Kim Kardashian for Congress

From my column today at Forbes.com, this week on Donald Trump and campaign finance reform. An excerpt:

Have you heard the news?  Apparently Donald Trump is running for President.  Of course you would have to be living in a hole not to know that.  Over the last couple of weeks, based just on media stories tracked by Google News, there have been over a thousand news stories a day mentioning Trump’s potential run for the White House.  In fact, there are more than double the number of articles on Trump’s potential run than their are on the actual candidacies of Gary Johnson, Ron Paul, and Tim Pawlenty combined.

Do you like candidacies by crazy populist billionaire reality TV stars?  If so, then by all means, let’s have campaign spending limits.

  • Matthew Brown

    Excellent article.

  • DrTorch

    How did Sarah Palin get lumped in the celebrity crowd? You do know her rise to fame came as governor of Alaska...

  • Arthur Felter

    Money isn't the reason why no one has heard of Johnson. And if Trump didn't spend a dime he'd generate more buzz than Johnson.

    But what if the tables were turned? What if it were Johnson that had all of the media attention and all of the money and not Trump? Would you suggest we need to give yahoos like Trump an "equal" opportunity to stump against Johnson?

    Today are the days of viral, word-of-mouth marketing. Trump creates the buzz and viral marketing with the stupid, inane comments that vomit out of his ugly face. Across the interwebs people are talking about the moronic things he said: "Did you hear what Trump said about Obama's birth certificate?!"

    Limiting the amount of money Trump gets won't stop Trump and it won't help Johnson. For Johnson to get into the game he needs to create buzz (by means other than stupid remarks); he needs to create a flash mob in downtowns across the country; he needs to create a video that goes viral across YouTube and Facebook. And you know what? You can do all of this on a very limited budget.

    People with a lot of money can be beaten.

    @DrTorch: How did Sarah Palin get lumped in the celebrity crowd? Same reason: she says stupid things that gets her mocked at by the media, which generates buzz. Like the saying goes, all publicity is good publicity.

    If you want to stop these morons, then we stop talking and caring about them.

    "Did you hear what Palin said yesterday?" - "No, and I don't care about that dumb broad. On the other hand, did you hear about that flash mob that Johnson created in downtown New York? Let me pull it up on YouTube for you."

  • perlhaqr

    I want Gary Johnson to win in '12 even more than I wanted Ron Paul to win in '08.

  • Bryan

    @Arthur Felter

    I don't think that you read the article in question. Warren is -opposed- to spending/donation limits in political campaigns.

    His argument is basically this: In these times you can get the media exposure nessessary to really get a major political campaign started in 3 ways. You can be the incumbent, you can spend a lot of money, or you can have an existing source of name recognition.

    Of course, having a level of existing name recognition doesn't really show your ability to run a government if you gained that recognition as say, an actor. Or if you're a non-incumbent politician, getting free media exposure often means that you're flamboyant, which again is not nessesarily an asset in someone running a government.

    In any case, Warren's argument is that strict limits on the dollar amounts that can be donated to political campaigns tends to strangle moderate politicians because they don't excite the public enough to garner the donations needed to get off the ground. Restrictions on spending are one of the things forcing the polarization of political debate. Candidates have to get a large number of people to sit up and take notice of their campaign to get that initial flush of support. It's hard to do that if your message is 'Steady as she goes' or 'incremental improvement and reform'. If a group of billionares were to get together and decided to sponsor a politician running for office, would we be any worse off?

  • Sean

    I think you are making much to much of Trump. My favorite line about him is that his skeletons in the closet have baggage. If he runs, he won't last long.

  • Evil Red Scandi

    Well, if Kim Kardashian makes it to Congress, at least we have a whole set of new jokes about politicians and asses...

  • Ted Rado

    Unfortunately, politicians are elected because of their charisma and popular appeal, not their qualifications for the job. If private companies got their leaders via popularity contests rather than working their way up by demonstrating competence, they would all be bankrupt. You don't suppose monumental incompetence in Washington could be a reason for our troubles?

  • http://thepagantemple.blogspot.com/ ThePaganTemple

    Yeah buddy, Gary Johnson, that's the ticket. I think I even have the perfect campaign song for him-Yakkety Sax.

  • Doug

    Why not "Hank Johnson for Congress"? Why not "Maxine Waters for Congress"? Why not "John F. Kerry for Congress"? Oops. Tried those pack of losers already!

    "Serious politicians" have given us a $14T national debt. And that's just a fraction of the debt when you don't count unfunded mandates.

    So remind me again why a legitimate big time business guy who can actually read and understand a corporate balance sheet, who routinely does billion dollar deals that make a profit, why would he be a crazy nominee to be the country's chief executive officer? As opposed to a serious candidate like Barry Obama, who actually thinks we can spend our way to prosperity by building an infinite number of bullet trains, and by covering the state of New Mexico with solar panels we can cut off all oil exploration NOW in this country? In a Trump v Obama race, which candidate would you say deserves the Yakkety Sax theme?

    I'm gonna get trounced on for saying this, but does anyone know if Dr. Ron Paul, a gynecologist by training, knows how to read a corporate balance sheet? Can anyone point to a president in the last century who could? Might there be some correlation between that and our never-ending debt spiral? Why is it so crazy to think that only an asshat who is steeped in Washington DC culture is qualified to be a Club Member?

    (To his credit, there's no doubt that Gary Johnson CAN read a balance sheet.)

    I'm so damned tired of professional politicians denigrating non-politicians for lacking the skills to get us out of this death spiral, and the morons who defend those same politicians.