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Commentary: What Campaign Money Didn't Buy

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WFAE commentator Gus Succop hspace=5

Of course, a lot of money was spent on last week's election across the political spectrum. What a waste, according to WFAE commentator Gus Succop. In the aftermath of Election Day 2010, many from both parties are in agreement: America has entered a new day. Countless new brooms are about to begin sweeping. But this weary voter struggles in disbelief not by who won and who lost, but by the amount of money that was spent, and especially spent by those who lost. On more than one occasion I have wondered what I would do with a million dollars, and I think I now know why I am not a millionaire. But, for those who have had such experience with money, maybe you can explain to me how one can justify spending so much money without benefitting one single human being, much less yourself. In California, Meg Whitman spent $142 million out of her personal wealth only to go down to defeat. In Connecticut, Linda McMahon spent $47 million of her money to run for the U. S. Senate. She also lost. Other candidates coughed up millions from their personal checking accounts only to see the golden ring of Election Day pass them by. What disappointment those candidates must now know. Just between Meg and Linda, almost $190 million was spent, and not one cent succeeded in getting what they wanted. Talk about what money didn't buy. It may be wishful thinking on my part, but I can't help but wonder what $190 million would have accomplished had such money been spent on some city's school district or some county's food bank or some community's library system. Invested in the growth of a community of young hearts and minds, $190 million would have had a significant impact and return. I guess one could say that such money was an investment in our nation's democracy. But, I'm old-fashioned. I want to see a return on my investment. As a blue-blooded capitalist, I want to see money making money, not the way politicians dream of, but the way Calcutta's Mother Teresa once prayed for and the way Charlotte's Tony Marciano still prays for. What I am hoping for out of Tuesday's election is a new breed of politician. I am hoping that in this land of the free and home of the brave politicians may one day spend their money not smearing opponents, but investing their political war chest in the future of our nation's schools, libraries and those in need. I am hoping to see in my lifetime a politician who will spend himself or herself on those things that will forever remind us that there are some things money can buy and which politicians can't.