Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wasting Your Money

I don't know if one could write something similar about the Obama campaign - likely I imagine - and I don't link to this as an attack on the Clinton campaign specifically. But it is the case that campaigns should have a bit of respect for their donors and supporters and not pay out millions to people. I'm not against the idea that quality people deserve money and I don't think everyone working in politics should be poor, but political campaigns are somewhat unique in that they do ask for, and receive, a substantial amount of money from people who may not have all that much money.

...and, yes, if I wasn't a lazy blogger and I'd have actually clicked through I'd know this isn't just about the Clinton campaign.

Getting rich off free-spending campaigns is, of course, a time-honored tradition in politics, and it isn't just Mark Penn who does it. Consultants typically take a percentage of the money a candidate spends on whatever service it is they provide. Media consultants make more whenever they convince their clients they need to cut another ad, pollsters make a profit on each survey, and so on. Penn's counterpart as chief strategist on Barack Obama's campaign, David Axelrod, has seen at least $1.2 million paid to his Chicago-based firm, where David Plouffe, Obama's campaign manager, was a partner until he left to go work for the campaign. (Plouffe makes $12,000 a month in salary.) Obama has paid his chief pollster, Joel Benenson, $635,000 so far. Bob Shrum made at least $6 million for not getting John Kerry elected president four years ago. Raise your hand if you think you could have accomplished the same job for less.