Why Running For President Is a Great Career Move
The exhausting schedule. The prying press. The tedious scrutiny of every word you utter. A lot of sane people wonder who in their right mind would run for president. But there can be one major upside, besides the thrill of hearing yourself talk: A big career boost, even if you don’t win. Best of all, many presidential candidates are able to cash in on fame that’s largely financed by billionaires and other campaign donors.
It’s no secret that becoming famous can help boost book sales and speaking fees, while creating new types of business opportunities. Sarah Palin has a particular talent for capitalizing on political celebrity. Even though she lost in 2008�and merely ran for vice president she quickly became a multimillionaire thanks to two bestselling books, a TV show, and speaking fees that reportedly eclipsed 0,000 per appearance.
Many of the recent presidential candidates including some who have dropped out have already profited from the free network air time, press coverage and other publicity that comes with running. Nearly all of the Republican candidates have written books, for instance, and most of those have logged sales over the last year or so that were sharply higher than they would have been without the high-profile platform a presidential campaign provides.
Ron Paul, author of End the Fed and several other titles, sold 72,000 books in 2011, according to Neilsen Bookscan, up from 33,000 in 2010. (Bookscan captures about 75 percent of all book sales, so total sales are somewhat higher.)
Herman Cain’s 2011 memoir This Is Herman Cain! sold 33,000 copies last year 10 times the sales of his 2001 book, CEO of Self. And Cain plans to publish a new book in April called 9-9-9 The Revolution, meant to reinvigorate the tax plan that became his signature campaign line.
Newt Gingrich sold about 86,000 books in 2011, according to Bookscan, which was a dropoff from 2010 when Gingrich published two bestsellers. But the former House Speaker still outsold every other presidential candidate except for Barack Obama, whose three titles sold 132,000 copies.
The only prominent author-candidate who didn’t seem to benefit in 2011 was Mitt Romney, whose book No Apology logged sales of just 12,000, down from 96,000 in 2010, the year it was published. Those weak sales may reflect the wan enthusiasm voters in general have shown toward the on-and-off Republican front-runner.
Beyond books sales, running for president is a singular opportunity for once-obscure people to rapidly rise to prominence, as Herman Cain and Michele Bachmann have done. They can then profit from their celebrity through speaking gigs, media contracts and other such offers. Bachmann is proscribed from giving paid speeches and
earning other types of side income while still a sitting member of Congress, but Cain is developing a portfolio of enterprises meant to capitalize on his popularity, including a nonprofit foundation and a “SuperPAC“ that will raise funds to support candidates Cain
supports. The former pizza-chain CEO hasn’t given any paid speeches since withdrawing from the presidential race in December, according to spokesman Mark Block, but before that he reportedly pulled down ,000 per speech�which he could do again.
Candidates who are better-known when they begin a presidential bid have the opportunity to refresh or enhance their reputations. John McCain fit that role in 2008, and Newt Gingrich best exemplifies it in 2012. “Before the race, Newt was famous, but mainly for what he did in the 1990s,” says Robert Shapiro, a senior fellow at Georgetown’s McDonough School of Business who’s been an economic advisor to many Democratic candidates. “Now
he’s famous for what he’s doing now, which gives him much more commercial value.” Gingrich, who reported .1 million in income in 2010, runs a Washington consulting firm, among other things, which ought to benefit from the visibility he’s earned while campaigning�assuming he returns to private life.
While running for president can create a quick burst of celebrity, it doesn’t guarantee that riches will rain down indefinitely. “Beyond the initial six to 12 months after the campaign, it won’t necessarily matter if you’ve run for president,” says Dan Sims, a principal with Worldwide Speakers Group in Alexandria, Va. “What will matter is whether you’ve stayed relevant and passionate on issues people care about.”
