Hillary Clinton's campaign has announced that the $26 million she has raked in so far for her presidential effort is "staggering."
But the only thing that staggers me is why anybody would give a dollar to these campaigns.
If the campaigns were on the level and I mean all the campaigns, not just Hillary's the candidates would stand up at their fund-raisers and say:
"Please give me the money that you have worked hard for so I can squander it on huge salaries for my bloated staff, TV commercials that nobody in his right mind would watch, more fund-raisers to raise even more money and private jets so I don't have to stand in security lines with doofusses like you."
You know what would really impress me? And you know what we are never going to hear? A candidate who says: "Gee, I think I have raised enough money to run for president. To be honest, I don't even know how I will spend the millions I already have. So keep your money. Give it to charity. Spend it on health care, education or the environment. In other words, spend it on the things that I pretend to care about."
This mindless amassing of tons of money simply for the purpose of amassing tons of money perfectly symbolizes the presidential campaign so far: a mechanical and joyless process.
Joy? Running for president is supposed to be about joy? Yeah, it is. Because you know what? The presidency is a terrific job. Really. With all the problems in the country and the world, with all the pressures, it is still one of the greatest jobs you can have and, more importantly, one of the greatest things you can do for your country.
So why aren't any of the candidates in either party conveying that?
People want some joy. Go out and talk to them. Sure, they want concrete improvements in their lives but they also want to be inspired. They want to believe in somebody. They want a president who understands them. They want a president who is real and not constructed from polling reports.
They want more than a suction tube Hoovering up money. They want more than a replicant.
And they don't mind a little real joy, a little real emotion along the way.
So how come we don't get any?
Because emotion is risky. Emotion is "out of the box." Emotion is something the staff cannot control. If you are a candidate and you show some real emotion, your message-management team comes to you the next day and says, "Uh, look, we tested emotion last month at a shopping mall in Passaic, N.J., and emotion got 13 percent. 'I'm in it to win it' got 63 percent. Stick to that."
So you don't get emotion. You don't get human beings. You get drones.
And some of the major candidates are beginning to phone it in already. You can see it every day.
I can understand going through the motions when you are burnt out at the end of a long campaign. But some of the candidates seem burnt out now.
And maybe we should forgive them. You know how much time you have to spend raising the kind of money they are raising? You know how many phone calls you have to make? How many butts you have to kiss?
A lot. A real lot.
And they are tired of it. Already. You can hear it in their speeches and see it in their eyes.
Their campaigning has become robotic, dreary and devoid of true emotion.
This is not a personal complaint. Me, I am having a great time. I like the road. Summer camp for reporters, and all that. And it is not even about you. (Enough about you.)
It is about them. It is about the candidates.
One of them is going to end up with a really great job.
So how come none of them is acting like it?