Saturday, February 24, 2007

It's Never "Only" about Money

In leaving the race for the Democratic nomination for President, former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack explained his decision by saying, "So it is money and only money that is the reason that we are leaving today."

This statement is being quoted widely, in part because it reinforces commonly held notions and policy positions related to the role of money in politics. In allegedly writing a news report on Vilsack's withdrawal, Washington Post staff writer Dan Balz editorialized that Vilsack was "a victim of the prodigious fundraising demands...."

The decision to run for President, or for almost any public office, generally requires a considerable amount of self-confidence, so it is perhaps not surprising that candidates have a difficult time admitting that their failure to raise sufficient money is tied to their inability to convince people that they are a viable candidate. In other words, Vilsack's failure to be a viable candidate did not result from the lack of money; the lack of money resulted from his failure to be a viable candidate.

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