Sarah Palin may be discovering the fleeting nature of celebrity. There was initially a bidding war for her TV show, Sarah Palin’s Alaska, but after one season the winning network, TLC, decided not to renew it. And Palin has been unable to find a buyer for a new reality show she proposed, on the snowmobiling exploits of her
Gingrich, by contrast, seems to be particularly good at reinventing himself. Plus, the insider status that’s been something of a liability for him as a candidate would be an asset if he were to hit the paid speaking circuit following the election. “Gingrich has certain insights and knowledge, and certain groups would love to hire him,” says Stacy Tetschner, CEO of the National Speakers Association, which helps train and promote paid speakers. “Insider knowledge is the appeal of any politician.”
Hermain Cain, says Tetschner, still has reasonably strong appeal as a speaker, despite the sexual-harassment allegations that drove him from the campaign. And Rick Santorum’s presidential run has clearly enhanced his marketability to family-focused groups, especially since Santorum has taken time out from the race occasionally to be with his own family. “In terms of a speaking career, I’d say he’s in a can’t-lose position,” says Tetschner.
Since most presidential campaigns end in defeat, however, a candidate’s future prospects depend to some extent on how he or she loses. “For people who suffer humiliating defeats, their value goes down,” says Shapiro. That group may include Rick Perry, whose popularity fell consistently after he entered the presidential race last August, thanks in part to several prominent gaffes.
John Kerry and Michael Dukakis were arguably diminished by presidential campaigns that made them seem like floundering also-rans.
The best way to lose, says Shapiro, is to recognize when you’ve been beaten, bow out with dignity and graciously toss your support to the next best candidate. Jon Huntsman essentially did that when he quit the race in January and endorsed Mitt Romney then, less than a month later, accepted an appointment to the board of Ford Motor Co.
Should Mitt Romney lose, either in the primaries or the general election, it’s not hard to imagine a similarly polite retreat into private life (though Romney, with a personal fortune of 0 million or so, certainly doesn’t need the money from speaking fees or directorships).
The more combative Gingrich, if he loses, may not go as quietly. But Gingrich, who has already built a lucrative post-political career despite a prickly reputation, could end up even better off. “He will have formed a whole new set of business relationships in the course of campaigning that he can probably call on,” says Shapiro. “I’m sure he’ll do fine in business.” It’s a good bet that Gingrich himself is aware of that, too.
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Fact checking the CNN debate in Arizona
Once again we heard a blizzard of dubious statements, including many oldies but goodies. Here is an examination of ten claims, in the order in which they were said.
“Obviously the first thing we need to do is repeal “Obamacare.” That’s one entitlement that we can get rid of. And that’s a couple trillion dollars in spending over the next 10 years.” — Rick Santorum
Santorum is only counting one side of the ledger — and overcounting it at that. Because the health care law raises some taxes and cuts Medicare spending, the Congressional Budget Office calculated that it slightly reduced the deficit in the first 10 years, though much of the law was not fully implemented in the first four years. All bets are off in the next 10 years, however.
“During his [Santorum’s] term in the Senate, spending grew by some 80 percent of the federal government.” — Mitt Romney
“The 12 years I was in the United States Senate, we went from — the debt-to-GDP ratio, which is now over a hundred percent — when I came to the Senate, it was 68 percent of GDP. When I left the Senate, it was 64 percent of GDP. So government as a size of the economy went down when I was in the United States Senate.”
— Rick Santorum
Aren’t statistics fun? Romney pretends that Santorum — one of 100 senators in a bicameral legislature — was responsible for boosting all federal spending while in office.
But Santorum has spending going down as a percentage of the economy in the same period..
Santorum, by placing his statistics in context, has the better argument here. Romney, using raw figures, ignores the impact of inflation and population growth on federal spending.
So, yes, federal spending went up from .516 trillion in 1995, when Santorum entered the Senate, to .729 trillion in 2007, when he left office. That is a gain of 80 percent over 12 years, but when adjusted for inflation it turns into just an increase of 35 percent, according to the White House historical tables.
