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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Candidates used to worry that their funding wouldn’t match their support. Now money keeps them shambling forward long after the voters have fled.

Robert Farmer, a legendary Democratic fundraiser of the 1980s and 1990s, once described how presidential campaigns ended: “People don’t lose campaigns. They run out of money and can’t get their planes in the air. That’s the reality.” Most candidates would run out of money long before they ran out of potential votes or plausible paths to victory. The winner of the nomination would often be the candidate with enough financial reserves to keep going when the others couldn’t afford jet fuel, and Farmer’s skill was in making sure that his candidates — Michael Dukakis in 1988 and Bill Clinton in 1992 — had that advantage.

That was the reality in 1992, but it’s not the reality today, especially on the Republican side. On the day after the New Hampshire primary, we now have a phenomenon in which a number of candidates who really have no possibility of winning their party’s nomination will keep going only because they can — because the money is there, either in their own campaign accounts or in a Super PAC committed to supporting the campaign, such as the pro-Newt Gingrich group into which casino billionaire Sheldon Adelson recently dumped $5 million.

So whereas in the 1990s we had candidates who died prematurely — they ran out of money while they still had a chance — we now have, in effect, zombie candidates. They’re alive and can spend money and attack Mitt Romney even though their actual political lives are over. Rick Perry is not going to be the Republican nominee for president. (He joins a short list of well-financed Texans, including John Connally in 1980 and Phil Gramm in 2000, who spent many millions of dollars to win one or fewer delegates to the Republican convention.) Newt Gingrich is not going to be the Republican nominee. Jon Huntsman, Ron Paul, Buddy Roemer, Rick Santorum — same deal. But they’ve got money and nothing to lose, and it seems they’ve all developed a personal distaste for Romney, so they will throw everything they’ve got at the nominee — including attacks on his “vulture capitalism” at Bain Capital — without regard to the consequences.

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Copyright 2012 The National Memo
  • Jamie

    You have to take steps to prevent spam letters like the above from getting into your system. It sure inhibits literate discussion…

  • freethinker

    B.O. has spent more time raising money than being President. Don’t count Gingrich out. S.C. and Florida are the first real tests, not Iowa or N.H. If Newt does well in those states and the other candidates drop out, Romney will have a real battle on his hands. Newt has the best message: He was responsible for a balanced budget for four years in a divided Congress and has a real plan. Romney is a good businessman, but government is different than business.

  • BrianJ.Gould

    This years crop of “zombies” is the most ludicrous gang of idiots ever. Not a one with any political potential at all. I hope this discourages idiots in the future and instead the right tries to find someone of substance who might actually have a chance.

  • AnnaSolomon

    For America if Romney wins the candidacy by default of last man standing.

  • Murphy2983

    Newt Gingrich is a Washington insider/lobbyist, a flip-flopper and a despicable human being. A pompous “bomb thrower,” even those in his own party and many conservative pundits abhor him. He takes credit for everything and portrays himself as the only one with all the answers. Gingrich’s candidacy is the love child of Rush Limbaugh and Ann Coulter, with Fox News throwing the baby shower. He’s a genuine mental twit just like Limbaugh and Coulter – that’s why they think he’s the ideal candidate. His personal life is hardly an example of piety and honor just like his congressional record. In 1997, Gingrich became the only speaker in history to be reprimanded by the House of Representatives for using charitable groups to promote his political views and submitting misleading documents to the House ethics committee. The ethics panel, split evenly between Democrats and Republicans, voted 7 to 1 in favor of the reprimand. The Republican dominated House agreed to the reprimand by a similarly overwhelming margin, 395 to 28. That’s why hardly any current House members haven’t come out to support him – they can’t stand him nor do they trust him!

    Your statement about Obama spending more time raising money than his duties as President is the real give away as to where you get your “freethinking” from – it’s a standard BS line from Fox News and Talk Radio.

  • CanAm Lady

    I think the people who are voting for any of these turfs are twits themselves.The Republican party endorses tyranny of the poor and womens rights in particular.Do they mean to take America back to the good old days,when only rich landed white men could vote.?What about contraceptives?I wouldn,t vote for these jokers if they paid me to!

  • gary13136

    Limit all political offices in the USA to 6 years. No American citizen may serve in more than one elective office in the USA per LIFETIME. At the end of their term of office, they are to receive a year’s severance pay (one year’s pay and insurance). They will receive NO pensions from their service in government. The Supreme Court should be handled the same way. Six years and out; no pensions. And even then that will only solve part of the problem. The system for campaigning and elections will need treatment. If we don’t do this, the nation cannot survive. Our system has turned into a FRAUD.

  • jimmyags

    Considering it was a GOP controlled supreme court that opened the floodgate,anyone one the right complaining about the current reality is either ignoring the facts or kidding themselves.

  • GaryDuell

    The problem isn’t the volume of money in politics nor is it career politicians. It is that our radical Supreme court (four of whom outright lied in their confirmation hearings: Scalia, Alito, Roberts & Thomas) which has established that (1)paper fictions (corporations) are people and are therefore entitled to Free Speech & (2)That cash is “speech”. This allows a tiny minority to hide behind their corporate coffers in effect making their speech thousands of time louder than yours or mine.
    There are two main results:
    (1)Very incompetent and/or dishonest politicians can stay in office year after year no matter how badly they screw their very own constituents.
    (2) Incompetent & unpopular “leaders” like the entire Republican field can survive long races and even win.
    Take away corporate personhood (When’s the last time a corporation got the death penalty? Or cried in remorse? How many real people are immortal like corporations?) and redefine “speech” as speech and problem solved.


    The whole crew is not worth the trouble to bury them, however that is EXACTLY what needs to happen. along with the lobists and greedy corps.. behind them. reinstate the bill of rights.end the profitering in government. exicute treasonist scum.

  • ronnie74

    Not to worry – the zombies were already here. It’s called “The Governors Office”. The candidates are just coming to join their relatives for a family reunion.

  • ronnie74

    Obama has good ideas. unfortunately, he has a Congress that is more interested in staying in power than in the good of the people in their districts. Obama inherited an abysmal governmental situation which began under Nixon, and adhered to by Newt Gingrich and other politicians – “Politics is war”.

  • ellanora606

    If it is true,as Mitt says,that”corporations are people” then he is definitely a murderer, if one considers how many corporations/people he killed when he worked at Bain Capital. He should get the death penalty for all those crimes.

  • RogerHWerner

    OK so I’m a little unclear why Romney shouldn’t get eaten alive. The man is a walking talking slime ball and he deserves what ever he gets. The GOP has been tossing slime at the US public for more than 40 years (not that Democrats have done better mind you) but Romney is the absolute dregs. I get sick just looking at him and I;’d never shake his hand for fear of never being able to get the slime off my hand.

  • Brett Bellmore

    Let me get this straight: It’s January. Romney has gotten all of 12 delegates, out of the approximately 1200 he needs to secure the nomination. He hasn’t managed an actual *majority* anywhere. And at THIS point, you’ve declared every candidate except Romney to be a “zombie”? And that it’s an outrage that everybody else hasn’t dropped out of the race.

    Apparently you figure that the GOP should ditch the primaries and caucuses, and just let Mark Schmitt appoint it’s nominee. That’s the only thing I can take from this.