THE SPINE DECEMBER 2, 2007
"I am the only Republican who is not a wholly owned subsidiary of Wall Street," Mike Huckabee rightly tells his audiences, "...I cannot afford to buy voters or even rent them." Dennis Kucinich might also say the same. But he's not going to win any primaries. And Huckabee just might. Republicans don't need their candidates to come off as glamorous. Democrats do.Which is one reason they are so deeply into the money. The Dems have raised more money this time that the Republicans, and that's before George Soros and Co. shells out its cash.Also Hillary has inherited her husband's lists and his knack for getting the really rich, like Denise Rich, to give her parties. It seems to me that when the Clintons say of someone that they're "good friends" or "old friends," it means that they're big contributors. I wonder, in fact, if they have any friends who are not big contributors. It's a tacky life sucking up to billionaires. Mega millionaires still count. But they get less attention.
I hope not. But I am fearful that this life with the wealthy eager to give (and receive) is already becoming Barack Obama's destiny. How else could he have virtually matched the Clintons' prowess? Each of these contenders, according to Edward Luce in Saturday's FT, "A high price to pay," have raised roughly $90 million. And in $2,300 chunks per individual, at most. This is where "bundlers" come in...and the dinners...for lower contributions, the cocktail parties. So why are the Democrats no longer interested in campaign finance reform? Well, they do very well at campaign finance gluttony. In fact, they do better than Republicans. And, believe me, they have their pecuniary interests they want to protect. In taxes on real estate and in hedge fund managerial profits, too.Luce tells us that President Bush gave out 43 embassies to "bundlers," including London, Paris, Delhi, Tokyo and Berlin.I bet President Clinton gave out roughly as many. In fact, I know. Now, I was a big contributor to the various party spitoons in the year 2000. But I was offered nothing. The Clintons knew I was really for Gore.