November 21, 2006

Why did Hillary Clinton spend $30 million on an election she won by more than 30 percentage points?

Front-page analysis by the NYT. Having spent so much money on extras -- $13,000 for flowers, $27,000 for valet parking, $930,000 on a campaign strategist -- she no longer has a financial advantage over the other presidential hopefuls.

Why did she do it? According to the article, it's not clear whether it was a lack of discipline or whether it has cleverly laid the groundwork for future fundraising.

But it doesn't make a pretty picture. And why would an ordinary person part with $100 or so if this is the way they think the money will be spent? And doesn't reckless spending say something about how the candidate will govern?

Let me remind you of an old Wisconsin Senator: William Proxmire:
His aversion to spending money extended to himself. Throughout his career, he wore inexpensive suits, paid for his own plane trips and spent less than $200 on his campaigns, with some of the money used to buy stamps to return donations sent by constituents.

"I think fully two-thirds of the senators could get re-elected without spending a penny," he once said.

46 comments:

MadisonMan said...

My mind reels as I read about the dollar amounts tossed around in winning and losing campaigns. What a waste of money.

Pogo said...

"And doesn't reckless spending say something about how the candidate will govern?"

Of course it does. Hillary's motto? "There's more where that came from."

Not that the left doesn't care about fiscal responsibility. For Democrats, 'balancing the budget' means increasing taxation and then spending more, then increasing taxes, then spending more.

Wheras Republcians cut taxes, but just a little, and then spend more than they take in. This serves as proof to Democrats that taxes need to be raised. Thus the circle is unbroken.

Basic economics eludes both parties in a grand and mighty way.

faster said...

Wasn't Kerry criticized for NOT spending all of his money in '04? What's a candidate to do?

Sloanasaurus said...

We had 4 years of Bush, then 8 years of Clinton, then 8 years of Bush...

Why would anyone in their right mind vote for 4 more years of Clinton.

It's time for a change.

StrangerInTheseParts said...

Amen Sloanasauraus, Amen.

Mortimer Brezny said...

It does not make any sense. She could have beaten Spencer without spending any money.

SteveR said...

Its rather unfair to compare any modern senator to Proxmire, much less Hillary Clinton. But unfair we must be.

the pooka said...

Well, that's a lot more than a House seat is worth, to be sure. Then again, given that there is (relatively speaking) so little money in U.S. politics anyway, there's no sense losing any sleep over it.

jgm said...

Seems like a good investment for her: she won big, demonstrating her power (yeah a weak GOP, but in 2007 the rest of the country won't know/recall that), she overpaid advisors to lock them in for 2008, and she has no money worries -- she'll outraise ANYONE in 2008. her base is pretty flush.

as for campaign $ amts: they are pretty modest as a % of GDP. i bet we spend more $ on hair coloring and definitely more on sports than politics. sadly, it is still a bad investment. but the dollar amts are modest for a country of our size.

reader_iam said...

“I have spent my career trying to get Congressmen to spend the people's money as if it were their own. But I have failed.”
--William Proxmire

Sissy Willis said...

Wait a sec. I carry no water for the inedible scold, Hillary!, but all that spending is surely good for the economy. :-)

Ruth Anne Adams said...

She spent more than twice as much for valet parking as she did for flowers?? Clearly this is a woman whose priorities are out of whack. Flowers are way more important than parking.

reader_iam said...

i bet we spend more $ on hair coloring

For every dollar I've ever spent on hair coloring, I've gotten exactly what I paid for (even when I was engaging in--retrospectively speaking--rather unfortunate experiments).

That's more than I can say for the dollars (and time) I've spent related to politics.

reader_iam said...

The limousine is the ultimate ego trip, the supreme sign of success. It shouts: "Hey, this guy is really and truly Mr. Big."
--William Proxmire

reader_iam said...

the inedible scold

LOL. What a delicious phrase that is, against whomever served.

knoxgirl said...

The gross stuff she and Bill have done in pursuit of $$$ throughout the years should leave no one in doubt of her love of $$$ and spending it. It's only funny because they claim to be for the little guy... who knows, maybe they're generous tippers.

Truly said...

Was no one else bowled over by the amount spent on a campaign strategist? I'm going to need to rethink my career goals.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Knoxgirl: Let's not forget this incident where Hillary stiffed a waitress.

Internet Ronin said...

Interesting story. Those who donated to her campaign can stop donating to her if they don't like how she spent it.

chickenlittle said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
knoxgirl said...

