The Problem With Self Funding

Seeking to avoid a big firestorm, Mitt Romney late last night released his fourth quarter fund raising figures and there is one thing that jumps out at you; the fact that while he raised $9 million dollars, another $18 million came straight out of his own pockets.  And trust me, he’s got more where that came from.

Unfortunately, money really isn’t everything.

There are inherent problems with self funding, one of which a friend of mine explained to me a while ago.  She had said that rich candidates have a tendency to avoid asking for cash, instead relying upon their own funds, but this is a mistake.  Asking for cash is not merely just asking for cash; it’s also connecting with voters, giving them the opportunity to feel like they are part of your campaign, and in the process actually listening to their concerns and discovering their needs.  A candidate who tries to buy an election will often find themselves out of touch with the very people that he or she is trying to earn votes from.

Last night during the Democratic debate, Senator Obama pointed out another problem with a well received quip aimed at Mitt Romney.  When asked about Mitt’s assertion that Democrats will fair worse than Republicans because none of them were CEOs, Obama retorted,  “If you look at what he’s spent, I don’t think he’s gotten a very good return on investment. So I’d like to look at my management style against his and I think they compare fairly well.” 

Being rich doesn’t necessarily make you a good candidate.  Now, to be totally honest, I think Mitt has gotten a bit of a raw shake in his party, a lot of this due to his Mormonism.  Had he been the exact same person except maybe a baptist or a protestant, he would no doubt be fairing far better in the Republican race.

But here’s the clincher, and the real problem with self funding.  When people found out how much you’ve spent out of pocket on a campaign, and you’re still falling away from the frontrunner, things are likely to only get worse.

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