Home > posts > Beware the Self-Funded Candidate
April 2nd, 2010 7:22 pm
Beware the Self-Funded Candidate

One of the curious things about business people turned political candidates is how much they retain the language of commerce, yet shuck its practice.  The best example is of self-funded multi-millionaires (or billionaires) spending gobs of their own money at an unsustainable clip while excoriating career politicians for being fiscally irresponsible.  Although you can’t run a government exactly like a business, the notion that spending should match revenue is perhaps the one financial concept that applies to any endeavor not operating on the barter system.

All of which makes a Republican candidacy like Meg Whitman’s for California governor so paradoxical.  Like her political mentor, Mitt Romney, Whitman is loaning her campaign tens of millions of dollars from her personal wealth to fund her run.  The money is going to support a top-notch staff, endless media buys in California, and a slick website.  It is not, apparently, attracting an equal amount of financial contributions from people with a different bank account.  So, in order to make it to the June primary, Whitman will have to cut herself another check.

That approach won’t fly as governor.  One of the chief criticisms of Whitman’s campaign narrative is that she can’t fire underperforming bureaucrats and politicians in Sacramento the way she did as CEO of Ebay.  Now, it looks like her candidacy can’t muster enough popular support to prop up her big spending ways.  Californians already have a political class accustomed to spending money without regard to sustainability.  It is a lesson with consequences they don’t need to learn from a governmental rookie.

Comments are closed.