Grift 2.0

Writing in Salon under the headline, “I was a right-wing pundit,” Rich Logis confesses: “I was all-in on Donald Trump’s lies, well after Jan. 6.” And: “I was dead wrong about all of it.”

Welcome to the party, pal.

I’m not here to sneer at Salon or its contributors, but I am going to guess you’ve never heard of Rich Logis, who seems to have been a “right-wing pundit” more in aspiration than in reality. You know the type: a couple of Federalist bylines, one on, and, at last count, 64 Twitter followers. The media-activism nexus, left and right, is full of reasonably bright, reasonably articulate people trying to build a career telling people what they want to hear, and Logis seems to be one of those on the right who have moved on to Grift 2.0: “Mea most maxima culpa, baby, now here’s a link to donate to my new organization.” In Logis’ case, that’s a new entity called Listen, Lead, Unite, which consists of a web page with a mission statement, a founder bio, and—the most important bit—a link for donations.

I don’t mind these guys all that much. They are the Max Fischers of the political world, always starting new clubs to give themselves something to be in charge of. (“Max Fischer-ism” plus a really strong work ethic equals “Tracy Flick-ism,” and if you didn’t get enough of Tracy Flick in Election, Tom Perrotta has revisited the character in a new novel, Tracy Flick Can’t Win.) I don’t want to be uncharitable, but my first response to this shtick—“I’m a good person now, please give me money!”—is some free advice: If you couldn’t see what a grift Trump and Trumpism were from the beginning, and if you were still on board after Trump et al. attempted to stage a coup d’état, then maybe sit out a few rounds rather than promote yourself to a position of notional leadership.

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