Some times, you really have to wonder why politicians don’t learn from the past. This week, Pete Hoekstra did the inexplicable: he declared that he would take public funding in the race for Michigan Governor.

Now Michigan has a 2-1 match. That is, for every dollar he raises, he gets 2 from the taxpayer. In exchange, he gets a cap on total spending. I have several thoughts on this:

First, John McCain tried this. He lost. And he lost for a reason. If you can’t build the grassroots army to fund your campaign, you probably can’t win.

Second, this funding only applies to the primary. He will need to raise huge resources for the general too. This hampers your ability to win the general because you haven’t built your finance organization. And if he uses this in the general, then he could be at a real disadvantage.

Third, Hoekstra was really outspoken about campaign finance. He repeatedly criticized campaign finance bills throughout his career in the House. This displays a certain lack of principle…

Fourth, will struggling Michigan voters — recall that this is the state with the highest unemployment rate in the country — really want their taxes going to welfare for politicians?

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