What You Can Buy for $100k

If you’re Karen Handel you can pay for a chartered private jet to fly Sarah Palin into one of the ritziest hotels in Buckhead where she can then instruct her followers to vote for you.  Your 5 or 6 point lead in the final pre-election poll can then turn into a 2,500 vote loss.

Alternatively, you could have purchased 1,000 GRP’s of television (the average prospective voter would see your advertisement 10 times) in EACH of Macon, Savannah, Albany and Augusta telling Republican primary voters oh I don’t know…that Nathan Deal voted against parental notification as a member of Congress, that in 1989 he voted for the largest tax increase in Georgia history, that he voted over ten times to raise the debt ceiling from about $1 trillion when he got to Congress to over $7 by the time he left.  Take your pick really.  You only have to swing 1,300 votes.

Not having been an accounting major myself, I can only assume they don’t cover this until year 3 or 4.


  1. B Balz says:

    Toward the end of the primary, I drove through Atlanta’ most lovely, NW section and saw nothing but Sotheby Real Estate “Preview’ (Ten penny description of “For Sale”) and Karen Handel signs.

    Virtually no other Atlanta neighborhood had dozens of her signs, but the posh NW had many.

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the old Atlanta establishment for their philanthropy, vision, and overall involvement in community affairs. They can vote for whomever for all I care. But it is telling to see homogeneity among any group.

    Chris, your post is clever (Cost/Benny Analysis) and highlights what I observed about Ms. Handel’s campaign, it seemed to favor the grasstops and not grassroots.

    I do admire the fact that Ms. Handel sparked female GOP activism even higher.

    • macho says:

      Thanks for the valuable anecdotal Atlanta yardsign evidence. I just don’t think that Tyronne Brooks’ district would have too many Handel signs.

      I’d say if you’re looking to see which candidates were supported by the big money types, take a look at the disclosure reports. I believe Deal, Ox and Johnson all had her beat. Typically, when a candidate is outspent, and makes it into a runoff, grassroots is one of the factors.

  2. macho says:

    When you lose by 2,400 votes, you can second guess everything.

    Your premise assumes that bringing Palin into Atlanta, and the earned media that it produced, had no effect on the turnout. Who knows, perhaps if Palin had not come to town, Handel would have lost by 10,000 votes. Could $100,000 have been spent more wisely than on Palin, I don’t honestly know. I’m sure at this point, they are wishing they had allocated $10,000 toward a Gainesville P.I.

  3. Kellie says:

    Monday morning quarterbacks know all the answers. :rolling eyes:

    Karen ran a good campaipn and fell short. We can second guess everything but it is what it is. I think had it not been for Lee Hawkins staying in the 9th district race only to lose for a forth time to Graves, Karen would have easily won.

    Mrs. Handel is a fine lady and I hope to vote for her again one day.

    • Well when Nathan Deal was beating her up for being soft on abortion – how could you possibly not call a Monday Morning Quarterback audible to tell the voters that Deal had cast votes against parental notification and before he switched parties had tons of quotes to the press about abortion being a choice between a woman and her doctor?

      The problem with the Handel campaign was the cult of personality. They thought she was so great and the contrast between Deal was so strong that it was all they had to tell the voters. As far as I can tell, every research decision was made under the guise of how can we contrast this with Karen. I’m sorry, when your opponent has bad votes or bad pieces of information that don’t have anything to do with you – you still have to tell people about it.

      But as I mentioned in an earlier post, Republicans in this state just don’t seem to be too good at opposition research. Witness how many safe Republican seats are won in primaries by people with enormous issues (Graves, both candidates for the Richardson seat) because too many candidates are interesting in proving how much they hate gays or abortion instead of bothering to look into whether their opponent pays their taxes, has ever been to jail, etc.

      That’s just my take on it as a Dem.

      • macho says:

        I think Karen’s problem is she thought she was going to be running against the Ox. No doubt that if you are pro-life, Nathan Deal has done far more against your cause than anything Karen ever did on abortion. Nathan was allowed to “grow”on the issue – “those pro abortion votes were back when he was a Democrat, not that he’s a Republican he’s pro-life.” I agree, Karen should have gone on the offensive on this front, but spent the whole time playing defense on abortion.

