One of the most disturbing aspects of American politics is the increasingly crucial role money plays in getting elected. So perhaps it is a good sign that even boatloads of cash could not buy victory for some of our wealthier candidates. Just take a look at what some of the losers spent:
- Meg Whitman doled out a record $142 million dollars of her own money to lose by 13 points to Jerry Brown.
- Linda McMahon blew $46.6 million of her hard earned wrestling cash to lose in her Senate bid.
- Carly Fiorina spent $5.5 million dollars of her own money on her unsuccessful Senate race.
While I admire those who want to serve the public good, I am baffled as to why three people would spend almost $200 million dollars trying to get elected to office. If I were inclined towards public service, and had tens of millions of dollars to donate to help make America better, I would not spend it to blanket the airwaves with television ads featuring me. It seems the utmost in arrogance to assume the country needs me so badly that it is a good idea to spend $142 million dollars to get me elected. Instead, what if I spent $142 million on:
- Teachers. With that much cash I could hire approximately 3000 teachers for a year, which would educate 84,000 kids.
- Housing. I could provide good housing for 10,000 or more families for a year.
Feed the hungry, provide job training to the unemployed, provide start-up capital to small businesses to get the economy moving, healthcare for the sick… the options to do good with that much money are almost endless.
And even if I am an egomaniac who really wants to be famous there are better options. Hollywood always needs money. Take twenty or thirty million and help finance a few films and television shows under the condition I get prominent roles, and then use the balance of money to do good things. Envision Meg Whitman as the horny concierge in “Hangover 2”, or as Tony Stark’s evil nemesis in “Iron Man 3 – The Revenge of Ferret Face”. I think any of the ladies would also be terrific in recurring roles on Cougar Town, and Linda would make a great heartless prosecutor on Law & Order: Los Angeles.
Smart money management – that’s what we need right now.