“Governor Romney raised 0 million in taxes and fees in Massachusetts.” —Rick Santorum
Santorum may be too conservative here with his figures. We’ve noted before that Romney as Massachusetts governor added hundreds of millions of dollars in fees and closed what he called tax loopholes worth .5 billion.
“When I was speaker, as I’m sure he remembers, we balanced the budget for four consecutive years, for the only time in his lifetime.”
— Newt Gingrich
It’s simply not true, no matter how often Gingrich says it. There are three key problems with his claim.
First, he was only speaker for two of those years. He left in January 1999; the budget ran a surplus in the fiscal years of 1998, 1999, 2000 and 2001.
Second, Gingrich opposed two tax-raising budget deals in 1990 and 1993 that were mostly responsible for bringing the budget into balance. The budget was also balanced because, during the Gingrich years, the Democratic White House and Republican Congress were in absolute legislative stalemate, so neither side could implement grand plans to increase spending or cut taxes. (Look what happened with tax cuts — and the surplus —
when a Republican president followed Clinton.)
Third, the gross debt kept rising because the surplus included money earmarked for Social Security. Thus, even during the surplus years, the gross debt (including bonds issued to Social Security and Medicare) rose by 0 billion. Gross debt is the figure that conservatives tend to use. During Gingrich’s time as speaker, the public debt was essentially flat, and the gross debt rose 0 billion.
“I wrote an op-ed in the paper and I said, absolutely not, don’t write a check for billion. These [auto] companies need to go through a managed bankruptcy just like airlines have, just like other industries have. Go through a managed bankruptcy.”
With the Michigan primary coming up, Romney is still paying a political price for the headline on that opinion article: “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” His argument was actually a little more nuanced, but as we have written, he has never explained how the auto companies could have survived a bankruptcy when the credit markets were frozen and there was literally no financing.
Interestingly, Romney ignored the observation made by moderator John King that Bush administration officials at the time believed “nobody would give the auto companies money — and that their choice, they say, at the time was to either give [them] government money or have them liquidate.”
Romney thus is being disingenuous when he claims that the Obama administration approved a bankruptcy plan when “they finally realized I was right.” (He spins that position to the breaking point.)
Romney is also wrong to claim that “the president gave the companies to the United Auto Workers.” Obama certainly allowed the UAW to end up with a better deal than they would have gotten in a traditional bankruptcy but the auto unions do not own the car companies.
“Not once in the 2008 campaign — not once did anybody in the elite media ask why Barack Obama voted in favor of legalizing infanticide. OK? So let’s be clear here. If we’re going to have a debate about who the extremist is on these issues, it is President Obama, who as a state senator voted to protect doctors who killed babies who survived the abortion. It is not the Republicans.”
— Newt Gingrich
GOP vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin publicly raised it during the 2008 campaign. It was untrue then and it is untrue now that Gingrich is pushing it.
“The public health department was prepared to give a waiver to Catholic hospitals about a morning-after abortion pill, and that the governor’s office issued explicit instructions saying that they believed it was impossible under Massachusetts law to give them that waiver.” —Newt Gingrich
This is a gentler version of a claim that both Santorum and Gingrich have made on the campaign trail. We examined this bit of Massachusetts political history. Gingrich’s description here is fairly accurate, in contrast to the campaign rhetoric. Romney certainly shifted with the political winds at the time.
“Our bill [Romneycare] was 70 pages; his bill [Obamacare] is 2,700 pages.” —Mitt Romney
This is a specious claim, devoid of any truth. Mitt is double-
counting pages and adding things that had little to do with health care. The correct comparison is about 145 pages (Romneycare) to 200 pages (Obamacare). Mitt will say anything to become president. During the debate, Gingrich also referenced the health care law’s supposed page count, which really is a meaningless measurement of a law.
“This is a dictator [Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] who said he wants to eliminate Israel from the face of the Earth” — Newt Gingrich
This claim is often asserted but look closely at what Ahmadinejad actually said, there’s surprisingly little evidence, less than one would expect for such a frequent claim by republican politicians.
