Making Virtue Out of Failure or How Not to Spend $15 million

You have to give it to Sen. John Kerry. After hiring a team of bumblers that found a way to lose an election where they had as much of a chance of winning as not, they follow up the resounding failure of Campaign 2004 with the news that after all was said and done, Kerry’s campaign still had around $15 million in the bank.
Now, far be it from me to beat a dead horse (rhetorically speaking) nor to join the sore winner crowd in charge these days, but when I get an email in my mailbox from Sen. Kerry proudly announcing he’s donating a million bucks to the DNC and spins it as somehow doing a favor for incoming DNC Chair Howard Dean (although he still can’t call him by name!), well, I find myself trying to decide if I want to vomit, or scream.
Well, maybe not scream. But vomiting sounds good. Purge that nasty feeling I’m getting in my stomach right about now.
If there is one thing I can’t stand, it’s when politicians manufacture virtue out of necessity. Kerry has been doing this a lot since it was discovered he had ended the campaign with a surplus of $15 million. Wow! What a smart guy! He’s got money! And now he’s sharing!
When you consider how close the election was in states he lost, or when you consider that we had not one thin dime for GOTV in California for Democrats (killing things like the cops measure in LA and the affordable housing measure in SF that lost by 1%), you begin to realize that having this kind of cash sitting around the day after election day is not a good idea. Campaigns aren’t in the business of stashing away cash – they’re in the “business” of communicating a message to elect someone to office.
Even more irritating is the fact that Kerry has given a cool $1 million to the DNC. He’s given money to other assorted party committees. But he saved the biggest chunks for himself: $4 million to a re-election campaign, and the balance which they claim they’re still using to “pay bills”  (maybe that’s how Bob Shrum cold afford that Tuscan holiday?) – and use some of it to seed a run for President in 2008.
Yes, you heard that right. They’re already floating trial balloons about another run. Isn’t that just what we need? Yeah, a sure fire success. Maybe he can be for losing the election before he was against it. (Sorry, but that one was too easy.)
Now you start to see why Sen. Kerry’s $1 million donation doesn’t count for much in terms of virtuous political conduct. It is a nice thing, yes, to give $1 million to the DNC. So is giving $1 million to Habitat for Humanity.
But when you put it on the spreadsheet and start adding up where the rest of the money’s going – not to mention the fact that if had been spent properly in 2004, we might have a different President in 2005, well then, Sen. Kerry’s “dramatic step” starts to make you feel more “sick and tired” than “warm and fuzzy” about Sen. Kerry’s pious virtue.
I for one am not fooled by it, and I sure wish they’d stop sending me email telling me the latest protest email I can fire off to my Senator. Tell me instead, Sen. Kerry why you had all the money, all the consultants, and all the Washington Establishment, and yet still lost. And tell me how you’re going to repair the permanent damage you’ve done to our party in the process.
Now that would be a truly virtuous thing to do. Brave even. Don’t count in it happening anytime soon. Why can’t we get Jon Stewart to run for President? At least he can talk.
PS: Just in case you were wondering how far a million dollars goes towards grass roots efforts at the state level, $1,000,000 divided by 50 = $20,000 per state if they dole it out as such.
A nice start. But only a start. Regular people are going to have to take matters in their own hands. Sen. Kerry and his Elite Consultants have to spend most of that $15 million on themselves first.

© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at

Leave a Reply