...hmmm, I wasn't aware of that little incident. I wonder, should we give the Clintons a break for deducting their donation of used underwear on the grounds that it was probably designer?

Paul Zrimsek said...

"I think fully two-thirds of the senators could get re-elected without spending a penny," [Proxmire] once said.

I suppose, so long as you don't count they money they spend on, to pick a purely random example, dairy subsidies.

Icepick said...

For every dollar I've ever spent on hair coloring, I've gotten exactly what I paid for (even when I was engaging in--retrospectively speaking--rather unfortunate experiments).

That's more than I can say for the dollars (and time) I've spent related to politics.


Reader, wasn't it Will Rogers that said "We ought to be glad we don't get all the government we pay for"?

Icepick said...

Also, I seem to recall one of Hillary's money-men stating a few months back that Hillary could raise $100 million in the first three months of next year. Does anyone else remember that?

Internet Ronin said...

FWIW, I read the other day that $3,600,000,000 was spent fighting the 2006 election, and, IIRC, that was about what was spent by the American people on cookies (or some such nonsense) in a month or so.

reader_iam said...

Ah, but did the cookies leave a bad taste in the mouths of their consumers?

(Full disclosure: I'm not much into cookies, for myself--vastly preferring hair coloring and even politics, for example.)

Internet Ronin said...

Some cookies do! Like you, I'm not a big cookie-lover, however ;-)

Maxine Weiss said...

"...why would an ordinary person part with $100 or so if this is the way they think the money will be spent?" ---Althouse

The same reason ordinary person throw away their money every Sunday, giving to the Catholic Church, even though they know it's all going to legal defense of child molestations.

Wasting money: It's a Sacrament! A higher calling.

Internet Ronin said...

"Why did Hillary Clinton spend $30 million on an election she won by more than 30 percentage points?"

For that matter, why did moveon.org give almost $1,000,000 to Robert C. Byrd in October?

Revenant said...

My mind reels as I read about the dollar amounts tossed around in winning and losing campaigns. What a waste of money.

Oh, I dunno. A lot of that money gets spent on TV ads, which pay for the shows on television -- which means that in effect people are donating money to fund entertainment for others.

As a fan of "Heroes", "Battlestar Galactica", and "Veronica Mars", I appreciate that. Thanks, partisans!

The Drill SGT said...

SteveR, Then compare her to Schumer:

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.

Garage Mahal said...

Can't we talk about Nancy, this is boring.

I've been hanging out with the Kaus Kidz, but nope, nothing new there today either. How can that be?

Ann, have you unlocked any power plays from Naughty Nancy's wardrobe choices, that might gives us clues to her "real" motives?

I've been doing my part too, I've had my eye on that broach. Yessirree. Just a broach? Or a noxious gas dispenser.

Developing...

hdhouse said...

i love this blog.

hillary has no problems raising money and its not greed. she just has no issues raising money because she delivers for new york.

the apples/oranges argument about spending more than schumer...who was opposed by Mills whose prior experience as as a town councilman...certainly the sacrifical lamb of all time...so what?

every move hillary made this fall received more national attention than new york attention where her campaign was barely covered because it was a certain victory as was the democratic sweep of the entire state.

30 million in campaign dollars was a well spent down payment to keep her place at the top...and the polls show it worked.

who does the GOP have? McCain...? the new definition of flipflop? anyone else? rudy? ha. romney? double ha.

i love it when the GOP gets bent out of shape over spending money hand over fist. hypocrisy thy name is GOP.

Sanjay said...

I think she actually had to spend a bit if she has further political aspirations. The knock I keep hearing on HRC --- and I'm not sure I buy it -- is that conservative Americans hate her so much. But this time she managed to pull down a solid majority of the upstate votes, which she wasn't able to pull off in 2000. She also polled a hefty percentage of the votes of Republicans and conservatives. I would imagine her advisers suggested to her that she had to try hard to win _those_ votes -- in that sense she had a race, and behaved accordingly. Not that I like it, but I think it's understandable.

Shanna said...

As a fan of "Heroes", "Battlestar Galactica", and "Veronica Mars", I appreciate that. Thanks, partisans!

Heh. I think I'd send Senator Clinton money if she'd promise to buy advertising time during Supernatural. Partisans. Supernatural viewers just love to vote!

Richard Fagin said...

I miss the heck out of Bill Proxmire. Give Hillary a "Golden Fleece" award on behalf of her contributors.

JDM said...

Shanna said...

