February 2, 2008

The $49 million dollar man (or woman)

You'd be happy if someone flipped you a $100 dollar bill, right?

What if they handed you one every minute for nearly an entire year? A crisp $100 bill every 60 seconds for 340 days straight, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Pretty sweet, eh?

At that rate, you'd end up with $49 million bucks. $49,000,000,000.00, a cool chunk of change in anyone's book. It would take a heavy duty truck to haul it to the bank.

As it happens, that's exactly how much Rudy Giuliani has spent to get.... one delegate.

Yep, for the low, low price of $49 million dollars, Rudy came away with exactly ONE delegate to the Republican convention. (from Nevada) A person no one's ever heard of. Rudy ended up spending nearly $50 million on a person who even the press haven't been able to identify. Can't help wondering what that incredibly expensive delegate must feel like about now. Surely they must be acutely aware of the absolute absurdity of personally representing the result of a $49 million dollar campaign.

At that rate, Rudy would have had to spend $60 BILLION dollars to get the number of delgates required to win the nomination.

The previous record was set by John Connally of Texas who spent $11 million during the 1980 primary only to end up with one lonely delegate. Rudy blew that record out of the water.

The only thing that could make this absurdity more absurd is for this lone Rudy delegate to end up voting for someone else at the convention.

Sometimes little factoids such as this illustrate just how out of whack our political process has become in regards to the truly obscene amounts of money required.

What could $49 million dollars do to help rebuild crumbling schools? What could it do to help clean up toxic waste sites across the country? What could it do to help out seniors in need? Such an enormous amount of money could put thousands and thousands of kids through college. It would go a long way towards providing housing for the thousands of veterans left homeless. I'm sure you could imagine other worthy uses for it as well, areas which currently can't seem to find the funds.

Yet one candidate spent that much to come away with a single delegate to his party's convention.

With campaign spending spiralling into the billions, what does this say about our current process of choosing a president? What does it say about the commercialization of the process, of it's being an industry unto itself with hundreds of firms and thousands of assorted consultants raking in millions from it?

Is it healthy? No big deal? Or if it continues will it further pervert and distort the original intent of democracy, essentially turning the race to become leader of the free world into an auction in which only the few with the cash to play need apply?

What about the fact that only those with the ability to raise hundreds of millions are able to get their messages out to a mass audience, while those who can't are essentially ignored along with their vital and legitimate ideas and messages, essentially cutting them out of the national debate? Does this limiting of ideas and narrowing of issues to only those deemed acceptible to a handful of candidates serve the public well?

P.S. Wink Martindale aka Willard Mitt Romney has spent over $35 million dollars out of his own bank account on his race so far. Now Wink isn't going to allow himself or his family to be anywhere near broke even if he loses. He's still going to be worth tens of millions of dollars. So essentially this guy has over $35 million in walking around money to play with. Try to imagine that.

And the lunatic fringe tried to paint Edwards as some sort of elitist because he got an expensive haircut. It's insane.

If you're wondering what sort of people have made out like bandits because of Bush tax policy and thousands of other legislative gifts to them, think Romney.

Kinda makes you scratch your head when you hear Republican peons fighting like mad to preserve the ultra-wealthy's advantages, and arguing like crazy that they should be expanded. Maybe it's some psychological deal where they think that by taking up the positions of the very wealthy, they can somehow pretend to be wealthy by osmosis. Or perhaps their inner desire to kiss up to what they consider their "betters" drives them to adopt such non-sensical positions. Who knows?


At 2/03/2008 7:42 AM, Anonymous andrew said...

I don't understand...a candidate spends a lot of money on an unsuccessful campaign.

In the case you identify, it was a republican. There are numerous Democrats and Green party candidates that have successful (and expensive) campaigns.

How do you take this fact and turn it into more hatred for 'the rich?'

At 2/03/2008 8:15 AM, Anonymous sueshedap;puhleeze said...

Hi Mr. Dope....I'm settled down now after the reply to nico yesterday and have found my courteous self again....shewoo!

You said...

'Is it healthy?' NO

'No big deal?' It is a huge deal!

'serve the public well?' No and the "publics'" sense of this problem is growing. It should after all the truck loads of scandal brought to light ... the name Abramoff immediately jumps to mind for example, and now any thinking person knows why.

This is the real "elephant in the room". How to get the guv'mint back working for us.....from the ground up. Clean elections!. Sweep out all the dirt. I believe this is necessary to keep our democracy.

At 2/03/2008 8:43 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Andrew, my boy, the answer is simple.

I don't.

At 2/03/2008 5:06 PM, Blogger nicodemus said...

sueshedap: I did not see your reply to my post yesterday. Where is it? Can't find it. I know I mentioned a few things, the "elephant in the living room"=entitlements and interest on the debt, and non-discretionary spending. But facts like this aren't very "exciting" for most folks, so then the thread digressed into what kind of dress Hillary was wearing. ...And you wonder why the government doesn't work for us??

At 2/04/2008 10:24 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

I hardly think it's fair to blame two people who are obviously very well informed and serious about paying attention to substantive issues in politics for allowing themselves to have opinions on a candidate's wardrobe for the decline and fall of our democracy.

If you want to fault someone for the trivializing of the political process, try putting the blame where it belongs, to pundits and cable hosts and the people paid millions to broadcast such idle gossip to tens of millions of viewers and listeners.

Remember the entire national media giggling and yukking it up all the way through the 2000 election talking about Al Gore's supposed "earth tones"?


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