Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Rich Democrats Abandoning Obama

Jane Mayer is puzzled.

In a long and illuminating article she tries to explain why Mitt Romney and the PACs that support him have been raking it in from wealthy Republican donors while President Barack Obama has not been keeping pace with wealthy Democratic donors.

Mayer offers a balanced set of explanations. On one side she blames it on Citizens United and the fact that wealthy Democrats are more principled than rich Republicans.

Of course, she overlooks the fact that the Obama administration happily invested in Solyndra and other green energy boondoggles that were run Obama supporters.. She seems to believe that Republicans are alone in expecting a return on their investment/contributions.

She might also have mentioned how well public sector unions have been compensated for their generous support to Obama.

On the other side, Mayer describes disappointed and dispirited Democratic donors who are  angry because President Obama has ignored and even snubbed them. 

Previous presidents, both Democrat and Republican have understood the importance of cultivating relationships with wealthy donors. Obama prefers the company of celebrities.

Mayer describes a scene:

About forty contributors, many of them from Wall Street, had paid thirty thousand dollars each to dine with him. Some of the invitees were disgruntled supporters who felt unfairly blamed for the country’s economic problems, and they wanted to vent about what they considered Obama’s anti-business tone. But the President did not have enough time to hear them out—or even share a meal—because after only an hour he was scheduled to leave for the second fund-raiser, at the downtown home of Anna Wintour, the editor of Vogue. At the Four Seasons, the President could spend about seven minutes per table, each of which accommodated eight donors. This was fund-raising as speed-dating.

Obama’s behavior was offensive and rude.

If you are asking why Obama cannot get any work done with Congress, perhaps his behavior toward those who unabashedly support him gives us a clue.

Mayer quotes Obama defenders to the effect that he is so principled that he cannot, in the current climate, bring himself to ask anyone for money. And she adds that he might believe that his cause is so righteous and just that people should sign on regardless of how badly he treats them. 

Both of these points make Obama more of an ideologue and less of a leader.

Many of Obama’s wealthiest and most vocal supporters are still funding liberal causes. They are not giving anything to the major Obama Super PAC.

Another major Democratic donor asks, “Where’s Penny Pritzker? Where’s George Soros?” Pritzker, a businesswoman and the billionaire heiress to the Hyatt Hotel fortune, was Obama’s campaign-finance chairperson in 2008. Both Pritzker and Soros have given five thousand dollars to Obama’s official campaign, but neither has given money to Priorities USA. “Whatever it is that has made George Soros and Penny Pritzker not write checks to the Super PAC is a very serious weakness,” the major donor says. Also missing from the Priorities USA roster is the insurance-company mogul Peter Lewis, who donated millions to Democratic efforts in 2004; this year, he is reportedly focussing his giving elsewhere, including on a broad campaign to legalize marijuana. In 2008, David Geffen, the Hollywood music and film producer, made headlines by breaking with the Clintons in favor of supporting Obama. This time around, Geffen has contributed the legal maximum amount to the Obama campaign and the Democratic Party, but he has given nothing to Priorities USA. Two acquaintances of Geffen’s say that he has complained about Obama’s remoteness since becoming President. (Geffen says that he “totally supports this President.”)

Obama is losing money because he has failed to show gratitude. Some believe that thank-you notes and similar gestures are of little consequences. People who succeed in the world know better.

Mayer reports:

“There’s been no thanks for anyone!” the major Democratic donor says. He adds that in 2008 he gave “multiple millions” to groups working to elect Obama. But, he notes, although he has attended various White House functions, and has met Obama on several occasions, “I don’t think they have a clue who I am. I don’t think they even know how much I gave.” He says that he has been introduced twice to Jarrett, “and neither time did she remember who I am.” Instead, he says, “she seemed to think she was blessing me by breathing in the same space.” Despite repeated pitches, he has not yet given money to Priorities USA. In his view, the Obama White House has not followed the fundamental rule of donor maintenance, which he himself has practiced while fund-raising for other causes: “You have to suck up!” With Obama, he says, “I don’t know if it’s a personality thing, an ego thing, or an intellectual thing. I just don’t get it. But people want to be kissed. They want to be thanked.”

Examine the way Obama treated George Soros:

In addition, confidants say that, although he still supports Obama, Soros has been disappointed by him, both politically and personally. Small slights can loom large with wealthy donors. When Soros wanted to meet with Obama in Washington to discuss global economic problems, Obama’s staff failed to respond. Eventually, they arranged not a White House interview but, rather, a low-profile, private meeting in New York, when the President was in town for other business. Soros found this back-door treatment confounding. “He feels hurt,” a Democratic donor says.

“They pissed on him,” a confidant says. “He didn’t want a fucking thing! He didn’t want a state dinner, or a White House party—he just wanted to be taken seriously.”

While Obama’s supporters in the pundit class are up in arms about Niall Ferguson’s critique of their candidate, a man like George Soros is expressing disappointment.

Many of these donors, like Soros, have been disappointed in the Obama administration. The president has discredited the liberal principles that they hold dear.

They refuse to reward him for not being who they imagined him to be.


GM Roper said...

Well said my friend. Obama's future political history is in serious doubt because of his inept handling of supporters and the economy. Heh!

JP said...

Apparently, he's the lead character in The Obama Story, a story written, directed and starring Obama.

Everyone just needs to be happy that they get to experience Obama. There's only so much of him to go around and he's quite in demand.

Women want to marry him. Men want to be him. Everybody loves him.

Dennis said...

The interesting part here as well is that despite Obama's posturing about Wall Street the DOJ under Holder has not prosecuted anyone on Wall Street that I know of. It could be that the revolving door in and out of the administration is loaded with Wall Streeters and their lawyers.
Clinton prosecuted, I believe, a 1000 cases and Bush prosecuted 1300 cases agains't Wall Streeters. It could be that the Wall Street crowd is becoming the new Black to the Democrat party in that they are taken for granted since they now have to depend on government largess.
I ask the same question here as I did about Blacks. NOTE: I use the word Black because not all Blacks are from Africa and if one believes in Plate Tectonics it is quite possible that the spread of people around the globe happened long before there was such a place as Africa.
I wonder when Wall Streeters and their lawyers are going to figure out that just maybe Obama does not have their best interest at heart. They might want to worry that their time "under the bus" is close at hand. The date on Obama's word is nigh.