Clinton Self-Financing

Not only is Hillary Clinton apparently weighing making a loan to her own campaign to try to keep pace with Barack Obama's big fundraising haul, but it seems she's already loaned herself $5 million. Howard Wolfson says:

Late last month Senator Clinton loaned her campaign $5 million.The loan illustrates Sen. Clinton’s commitment to this effort and to ensuring that our campaign has the resources it needs to compete and win across this nation. We have had one of our best fundraising efforts ever on the web today and our Super Tuesday victories will only help in bringing more support for her candidacy.

Now it seems to me that, logically, one problem with self-financing ought to be that it hurts fundraising. The reminder that the Clintons are multi-millionaires would seem to me to make giving them a modest cash donation of $250 or $500 seem like a less attractive proposition. Does it turn you into an Obama donor? Of course not. But maybe you donate that money to the poor, or to a favorite congressional candidate, or you buy yourself something nice. After all, why would you donate money to someone much richer than yourself? Of course, if Clinton wins you give her money to pay back her loan because you're looking for favors from the White House. But from where we're sitting now, but for now, what's the point?

Of course regular people may not look at it that way. I've had more than one person, including people who aren't necessarily Clinton supporters but who aren't Clinton-haters either, tell me they will "feel sorry" for Clinton if she loses. From where I sit, a multimillionaire US Senator has an okay life whether or not she gets elected president. But obviously a lot of rank-and-file Democrats feel a deep, personally connection to the Clinton family in a way that transcends the banal reality that the Clintons are much, much better off than the average American.

[Not, of course, that the Obamas are the wretched of the earth at this point, but they're not as loaded as the Clintons]

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Matthew Yglesias is a former writer and editor at The Atlantic.

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