Meg Whitman

Now that the campaign’s been over for a while can we all step back and ponder how nutty it was for Meg Whitman to spend $140 million on a failed bid to become Governor of California? That’s a lot of money. And if you spent that kind of money on philanthropic pursuits, you’d be a very powerful and influential person. If you’re determined to exchange personal wealth for prestige and power, bankrolling your own political campaign seems like a very bad way to go about it.

At any rate, my advice to rich businesspeople who want to get into politics would be to aim lower. Self-finance a campaign for Mayor or State Treasurer or something. Try to do a good job. And then parlay your vast wealth into a leg up in your run for a major office. Politics is difficult. People who’ve run successful statewide campaigns in the past have real skills that money can’t easily substitute for.