Never mind what she said in last night's debate, the real news is what's in her campaign spending report, as enumerated in today's New York Times. The shocking, shocking news is that she spent a lot of money on consultants and the trappings of a White House level travel operation (you'd think she'd have learned that lesson!), which, as the quote below keenly observes, wouldn't be mattering now if she'd had won Iowa.
It’s easy to be critical, but had she won Iowa, none of this would have mattered. It wouldn’t have mattered what she spent because money would have come pouring in,” said Hank Sheinkopf, a Democratic political consultant and a veteran of Mr. Clinton’s successful 1996 re-election bid. “But the fact that she did not has made everyone focus on where the dollars went — and where they think the money should’ve gone.”
As I've written so many times before, in this space, in the Washington Post, the Christian Science Monitor and elsewhere, consultant greed and self interest are harming democracy. It's not the cost of campaigns that's out of control, it's the mark-up.
One of my suggestions to reduce the cost of political campaigns is to make TV time cheaper for campaigns,which would also greatly reduce the profit media consultants make on "the buy," or as we say in New Jersey, "the vig." The only way campaigns have ever known how to reach people is through saturation bombing of the TV airwaves--spot after spot after spot, and when the spots fail--fire the media consultant and start again. I've been surprised that Mandy Grunwald is still around, I guess it's because Hillary likes her and they can't agree on a different strategy.
But it may not matter, nor will future media consultants buy quite so much political time, if what I suspect is happening this year holds up in future campaigns. I think more voters are paying attention to cable news, newspapers and what's being said around the water cooler than are tuning into political spots. Chris Mathews is the new kingmaker.