Through the first four contests in the GOP presidential race, there were more than 20 debates. For the next 14 contests (at least), there will be only one debate. That debate was held Wednesday night in Arizona, and its impact on the GOP presidential race will become clear in the days ahead.
* Ron Paul: Who knew the Texas congressman was such an attack dog? While we’ve seen flashes of it in previous debates, he really went after Rick Santorum on Wednesday and got himself plenty of camera time in the process. The takeaway if you were seeing Paul for the first time: ‘I’m not a politician like these guys. I’m
principled.’ He used Santorum as a counter-balance in that effort, and it worked.
* Mitt Romney: It wasn’t his strongest performance, but he did what he had to do for the here-and-now — knock Santorum down a few pegs. Romney’s performance isn’t likely to re-inspire confidence in his frontrunner status, which is probably more
his long-term concern. But he bought himself time to work on that, at the very least, by stunting Santorum’s momentum.
* Debates: This might have been the last debate of the 2012 GOP presidential race, but even if it was, it’s been a very good year for debates generally. The Republican race has turned several times thanks to the results of these debates, and despite some questions
about the enthusiasm for the GOP canddiates, there was unprecedented enthusiasm for the debates, which drew record TV audiences.
There may be a call for fewer debates four years from now, but if anything, 2012 makes a strong case for more debates.
* Rick Santorum: For a guy who finally gained frontrunner status after a long haul, he didn’t handle it very well on the debate stage. As we noted Wednesday night, many of his counterpunches were difficult to follow and went way too far into the weeds.
“I didn’t follow all of that,” Romney said after Santorum spent a while explaining the earmarking process. Neither did the audience and most voters, which was Santorum’s problem.
* Arlen Specter: This guy didn’t exactly have a great end to his political career, and now his name is again being dragged through the mud in a GOP presidential primary.
It continues to surprise how much vitriol there is for Santorum’s eight-year-old endorsement of Specter in the 2004 Senate race. But it’s a real thing in conservative circles, and Romney was smart to broach it.
* Congress: Want to know more about the earmarking process? Just watch a replay of Wednesday night’s debate. What’s that? You don’t want to know more about earmarks? Of course you don’t. Some of Santorum’s weakest moments came when he tried to justify his actions by pointing to how Congress works.
The problem is that people don’t think Congress works, period. Paul took advantage of this; Santorum did not.
* Arizona: Besides a question or two about immigration, was there any indication that this debate was in Arizona?
Generally, these debates will include a good amount of local flavor. Poor Arizona broke the Republican Party rules by moving its primary into February and got its own debate — only to see the debate focus more on the other state holding its primary the same day as Arizona, Michigan.
Haley Barbour, who is about as close to a Republican Party sage as
they come, says it’s reasonable to think another candidate might yet get in the GOP presidential race.
“If the Republican primary voters continue to split up their votes in such a way that nobody is close to having a majority, then there is a chance that somebody else might get in,” Barbour, the former governor of Mississippi and former RNC chairman, told ABC News.
Barbour said that such a scenario is unlikely, but that it’s increasingly possible. He also said it’s possible that the GOP nominee won’t be known by the time of the GOP convention, but he said that might not be a bad thing.
“It is not accurate to say that a hotly contested convention is necessarily bad,” Barbour said. “I am not saying it is necessarily good, but I don’t think it is accurate to say it is necessarily bad. Let’s just see.”
Meanwhile, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.), who has also broached the idea of an open convention, says Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) is the only GOP candidate who could enter the race late and compete. But he added that Daniels’s wife is against him running for president and would probably prevent it.
It’s not conservative, It’s reactionary
A number of social conservatives, sensing that Rick Santorum has hit a trip wire, are complaining that he’s being skewered for being a social conservative. That’s demonstrably wrong. The nonstop flaps (some of which concern past episodes that now have come to light) over the last couple of weeks have nothing to do with
Santorum’s pro-life views or even his opposition to gay marriage. They have to do with his desire to uproot decades-old trends (e.g. women in the workplace, women in combat, use of contraception) and to use religious terminology and judgments to cast aspersions on his opponents (e.g. “phony theology,” the devil has infiltrated
American institutions). In short, Santorum on social issues is not a conservative but a reactionary, seeking to obliterate the national consensus on a range of issues beyond gay marriage and abortion.
