Most TAS readers can easily remember when the first Major League pitcher was paid more than a million dollars for a spring and summer’s efforts. David Price’s excellent new $217 million contract for seven years ensures that even if Price wins 30 for the Sawks (highly unlikely), the cost per game will be more than a million. (Per game!) Pretty rarified air, eh? (The rest of the roster ain’t cheap either.)
But this operatic piece work price didn’t begin with Price. A dramatic early example was the 1980 presidential campaign of former Texas Governor John Connally (now deceased). Connally, who looked as much like a president as anyone in living memory and who had an extensive political résumé, including being wounded in the limo with JFK on that fateful Dallas Friday, raised more money than any of the scrum of candidates seeking the Republican presidential nomination that year. For all this cash, Connelly wound up with exactly one delegate at that year’s nominating convention. Count ’em — one.
This year Jeb! Bush is nearing Connally’s once thought unapproachable cost-per-unit-of-support standard. He may have even surpassed it. After having campaigned actively for more than a year, and despite having spent more than twenty-six million establishment dollars on TV campaign ads, Bush, according to a Quinnipiac poll released this morning, is at five percent. Just two months before the caucusing and voting begins, 95 percent of Republican voters are in no mood to be Bush-wacked a third time, no matter how many times Jeb! appears on the tube.
Just a guess, but I suspect the result would have been about the same had Jeb! spent $26 billion on TV ads.