.

    Now, I don’t think term limits are a bad thing. I’m sick and tired of having entrenched politicians on both sides of the political aisle infesting public office and sucking off the public teat, in large part brought about by the abundance of stupid being taught in public schools these days and the uninformed nature of the voting public writ large but… the libertarian in me is also concerned about preventing the American voters from casting a vote in favor of the leech they find most desirable.

    • Micha Elyi says:

      California has had term limits for its state legislators and elected executive officers for over a quarter of a century. Has anyone noticed any improvement?

      • Amanda Green says:

        I would say. . . No! But then, California prides itself on being ahead of the curve when it comes to seeing how fast the state can swirl down the drain.

  • Mike says:

    Term limits out the bureaucrats in charge as they can out wait the elected officials.

  • R Daneel says:

    Now look at where and how he made his money!

    • Amanda Green says:

      But he’s going to give half of it to charity. That makes up for it all, doesn’t it? (End sarcasm)

      The thing is, he doesn’t want folks looking too closely at his history, or at what impact this so-called pledge would have. It’s like Bernie claiming to be a good socialist. Okay, he is. He’s a good high ranking party member socialist, one of the more equal among equals. Same with Steyer.

  • Snidely Whiplash says:

    If he really wanted to do something how about saying he’d work to roll back the federal government to be within Constitutional limitations like it’s supposed to be. Politicians, companies, any person or group that lives off of what they can buy from federal power would be upset.

  • James Jones says:

    Note also his commercials in which he advocates national referenda–a way to get much of the same effect as eliminating the senate and electoral college without having to bother with that pesky Constitution.

    • Amanda Green says:

      Yep. And if that doesn’t work, does anyone doubt he’d gladly use executive order to bypass Congress and the will of the people?

  • Pete EE says:

    1. On term limits – The goal is to remove corrupt influences from power, not to limit the pool of political talent. Term limits are of little value if the ex-pols are still hanging around the halls of power.Let’s first stop that revolving door between lobbyists, staff and elected office. Plus, it doesn’t require a constitutional amendment.

    2. On donations – I disagree about the amount of Steyer’s donations. If he is donating 50% of his wealth to philanthropic charity, that is impressive.
    I just wonder about that philanthropic part. Donating large amounts of money to, say, the Clinton Foundation is not a sign of virtue. What fraction of his wealth HAS he donated? What fraction has gone to apolitical charities from which he does not derive a secondary benefit?

    • Amanda Green says:

      Totally agree on your first point. Not so much on your second. This is the same pledge folks like Bill Gates and others have taken. They will donate half their money to charity before their death. That means they can set it up and it can be done as they lay of their death bed. It also doesn’t necessarily touch the bulk of their wealth, family trusts, corporate assets etc. Even if it does, how much does it really impact his standard of living? If you want me to believe you really understand what my life is like, when I have had to live paycheck to paycheck and wonder if I would have money for diapers, then do something to prove it. Continuing to live like a millionaire and have multiple homes, cars, staff, etc., isn’t the way to do it.

      Also, as you pointed out, what are these charities he’s giving to? My gut tells me at least some of the money will be going to push political agendas and not help the needy.

    • John Sanford says:

      Uhh, no. A legitimate restriction on lobbying by termed out Congress critters would require a Constitutional amendment. The right to petition the government is smack dab in the First Amendment, and there are no exceptions for retired Congress critters or bureaucrats.

  • cheeflo says:

    Steyer has said that he doesn’t want to be president — he wants to do things as president.

    He doesn’t want the job. He just wants the power.

  • Kevin says:

    Term limits would do very little to improve the quality of politicians in office. Everyone would agree that democrat Hank “Island Tipper” Johnson is not really qualified to be in office, but term limits would just replace Hank Johnson with another just as bad or worse politician because it is voters that elected Johnson in the first place that would vote for his replacement.

  • Bruce M says:

    Steyer trying to get away with implying that somehow Repubs are the lifetime job abusers reminds me of the gerrymandering controversy. A Lib friend pontificated on FB about it, but was silent when I posted the district map of a well known Dem in nearby MD.

    • Amanda Green says:

      Funny how they go silent or tell us “it’s different” when we point out how their own party is as guilty as they claim the Republicans are.

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