In a long New Yorker article called Schmooze Or Lose, Jane Mayer describes the role of money in politics in 2012. She opens by explaining that, until recently, Barack Obama hasn't been very good at "donor maintenance." As we might expect, Bill Clinton set the "gold standard" for massaging wealthy contributors.
The attendee [at one of these $30,000 a plate fundraisers] appreciates that such events must get tiresome for Obama. “Each person, at each table, says to the President, ‘Here’s what you have to do . . .’ At the next table, it’s the same.” Even so, he noted that Bill Clinton—who set the gold standard for the art form known as “donor maintenance”—would have presided over the same event with more enthusiasm: “He would have stayed an extra hour.” After that Four Seasons dinner, the attendee adds, “people were a little mad"...
Big donors were particularly offended by Obama’s reluctance to pose with them for photographs at the first White House Christmas and Hanukkah parties. Obama agreed to pose with members of the White House press corps, but not with donors, because, a former adviser says, “he didn’t want to have to stand there for fourteen parties in a row.”
This decision continues to provoke disbelief from some Democratic fund-raisers. “It’s as easy as falling off a log!” one says. “They just want a picture of themselves with the President that they can hang on the bathroom wall, so that their friends can see it when they take a piss.” Another says, “Oh, my God—the pictures, the fucking pictures!”
Mayer's piece is chock-full of exquisite details like these, so I recommend you read the whole thing. I myself was not able to read the whole thing because after I read this text on pages 4-5, I could not bring myself to continue.
As Politico reported recently, a pool of only twenty-one hundred people has given a total of two hundred million dollars to the 2012 campaigns and their Super PACS—fifty-two million dollars more than the combined donations of the two and a half million voters who have given two hundred dollars or less.
[My note: Got it? Only 2,100 people have forked over 200,000,000 bucks.]
In other words, the top .07 per cent of donors are exerting greater influence on the 2012 race than the bottom eighty-six per cent. And this accounts only for publicly disclosed donations: much of the money raised during this election cycle consists of secret gifts to “nonprofit public-welfare” groups that claim to have no overt political agenda...
By August, at least thirty-three American billionaires had each given a quarter of a million dollars, or more, to groups whose aim is to defeat Obama. At this point in the campaign, most of that money is funding attack ads in swing states like Colorado and Virginia. Federal-election reports indicate that twenty-seven of those billionaires have given large donations to Restore Our Future, which was founded by former Romney aides, and to American Crossroads, which was conceived by the Republican political operative Karl Rove. News reports have linked six of the billionaires to nonprofit social-welfare groups that aren’t required to identify contributors. Earlier this month, one of those groups, Americans for Prosperity—which was founded, in part, by the billionaire industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch—purchased a reported twenty-five million dollars in advertising time; the spots are now airing on television stations in eleven swing states. Though Americans for Prosperity is purportedly nonpartisan, its ads attack Obama for presiding over a growing federal deficit...
Meanwhile, only three billionaires have contributed at least a quarter of a million dollars to Priorities USA, the largest pro-Obama Super PAC. George Soros has given money to the Super PAC American Bridge, which produces opposition research for liberal candidates. Warren Buffett, America’s second-richest man, is one of Obama’s most high-profile supporters, but he has declared that he will not support Super PACs, saying, “I don’t want to see democracy go in that direction."
Sometimes I imagine that fools encountering DOTE for the first time are smirking.
What elites is this guy talking about? Whaddya mean we don't live in a democracy? Give me a break!
And then they go over to Politico or some other popular political website and read there.
All I could mutter to myself after I read the first few pages of Mayer's article was "what a fix we're in, we're totally screwed." In George Clooney's unforgettable words from the Coen Brothers' O Brother, Where Art Thou? —
Damn! We're in a tight spot!