        Really, the pro-life community, specifically GA Right to Life, should have longer memories on these issues and hold candidates accountable for their past voting records. Unfortunately, like the AARP is just a tool of the Democrat party, GA Right to Life has become a political tool; fighting against abortions is simply their cover.

        Of course, it’s great to talk about all the things that should have been done when it’s in the context of an unlimited campaign budget.

  4. View from Brookhaven says:

    So there’s part of the reason she was still trolling for donations after losing the runoff…

    • macho says:

      Nathan had $250,000 in debt during the Primary. No doubt, after the runoff, he was “trolling for donations” right alongside Karen; the “trolling” is just a little easier when you’re the nominee.

      • Lady Thinker says:

        Wasn’t it reported around January 2010 that deal borrowed $250,000 against his house? Wonder what that money was really for and why?

  5. USA1 says:

    If you’re Jack Camp then $100K will buy you a hell of a lot of grass, blow, uppers, downers, and happy endings!

  6. saltycracker says:

    This is like driving while looking in the rear view mirror, putting on makeup & blogging……

    • Baker says:

      Bill- Why? B/c of the “gayz”? I think you’d be hard-pressed to find non-social issues on which she was not more or at least as conservative as Deal.
      Wasn’t Handel a Republican under Reagan? What was Deal doing then? Oh yeah, he was a Democrat.

      • USA1 says:

        Don’t bother trying to debate will Bill. I think he took some bad acid and now sees rhinoceroses everywhere. Hence calling everyone RINOs.

        • Bill30097 says:

          USA1 hs no intelligent arguments and this Democrat troll should be ignored so I will. Handel’s problem was allowing the worst Attorney General in US history, Eric Holder, tell her how to screen new voter registrations. He insisted that no effort could be made to screen ot illegal aliens. If she had told him to F*** off like she should have then she would have won going away. She mishandled her job as Secretary of State and paid the price at the polls.

          • Lady Thinker says:

            Where is the site you are using to post your comments so I can check them out? Or is this just your opinion?

            • USA1 says:

              It’s just Bill’s misguided opinion. He’s still mad because his favorite child molester (a.k.a. “the real conservative) did so poorly in the governor’s race.

    • John Konop says:


      It is sad with all the real issues we are facing that it came down to the gay issue. At the end you cannot blame the politicians because they merely reflect the population that votes.

  7. ACCmoderate says:

    Lee Atwater demonstrated that it’s really easy to run a successful campaign down South:

    Atwater: As to the whole Southern strategy that Harry S. Dent, Sr. and others put together in 1968, opposition to the Voting Rights Act would have been a central part of keeping the South. Now [the new Southern Strategy of Ronald Reagan] doesn’t have to do that. All you have to do to keep the South is for Reagan to run in place on the issues he’s campaigned on since 1964 and that’s fiscal conservatism, balancing the budget, cut taxes, you know, the whole cluster.

    Questioner: But the fact is, isn’t it, that Reagan does get to the Wallace voter and to the racist side of the Wallace voter by doing away with legal services, by cutting down on food stamps?

    Atwater: You start out in 1954 by saying, “N*****, n*****, n*****.” By 1968 you can’t say “n*****” — that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states’ rights and all that stuff. You’re getting so abstract now [that] you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I’m not saying that. But I’m saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me — because obviously sitting around saying, “We want to cut this,” is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than “N*****, n*****.”

  8. Three Jack says:

    with $100k as collateral, you can get $2m in loans from any n. ga bank where cagle is on the board

    • Three Jack says:

      “laugh affair” nice freudian slip.

      what’s wrong with being all about the money? do you work for free?

        • Three Jack says:

          sarah palin is a business john. and her business is to make money like i assume you do. nothing wrong with that…not sure why you would hold it against her. every politician is selling an agenda for cash whether it be for personal gain or to fund a campaign (sometimes these paths cross…see raw deal).

          • John Konop says:

            I understand and agree Palin is a business which is first about making sure she makes money for stock holders. That agenda does not really have anything to do what are the policies and or candidates. The agenda is about what drives the bottom line. What I do running my companies is about ROI for stock holders. My political opinions are not the same as what I do when running a business.

