Donald Trump's pretend presidential candidacy continues to draw an inordinate amount of attention during this nebulous period where a) Trump has a television show to promote and b) all of the non-pretend candidates are still tiptoeing around their decision to get into the race. That leaves plenty of space for the Trump camp's crazy announcements, like this one reported by Maggie Haberman today, that the combed-over mogul "now has a $2 billion war chest to draw from."
If you happen to not be keeping score, in 2008, Barack Obama and John McCain spent $1 billion combined. The total expenditures of all the races of the entire 2008 campaign cycle came to $5.3 billion. So, telling the world that you are planning on spending $2 billion to run for president is something that a crazy person does. And the crazy person who is saying this to Haberman is "longtime controversial Republican consultant Roger Stone." Alex Pareene has already touched on this divine confluence of Trump and Stone:
Trump's false candidacy is the product of Roger Stone, the notorious and notoriously weird (but always well-dressed) political consultant/dirty trickster who, last year, attempted to run "Manhattan Madam" Kristin Davis for governor of New York on a platform of the legalization of basically everything. Trump, I'd argue, is slightly less serious than Madam Davis, as a candidate.
UPDATE, 5:33pm: A statement from Trump, who says that Stone "does not represent me":
Recently, Roger Stone has appeared in the news making very favorable statements about me and my potential candidacy for President. While I greatly appreciate his flattering comments, Roger does not represent me and is not an advisor to my potential campaign. I will make a decision sometime prior to June as to whether or not I will run, and am greatly honored by the recent Newsweek poll featured on CNN, and others.
There was a time when Stone was a serious wheeler-dealer in political circles. He cut his teeth, in his own words, "trafficking in the black arts" for the Nixon campaign. He has staffed Tom Kean and Ronald Reagan, and founded a consultancy with Charlie Black and Paul Manafort. And for years, he's helped Trump with his casino business.
But in the most recent past, he's been more madcap than serious -- like a walking, talking Spy Magazine prank that hasn't figured out that the magazine folded years ago. In addition to his work for the pretend campaign of Kristin Davis, his most well-known recent political work has been the establishment of an anti-Hillary Clinton 527 named for a vulgar term for female genitalia.
In Haberman's piece, Stone reliably trashes all of the serious presidential contenders. I'm not going to lie to you and say that Stone isn't often delightfully hilarious and pointed:
Mitt Romney? "He's an automaton. He looks like a robot designed by Disney. I mean, his jaw and his hair is just a little two perfect. "
Stone hit him on RomneyCare and pegged him as a flip-flopper -- but his toughest slams were about the family dog.
"There is a certain obtuseness -- who straps their dog to the roof of their car and drives from Boston to Canada?" Stone asked, referring to a story from the 2008 campaign, when the Boston Globe revealed he drove a station wagon with the family dog Seamus in a carrier strapped on top for 12 hours.
"Who could be. That. Stupid," Stone added. "Would you elect somebody with that kind of judgment? The dog could have been killed. There are more dog owners in America than there are conservatives. And it's not funny. So if you see a 527 [independent group] popped up called 'Dog Lovers against Romney,' you'll know. I wouldn't be shocked at all if that happens."
I wouldn't be shocked if it happens either! In fact, I imagine that this is a thing that Roger Stone will do himself, with some of Donald Trump's money, while they are pretending to run for president.