Heh. I think I'd send Senator Clinton money if she'd promise to buy advertising time during Supernatural. Partisans. Supernatural viewers just love to vote!


Remember though Shanna, dead people trend heavily democratic, and I'm not sure how the GOP could cut into that demographic. So perhaps Ms Clinton would regard that expenditure as wasted.

Cat said...

I don't think many people on this blog realize that Hillary didn't have to spend much more than a dime to get re-elected. I AM SURPRISE.

Her opposition was an unknown and other than seeing him on a local cable news show once, I didn't see much advertising or much of rally to stop Hillary as there was in 2000. Rick Lazio was a weak last minute opponent, John Spencer was never a contender. He was as much of a "sacrificial lamb" as Mills was hdhouse.

It's also a myth that Hillary won over "republican" upstaters. I think the media overstated that from the beginning. Upstate New Yorkers vote Democrat as much as their downstate neighbors (and see government as the answer to their economic woes). And, hello! She replaced retiring (now deceased) Daniel Patrick Moynahan with his solid endorsement.

I would like to know what Hillary has "delivered" to me.

Hillary only believes in one thing, Hillary and she believes her wealth is deserved for all the "good" she does, like so many politicians (R or D).

Kirk Parker said...

reader_iam, to each his/her own, but this is a little bit hard to swallow:
"I'm not much into cookies, for myself--vastly preferring hair coloring"
That must taste just awful! Or maybe hair coloring is made from crayons or something...

Ann, you guys can certainly have Proxmire back if you'll support my bid to bring back Scoop Jackson!

Faster, in case you didn't notice, Kerry left campaign funds unspent while losing. It's the complete mirror image of Hillary!™, who spent profligately (by some people's lights) while winning a blowout.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Maxine Weiss: Offensive and false.

Hecla Ma said...

The same reason ordinary person throw away their money every Sunday, giving to the Catholic Church, even though they know it's all going to legal defense of child molestations.

Right. None of that money goes to pay priest and staff salary, electricity and heating bills, parish outreach, soup kitchens, CCD programs, building upkeep, liturgical items from candles to garb, missalettes, money for elderly folks and single parents who come to the rectory looking for help because they can't make the rent or buy food, or shoes for the kids. In our parish that's what it all goes for, but you must know better. Bigots always do.

Revenant said...

In our parish that's what it all goes for, but you must know better. Bigots always do.

I'd like to point out that the only people who actually "know better" are the Catholic church bookkeepers, who don't deign to make their books open to the laymen. Personally I've no idea how much money the Catholic church spends helping the needy. I do know that American dioceses are liquidating assets and declaring bankruptcy as a way of dealing with the hundreds of millions of dollars in judgements against them. That suggests (a) that the church accumulated massive wealth over the years (duh) and (b) that the judgements are so massive in relation to actual church income that borrowing against those assets isn't feasible.

But in any case, around 1.2 million $100 donations in Boston alone wound up paying off molested children instead of buying candles and food for the poor. So surely saying that Boston Catholics didn't expect their money to be spent on that is as legitimate as pointing out that Hillary's donaters didn't expect to be buying flowers and valet parking stubs.

Ruth Anne Adams said...

Revenant:
Boston Archdiocese is the worst case scenario. In my diocese [Charlotte, NC] NOT ONE DIME went to pay off such things.

Canon law requires that each parish have a finance council composed of laymen to oversee the financial expenditures of each parish. Most of the settlement payments come from the diocesan [bishop's] level. Every parish pays a cathedraticum or approximately 10% [a tithe] to the diocese. At most, 10 cents of any dollar I've given may have gone for that cause. That leaves at least 90% untainted.

dick said...

Cat,

I agree with you. Hillary unfortunately is my senator and I really would love to know what she brought to us. It is funny that Al D'Amato brought more to the state of New York by himself with a democratic senate and congress than Schumer and Hillary combined and he did it locally. All Hillary has done is promise and then ignore. She lost me when she was "too busy" writing her book to see the police and firemen who came to testify to Congress, the only New York congressman or senator who did not make the time. She is great at generating headlines but only because of Bubba.

Mortimer Brezny said...

At most, 10 cents of any dollar I've given may have gone for that cause. That leaves at least 90% untainted.

Last week I only had 8% of a cold.

hdhouse said...

ahh dick and cat

fter 6 years of bush holding public rallies when only republicans could come and the GOP running the senate and the house like a private club for loyalists i think it is justice that we completely ignore republicans for a few years...you'll learn to accept that.