Wednesday, November 22, 2006

See How She Ran - In a race against an opponent who had almost no chance of defeating her, Sen. Hillary Clinton spent at least $30 million. This comes to us courtesy of yesterday's NYT.

At that level, she spent nearly twice as much as Senator Charles E. Schumer, her Democratic colleague from New York, did in his 2004 re-election campaign, when he spent $15.5 million and won 71 percent of the vote, four points more than Mrs. Clinton won this year.
According to a mid-October Federal Election Commission filing, Ms. Clinton's campaign spending spree included:
  • $7 million in advertising
  • $1.1 million to pollster and advisor Mark Penn
  • $930,000 to campaign communication strategist Mandy Grunwald
  • $160,751 for private jet travel
  • $80,421 for audio-visual equipment
  • $51,313 for photography
  • $27,000 for valet parking
  • $13,169 for flowers
Of course none of this would not be expected to draw any sort of regulatory scrutiny, but it has raised the ire of more than a few Democratic fund-raisers, one was quotes in the Times' article as saying, “We’re not in this business to make consultants rich.”

If we can draw anything from Ms. Clinton's feverish fund-raising ($38 million during the 2006 election cycle) and equally frenzied spending, it is this. Whatever she or her campaign staff may say, Hillary Clinton is amassing and deploying a huge campaign war chest for a 2008 presidential run precisely because she has to. No other potential Democratic presidential candidate has as many negatives as she, and no other politician is such a polarizing force among the electorate.

Whenever it is that Hillary decides it is her time to climb the gilded stairway from the well of Senate to the Oval Office,
my hope will rest with the wisdom of the crowd, particularly that the crowd will hold her first White House stint in mind (in as much as she often appears to.) As Markos Moulitsas of Daily Kos fame observed in the May 7, 2006 Washington Post, “Perhaps first lady Clinton was so scarred by her failed health-care reform in the early 1990s that now Sen. Clinton shows no proclivity for real leadership as a lawmaker.” Perhaps Kos is being a bit harsh, but there is certainly no reason for anyone to believe that Clintonia gets better with age.

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