"I'll show you Collateral Damage"

Until Thune's first Senate campaign, I have to admit I'd never heard buttons, notepads, and "the other crap people send you brochures to buy" referred to as collaterals. Collaterals? It just makes me think of the bad Arnold movie (And there was only one, you know).

I've been a political item collector ever since I started working for the GOP. With increases in family size, my collection has shrunk. I once boasted one of the 3 or 4 most complete sets of Inaugural Pins in the state. I was only missing the first 2, and I had a line on that second one. But, have another kid, bills come due, frivolity has got to go. (my comics had already went to pay for my last semester of college).

I did manage to hang on to the prize of my collection, a large silk campaign ribbon from 1892 announcing the Harrison and Morton Club of Deadwood, Dakota. Every once in a while I flirt with selling it. I recently had contacted Heritage Auctions about a value on it, and they thought they could get $1000 or more for it. But, I'd probably never see one again. They said they had one about 9 years ago, and that was the only other one they'd had. I also have a "I am a South Dakotan - McGovern does not speak for me" pin hanging on the frame with it.

I bought the ribbon at a local auction her in Pierre. If I recall, I believe it was Bob Kolbe who was bidding against me for a moment or two on it. He was more interested in the old photos, so he let me get it. This sale also boasted Gutzon Borglum's actual sketchbook for the construction of Mt. Rushmore. I forget who got that - it was pretty neat, but way out of my league. So, the 1892 Ribbon remains as my big prize from my collection. I'll post a pic of it one of these days.

Why the talk on collaterals? Because once you spend money on pins or pencils, it goes in my collection (and Dave Kranz's and Ben Boyett's etc...) One Jan Berkhout Pin in my collection? Heck no, I have 10, 1 for myself, and the rest for trading or eBay. I did manage to snag a Char Haar for Senate pin, and I have a few others running around.

There's pins, pencils, notepads, mugs, bookmarks, window shades, etcetera and so on. Somewhere I have a Paul Laxalt clothes tag to sew into my shoes or underwear. (This is no sh*t) . Why this would be worthwhile, I don't know. Where would you see it? On CSI? "Officer, what's that sewn into the underwear of the victim you just fished out of the river?" "I don't know..... Wait! It's a political advertisement." "Who is it? I've got to go vote for that man."

Running for office? One of my first comments to candidates is "DON'T BUY THAT STUFF". At least, not until you've bought your radio, newspaper, tv, direct mail, etc. And hardly any of them ever listen.

I think it's a compulsion to see your name on someting right away. Buying your media backwards - another post on this someday - does not give you the instant gratification of handing someone your political pin. But after you give it to them, it ends up on the bulletin board, in the drawer, or here on Gordo.

I went to convention with Gordo last year, and that's definately a story worth telling someday. Photo credit on the second photo is me.

So, the moral of my typically long winded tale is, unless you have unlimited funds, and most candidates don't, don't bother with pins and pencils. Every $50 you spend on pins is about 5 cable tv ads that people could use to learn about you in full sound and color, and maybe base a voting decision on. As opposed to the pin that's going to stay in Dave Kranz's collection (or on Gordon Pederson's sweaty vest) forever.


Anonymous said…
PP –
If you link a private e-mail to your page I’ll send you a wonderfully unique and worthless piece of campaign collateral.
PP said…
My e-mail is up there now. (Lemme see! I'm curious to see what it is.)

As much as I tell candidates not to buy the stuff, I love it.

Someday, I'll have to tell the tale how I ended up with about 5000 of the same pin.

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