            • John Konop says:

              Maurice Atkinson,

              Jessie Jackson, Rush, Glenn Beck, John Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Sarah Palin……are all entertainers doing whatever they can to make a buck. It blows my mind how people follow what they say like it is gospel. I will give John Stewart credit because he makes the point often that he is an entertainer.

              And it seems the more outrageous they are the bigger the ratings and more many they make. For people on either side to follow modern day clowns that are in it for the money to mainly form political opinions is nuts. At times that they do bring up issues but real analysis and solutions I am not using paid clowns as my main source.

              • hannah says:

                People like to be entertained. Also, people like to associate themselves with successful people and bask in their reflected glory without having to step into the klieg lights themselves. Many people are inordinately impressed by someone who has the courage to even speak in public.
                Perhaps that’s a result of much of our educational system being aimed to train up listeners, rather than speakers.

            • John Konop says:

              The best local example is Erick Erickson. I have talked to Erick one on one at PP happy hour events. He comes across very rational smart guy with a grasp of the issues. Yet if you read his blog postings, or watch him on TV…..he comes across like a flame throwing clown screaming for attention.

              BTW it is working for him ie he is getting a lot paid gigs.

          • hannah says:

            Money is inherently worthless. Money is a signifier of value. As such it can also be a signifier of no value because the money itself does not create value. No matter how much money Palin accumulates and spends or hoards, her value as a person does not increase. Now, her value as an icon, a celebrity or a punching bag is something else. Those values will likely wane as her skin wrinkles and her breasts sag. Then the people driven by superficial optics will fixate on a newer icon.

  9. Jane says:

    For a Female candidate to win, she must be above the fray. She must be seen as the victim not the victimizer. If she had been a little more of a Lady than a She Bear, she could have won. Morton Blackwell once told me, do not get anger unless it is on purpose. She seemed to get angry without purpose too often.

    • macho says:

      I agree with you. Both campaigns went negative on each other, although Karen got pegged with all the negativity. You could make the argument that the Deal campaign was more harsh on Karen with all the gay stuff and the abortions. But, Karen seemed to have an angry attitude, while Nathan stuck the dagger in with a gentlemanly smile on his face.

      • bowersville says:

        When Nathan winced on television at “big boy pants” it went too far. Too much of an attitude on display which made all the attitude accusations plausible.

        Notice how Nathan smiled or even chuckled when Barnes made his “I don’t trust your math” statements. Nathan chuckled right along with the audience.

        Yes I know, but perception counts.

  10. Jane says:

    Much of the anti-Handel attacks were done by Ox. Handel got some bad advice in how she responded. By going ballistic against all of her opponents, she made it hard to get the support of her former foes in the run-off.

  11. analogkid says:

    I honestly don’t know how much a charter jet should cost from AK to GA, but it would cost less than $50k to buy out the entire first class cabin of a commercial flight from AK to GA. I’m shocked (shocked I say!) that a champion of fiscal conservatism like Karen Handel would be so wasteful.

    Also, I checked Deal’s disclosure to see how much he dropped on Huckabee, and the only expense that is obviously related to the rally is a $2000 donation to HuckPAC. I guess it pays to actually know your endorsers before they endorse you.

    • ACCmoderate says:

      I don’t think the 100k was just for the plane.

      1) Sarah had to buy some new clothes. She already used McCain campaign cash to buy clothes, what would stop her from including a little shopping spree in her endorsement fee?

      2) Bristol needed dance lessons

      3) The monthly payment to Levi was coming due. That guy doesn’t act like an idiot in front of the media for free.

      4) Todd needed a new computer so he could send petty e-mails out to Joe Miller.

      5) Sarah had to buy up more copies of her book in order to keep it high on the best-seller list.

      You see, the 100k went lots of places… not just to the jet.

  12. hannah says:

    So, the money was not spent wisely. What else is new? When people make it their mission to inveigh against spending, it’s almost certain they’re not good at it. Sort of like being against sex.

    If fiscal conservatives are like deadbeat dads, does that suggest that the deadbeats are dads by happenstance? That would explain why they’re not good at that either. And Deal, the dad of a deadbeat, is an enabler. Nice.

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