I have a new theory about campaigns and elections. Of course, my new theory could be fact that everyone other than me already knows. My theory is that for some people the business of campaigning is more important than actually governing ( i.e. Sarah Palin). Could prepping for campaigns and campaigning be where the money is?
Roy Barnes raised and spent over $28 million dollars running for governor of Georgia but didn’t win. Much of that money went to media buys like T.V. and radio ads. Old school people like me just assumed a sizable old fashion Get Out the Vote effort was coming and that rallies with sweet smelling Georgia barbecue would be held from one end of the state to the other end. It never really happened because the fancy Buckhead type consultants (who aren’t cheap themselves) pushed ads, ads and more ads. I have never been so tired of political ads and many of the spots were negative against Nathan Deal which was nonsense because everyone knew that Barnes and Deal basically liked each other.
Few noticed that former DeKalb County CEO Vernon Jones was in Nathan Deal’s corner and was standing right there during the victory party. Good for Jones because the same fancy Democrat Buckhead crowd didn’t want him running for U.S. Senate against Saxby Chambliss. Sure, Vernon has some history but hey cast the first stone and he would have done better than Jim Martin (I voted for Saxby for regional reasons.) But, the real winners of that election were the fancy fundraisers and political operatives who got candidates who could raise money and pay them.
We remember when Austin Scott was running for governor with the idea of raising smaller amounts of money and keeping it a people’s campaign based on his ideas and policy facts. On the other side of the fancy streets in Buckhead, the GOP types have even fancier offices that require much money to maintain. I think they look past the bright young man with good ideas and toward the four or five candidates who could put big money on the barrel head. Nathan Deal is the new governor and Scott is heading to congress.
Fairness requires that I acknowledge the effort put forward by Rep. Sanford Bishop’s opponent’s team. They hustled hard and made that thing too close—they were a well-oiled machine. I was ticked with the Barnes campaign and the state Democrat party because they were spending money on those freaking ads when people weren’t rallying in person, face to face like the other side was. When we did get together, it was so cool.
The first rule of politics is save yourself and Bishop got old school with his last Get Out The Vote push. He won that election with little help from the top of the ticket and because the people woke up at the eleventh hour.
Looming on the horizon is the 2012 presidential election year. While the presidential race outcome is unclear, you can bet that my community will be there for President Obama in huge numbers. An old theory of mine is that conservative candidates could fair well during that Obama wave if they could swim. My old friend Karen Bogans in Savannah is the only hope the GOP has in winning the 12th District race; she is smart, direct and has the political and professional credentials. Could an African American conservative get out of the GOP primary is the question but her campaign would be hard on the Obama White House yet surprisingly usefully to the Obama presidency at the same time. Hey, she criticizes me all the time and I would be upset if her comments weren’t true and didn’t need to be said.
I told Bogans that she could get a sizeable amount of the Black vote and win a congressional seat without raising and spending much money. She said those fancy folks in Buckhead must get their business/coin or they will push someone else up. I have concluded that the process of campaigning and prepping are likely more lucrative than actually serving in office. Sarah Palin gets $800K for one speech while President Obama gets half that amount as an annual salary. If you are going to be in the game, you must know the rules and the new golden rule is “he who has the gold..rules.”