As another mean campaign unfolds, I get this question a lot: "Why would anyone put themselves through the abuse that comes with running for or serving in office?"
Well, for some anyway, I'd say, "It's the money, stupid."
Running for office has become a great way to make a fortune.
You no longer even have to leave office to cash in. A "60 Minutes" expose revealed that Congress has carved out a provision which allows its members to use insider information gathered in their official capacities to buy and sell their own stocks and bonds. Democrats AND Republicans are doing it.
Reforms are promised, but not yet passed.
For other Congress members the answer to the old question "When does life begin?" comes when they DO leave office. Even those driven from office under a cloud can wind up making millions as lobbyists.
Sarah Palin didn't even get to Washington, and became a multi-million dollar industry.
There is no end to the ways money can be made just campaigning. Candidates sometimes pay themselves salaries out of campaign funds. The Washington Post reports that Newt Gingrich charged his own campaign $42,000 to use his personal Rolodex of potential donors.
Critics said Herman Cain wasn't really running for president, just selling books and campaigning for a job on cable TV. Well, his campaign crashed, but it may have been a sound business plan. The New York Times reports that Fox may be interested in hiring him, and quotes a Fox official as saying, "He's interesting."
Well, aren't they all?