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Money and Elections

June 9, 2010

A prodigious amount of money is spent on political campaigns in this country. Many Americans, me among them, think it’s too much. I like the frugal approach of Dan Maes’ campaign; it speaks well for how he is going to manage the taxpayers’ money.

But he is an exception. All the newspaper pundits write about is how much money Maes, Hickenlooper, McInnis and others have in the bank. They seem to think–and most candidates do as well–that whoever has the most money wins. (They have it wrong, of course: it’s whoever dies with the most toys wins. But I digress.)

This week I got an email from the McInnis campaign comparing his campaign’s fundraising to that of his opponents. The numbers are drawn from May, just before the state assembly. It will be interesting to see what happens this month. But regardless: can we please discuss the issues?

Having said that, campaigns do cost money. As my friend Laura the Expat Ex-Lawyer says, “Money isn’t everything, but it’ s not nothing either.” Campaign printed materials, ads on TV and radio, paid staff and a host of other things do cost something, even when you’re being careful.

So here’s my message for Liberty activists: yesterday I asked you to support candidates who hold our values. Support goes beyond endorsement. Support includes volunteering for them and contributing what you can financially. We don’t like it when candidates go after big-money endorsements. If we don’t provide them with an alternative that’s exactly what they will be forced to do.

In the quality management world we say that insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Let’s do something different. The Founders pledged their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor. Let’s pledge a little of our fortunes so that our chosen candidates don’t have to risk their sacred honor to raise money.

  1. Alexandra permalink
    June 9, 2010 7:59 pm

    I think your arguement that money shouldn’t matter is a nice thought but unrealistic. I am a big believer in discussing and campainging on issues. However, if no one hears where you stand on the issues what is the point. I think both Scott McInnis and Dan Maes have the right idea on a lot of issues…..I think Scott is the better choice for various reasons I won’t go into, but both are solid conservatives, and either would be much better leading our state than Hickenlooper.

    However, with no primary and the democratic funding machine behind him, Hickenlooper can out spend and out media us in the general election no matter who is the republican candidate. The fact that McInnis has a very steady money stream and significantly more capital raised at this point IS important. State wide campaigns in Colorado have historically cost millions to run and win. I know that Dan Maes’ supporters don’t want to believe this…..but good or bad, it is what it is. Unless Maes comes up with SERIOUS cash soon, he cannot hope to get his message out and get elected, and all he will do is pull McInnis’ time, focus and money away from fighting the real threat which is Hickenlooper.

    Come November if Hickenlooper wins, it won’t matter who was or wasn’t the “Tea Party” candidate, who was or wasn’t more conservative, or who was or wasn’t “the real deal”, all that will have mattered is that we as conservatives were too busy fighting amongst ourselves and calling each other names, and because of it we lost. And for the people of Colorado the stakes are too high to risk that, four years of Ritter has left us with higher taxes and a state economy which is bleeding jobs, and faltering, with four more years of liberal leadership I shudder to think what our state will look like then.

  2. June 9, 2010 9:27 pm

    I agree that money is “something” but it should be the defining thing.

    The point of the post is that if you support a candidate, you ought to contribute something. If you don’t, you force candidates to go after big-money special interests–and that leads to the kind of influence and corruption that we don’t want.

    We must start standing on our values and put our money where our values are. I agree that both Maes and McInnis are light years better than Hickenritter but ask yourself this: if the money issue were not a factor, who would you support? For my part, I’d much rather McInnis ran on values than on how much money has has in the bank.

  3. June 10, 2010 12:11 am

    Good points Alexandra and Al:

    Both of you are right (isn’t that diplomatic). I think it’s due or die when this month’s reports come out at the beginning of July. At that point we’re a month from the primary. The party’s not going to be able to pony up to much to help the nominee, from what I hear.

    Individuals decidedly do need to pony up. I think our friend Don Johnson pointed out that 1,000 supporters each coughing up 300 would give him a nice war chest.

    I hope Dan and his volunteers are spending a lot of time on the phone.

  4. Alexandra permalink
    June 10, 2010 7:23 am

    I would still support Scott if money wasn’t the issue, and I would argue he is actually running on values and issues. I think his track record and stand on the issues is known and better than Dan’s. I also have a very sour taste in my month from many of Maes supporters in the Tea Party frankly acting like jerks to those of us who don’t support their candidate. I have been a conservative and involved in the political process since I was four, (I have the picture of me campaigning for Reagan to prove it) it really pisses me off when people call me a RINO or tell me I’m not really a conservative, especially when this is the first election cycle they’ve become involved in. It’s great to have new faces, but those of us that have cared from the begining are not “entrenched people” who need to be gotten rid of.

    Also Scott’s money isn’t coming from “Big Money” it’s coming from everyday people donating what they can. I volunteer at the office, I’ve helped process checks and stuffed a mountain of fundraising mailings. Besides, I think the max an individual or organization can donate is about $1000.00. (Which makes me wonder how the Dems raise so much more money then we ever do? They always seem to have so much more and never seem to sweat about how they get it.)

    I do agree with you that if you really believe in a candiate you should put your money and your time where your mouth is. Our family has written several checks to candidates and issues we support, and volunteered our time as well, being involved is a lot of fun and helps a good cause.

  5. June 10, 2010 9:32 am

    The truth of support comes in two stages. First, will be who has the foot soldiers to get out the vote for the August primary. Scott McInnis has the money and Dan Maes has people who are working hard to make the “it’s not about the money” true in Colorado. Dan Maes will do better in fund rasing, but is playing catch up for sure.

    The second comes, like in Nevada, if Dan wins in August. Will the GOP establishment then pour the money into the race for a “tea party” candidate?

    Until then, support your “guy” with your time and what money you can give. Times are hard for many working families, but many will give what they can as this isn’t poliics as usual.

  6. June 10, 2010 7:56 pm


    Thanks again for commenting. If you look at today’s post, you’ll see that I completely agree with you that Old and Young Guard need to work together to get conservative candidates elected. I hope you consider me (and most of us) as reinforcements instead of rivals.

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