Thursday, July 31, 2008

Win A Date With Deeply In Debt Hillary Clinton

There are new reality shows popping up all the time (because there just isn't quite enough crap on TV as it is). But it's when you hear about what sounds like a reality show and it turns out that it's just reality, that's when you really need to start taking a good look at that "reality". Chances are that you're not going to like it very much. I am referring to the fact that you or I or anyone else can (you guessed it) Win A Date With Hillary Clinton! Woot-woot!! Wait. What-what?

I know. I was a little surprised when I heard about it myself. It's like my worst nightmare come true and broadcast and reported by MSNBC. Here's the scoop: Hillary's now defunct campaign is in debt. A lot of debt. Her campaign owed around $22.5 million at the end of May. Somewhere around $10 million to $12 million of that is in personal loans that she made to her campaign. So as far as the vendors and the "little people" go, Hillary's campaign owes somewhere between ten and twelve million bucks. For those of you who are not mathematically inclined, that's a lot of cheese.

Since money hasn't exactly come pouring in to help her pay off this debt, she's adopted a new strategy. Hillary's website sports the photo below along with it's emblazoned caption "Have A Meal With Hillary." Then if you click on her "Blog" link at the top of her page, it takes you to (surprise) her blog and there "she" explains how you, yes YOU, can have dinner with Hillary.

Basically, if you contribute at least five dollars to her campaign, you will be eligible to be chosen at random to have dinner with Hillary. So it's kind of like a lottery. But it's with Hillary. It's a Hillottery. And I think people are supposed to be excited about this, but I'm having a hard time feeling anything but annoyed. Here's why:

Hillary was technically and mathematically eliminated from securing the Democratic party nomination sometime in May. (Technically, I think it was over before that, but "technically" doesn't really count when you're trying to explain that to Hillary.) And yet she kept pumping money into her campaign, mostly through personal loans. That really wasn't the best plan. But even with the money she was pumping in, that didn't stop her campaign from over spending. And while I don't give a fat rat's ass if she gets paid back, I do give a fat rat's ass if the vendors get paid back.

Look, I'll be the first one to admit I don't know a heck of a lot about running a Presidential campaign. But I do know a lot about finance. And spending money that you don't have is rarely a good idea. Especially when you don't immediately have the means to recoup that money and even worse is when you have to rely upon others to help you. Others who you haven't even asked at the time that you're spending all of the money!

And Hillary isn't the only one asking :the people" for help. (Yes, "the people". Those are the same "people" who are paying almost five bucks for a gallon of gasoline. The same "people" whose economy is in the tank at the moment. Yes, those "people". She's asking "them" for money. That doesn't exactly paint me a picture that looks like someone who was a firm grip on the economics that have beset this nation at the moment. No, that looks like someone who has maxed out their credit card and is crossing their fingers as they apply for another one.) Barry has asked "the people" to chip in to help Hillary out. And today, Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico announced that he's going to host two fundraisers in New Mexico on August 17 to help Hillary raise money to pay off her debt.

OK, to me, all of this is the equivalent of holding a bake sale to raise money for freaking HILLARY CLINTON! Hillary and Bill, since leaving the White House eight years ago, have managed to scrape together in earnings $104 MILLION DOLLARS. IN 2006, Bill earned $10.1 MILLION DOLLARS from giving 54 speeches. (That averages out to $187,000 per talk.) And they are asking people to GIVE THEM MONEY. What is going on?!

WHY should someone who has OVERSPENT get bailed out? Without going too far off on a tangent, it's like the mortgage and housing mess. A whole bunch of people bought a whole bunch of houses that they couldn't afford and they used loans that they'd never be able to make the payments on to do it. Now it's caught up to everyone and foreclosures abound. So what should happen? Should the people who spent irresponsibly have to deal with the natural (and logical) consequence of losing their home or should they be able to get bailed out from what is nothing more than the results of their OWN irresponsible (and pretty dumb) actions? Well, if you ask the people who are losing their homes they can't (and never could) afford, you'd think that they were entitled to be bailed out. Why do I get the same feeling from this "Pay Off Hillary's Campaign Debt" cross country crusade? Oh, that's right. Because it's the same.

I am not, nor will I ever, send ANY money or ANYTHING else to someone who earned $104 MILLION dollars over eight years so that they can PAY OFF A DEBT that THEY incurred for FOOLISH reasons! She should have been out of the race for the nomination SO long before she finally and begrudgingly conceded to Barry. And don't get me wrong, I understand how badly she wanted it. And I understand how hard it would be to have to admit to yourself, "Suck it, self. You lost." That would be hard. I get that. I don't get the irresponsible spending from someone who wants to lead this country one day.

And that Barry and Gov. Richardson think that they need to pull their constituents together to help BAIL OUT Hillary? That doesn't bode well at all. So, Barry, if you're elected, is that how you're going to deal with situations where people or corporations or banks make inadvisable decisions and spend money right and left until it's gone and they need more but there isn't any because they spent it all? Are you just going to bail them out as well? Why aren't these people just left alone to be responsible for their own debt? How come being held accountable isn't a freaking option anymore?

Perhaps, if Hillary had bowed out sooner, I'd have more sympathy. But I wouldn't have much more. Her campaign had to know that she was over spending. Do you think that right now, because her campaign debt isn't paid off, that she is stressing out about it? Do you really think that she is missing her $10 million or $12 million dollar "loan" that she made HERSELF? I doubt it. But I don't doubt that the vendors that she owes money to (you know, the "little people") are missing that money. I don't doubt that they would really like to get paid and that they really need to get paid. On top of that, they really DESERVE to get paid. To spend money that you don't have buying services from people who make their living off of those services seems fairly out of touch and really selfish. I don't know if I could vote for someone whose money management procedures went like that. Yeah, that'd be a hard sell.

But if you want to chow down with Hillary (Bill will probably come along too, I'd think. I mean, it could be an intern that wins.), by all means, contribute at least five dollars to her campaign to help pay off the vendors that she's screwing over and you might get that chance. Hey, and if you win, you might want to make sure that you have a way to pay for dinner when it's over. You know, just in case, for some reason, Hillary can't pay the bill.

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