Maybe Hillary Clinton’s right that going back to the candidates’ past illuminates their character. I’m not sure we need to know whether they spilled their milk in kindergarten, but let’s look at the 2006 election. Barack Obama’s Hope Fund PAC,
2006 was a Democratic opportunity, and grassroots supporters dug deep and then deeper to finance an ever-expanding array of competitive races. Clinton, meanwhile, made a conscious decision to raise $52 million for a Senate campaign that she could have won in her pajamas, spent $40.8 million (to beat a token opponent who spent less than $6 million), and transferred the rest to her presidential campaign.
You could say she was just playing the game, but John Edwards and Barack Obama, in comparison, campaigned throughout the country to support worthy Democratic candidates, while doing negligible fundraising for their own pending campaigns. The Edwards campaign ended that season still in debt from 2004. Obama emerged with less than a million in the bank. Their top priorities really did seem to be helping other Democrats win a critical election, instead of subordinating all other goals to their own personal futures.
For another contrast, the entire Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee raised only $107 million that season, and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee $103 million. Hillary spent more than a third as much as either of these, more than any candidate in
If we compare
Paul Rogat Loeb is the author of The Impossible Will Take a Little While: A Citizen’s Guide to Hope in a Time of Fear, named the #3 political book of 2004 by the History Channel and the American Book Association. His previous books include Soul of a Citizen: Living with Conviction in a Cynical Time. See www.paulloeb.org To receive his articles directly email [email protected] with the subject line: subscribe paulloeb-articles