You run for Senate office. You lose.
You run again, spent a ton of money and lose.
This time you win, but send a picture message of the wrong thing to the wrong person. You're out.
You run, you win, you author a bill, it gets passed, you get re-elected. You're a semi-regular on the Jim Lehrer NewsHour.
You become President. Your retirement fund is flush, your kids are in good schools, you passed laws about gun control and education funding, you fed the poor, and George Clooney (or Clint Eastwood) is on speed dial.