One would think that billionaire Tom Steyer – with his “handful of political consultants” – would have an easy time completing a podcast interview with a friendly host who once “got some of his money.”
Indeed, former journalist and communications consultant Randy Shandobil disclosed before the interview that his communications company, Shandobil Communications, “has produced seven ads paid for by Steyer.” So the interview was a layup, right?
The interview was a disaster, starting with Steyer’s four dodges on whether or not he’s running for governor (around the 10-, 11:45-, 12:30-, and 16-minute marks).
Before the second dodge, Shandobil brings up a point that many of Steyer’s friends and allies must be thinking:
SHANDOBIL: “My company has – I counted last night – seven ads for you and for NextGen. And I only do ads for causes I agree with. So I agree with your politics, and I’ve personally benefited from your spending. But even I sometimes wonder about your personal ambitions, because of the spending.”
In between gubernatorial dodges, Steyer wasn’t much better on politics or policy. At the 14-minute mark, Steyer mocks conservatives for being against “higher taxes on businesses”:
STEYER: “I would beg the other side – I want to see Charles Koch running ads with him saying ‘I’m against higher taxes on businesses.’”
Host Shandobil, also a Democrat, laughs at this – apparently some out-of-touch California Democrats are alike in thinking it’s absurd to be against higher taxes.
Shandobil also pushed back on his friend Steyer, though. At around the 21-minute mark, Steyer incredulously compares himself to David in a twisted retelling of the David vs. Goliath tale:
STEYER: I see this as a David and Goliath situation. They’ve always had so much more money. They’ve always been so capable of building influence around the country through money. Regardless of what I do, or what Democrats do, we’re gonna get outspent by a lot. That’s just a fact.
SHANDOBIL: I’ve heard of David and Goliath situations, and this may indeed be one. But you do have a billion-and-a-half dollars. That’s an interesting David.
Here’s a reality check for Steyer: people who spend more than any individual donor in the nation are Goliaths, not Davids.