A reactionary is one who seeks to return to a previous state of affairs. It is not a conservative outlook, which in the Burkean sense looks to people as they are, prefers modest over the radical solutions and builds on the existing morals and habits of the society. It is conservative to argue the president should respect and accommodate religious institutions; It is reactionary to go on a quest against contraception and pre-natal testing, both of which the vast majority of Americans utilize or approve of.
Santorum is reactionary in his discomfort with women working outside the home (other than his own working mother, presumably), who he claims were bamboozled by greed or “radical feminists” into seeking fulfillment and equality in the workplace. He is reactionary in declaring that women in the military are fit only to “fly small planes,” but not take on the duties they have been assuming under battlefield conditions for years. He is reactionary in telling women (married ones, even!) that contraception is harmful to them.
Unlike a think tanker or pundit who wants to elucidate the adverse impact of social trends, he is running for president where, through policy and the bully pulpit, he intends to wage war on post-1960 America.
Ronald Reagan didn’t run with such a perspective. Neither did George W. Bush. No Republican nominee ever has. Conservatives in public office have striven to restrain the size and growth of the state as a means of promoting liberty. Santorum wants to instruct us that there’s no right to absolute liberty, and he’ll tell us what sort of liberty is harmful and what is not. This misconceives at a fundamental level what it is we ask politicians to do and what voters want and expect from political leaders.
Santorum, however, tells us that this is precisely what will be at the core of his presidency:
One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”
It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it — and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong — but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
Again, I know most Presidents don’t talk about those things, and maybe people don’t want us to talk about those things, but I think it’s important that you are who you are. I’m not running for preacher. I’m not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues. These how profound impact on the health of our society.
Republicans may win an election fighting against the excesses and failures of the Obama administration while promoting an alternative vision of conservative reform, one rooted in the free market and respect for individual freedom. They will be clobbered running on the reactionary platform on which Santorum is seeking to use the power of the state and of his office to reorder society according to his theology.
The irony of Santorum’s “phony theology” point is that had he been directing his comments to the president’s absurd assertions in the recent prayer breakfast that his tax plan is rooted in scripture, he would have had a point. But Santorum isn’t interested in getting theology out of statecraft; Rather, he’s interested in substituting his own theology. That is politically untenable for most Americans and, in its own way, would be as radical an undertaking as Obama’s efforts to remodel America along the lines of Western European nations.
Franklin Graham is a Silly Clown
Franklin Graham: Obama May Secretly Be A Muslim, Santorum And Gingrich Are Definitely Christian
Rev. Franklin Graham — son of Billy Graham — would not say if President Obama is a Christian during an appearance on MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Tuesday, insisting that “I cannot answer that question for anybody.”
Franklin claimed that the President began attending Church to bolster his political career and is a Muslim under Islamic law. “Islam sees him as a son of Islam because his father was a Muslim, his grandfather was a Muslim, great grandfather was a Mulsim and so under Islamic law, the Muslim world sees Barack Obama as a
Muslim,” Graham said, before explaining that he could not rule out the possibility that Obama may secretly be Muslim. “I can’t say categorically [that Obama is not a Muslim] because Islam has gotten a free pass under Obama,” he said.
The visibly shocked Morning Joe crew pressed Graham further and discovered that he was far more willing to accept the other presidential candidates’ personal testaments. Graham agreed that Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich were both Christians, while raising some concerns about Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith:
Graham has been in and out of drug rehab since his teenage yers and it is rumored that most of visions happen when he is stoned.
Graham had previously questioned whether Obama was born in the United States. Why a respected cable network would book this guest is unknown. Most of Graham’s crazy comments happen on talk radio and Fox News.
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