On Wings Of Eagles

by Jonathan Chait | April 7, 2010

Politico the other day ran a story about the "Young Eagles," a wing of the Republican Party that seems to have been created in order to fulfill every cultural stereotype of the GOP. It's a fundraising program for young, rich Republicans. The problem is, the cost of becoming an Eagle is very low, and the cost of entertaining an Eagle is very high. So the Young Eagles program, much like the Republican Party's economic agenda, has largely devolved into a subsidy for lavish consumption by the rich:

The Young Eagles are “a fun group,” the former member said. “If you’ve got a little insecurity complex, but you’ve got money — what a cool group to hang out with.”...
The former Young Eagle said a discreet program targeting young donors, when well executed, can be a major boon to the RNC but that the program has strayed from a rigid financial cost-benefit analysis to a more free-spending approach driven partly by a desire among Young Eagles leadership to have the RNC organize and foot the bill for lavish events.
According to the Young Eagles brochure, the group offered annual memberships for reduced rates of $2,500 for donors ages 21 through 25, and $5,000 for donors ages 26 through 35.
And once donors qualifiy as Young Eagles, they get access for the whole year to all the group’s events, some of which carry hefty price tags.
Take the group’s October outing to a Monday night National Football League game between the Washington Redskins and the Philadelphia Eagles at FedEx Field in suburban Washington, for which the RNC paid $20,300 to rent a suite, according to the committee’s FEC filings.

This part, in particular, verges on parody:

None of the co-chairmen returned phone calls, nor did the Young Eagles’ Mid-Atlantic regional director, J. Roby Penn IV, a 29-year-old heir to an oil and gas fortune, who describes himself on his website as a “ranked polo player and avid sailor” but who hadn’t given any money to the RNC since 2006.

Come on. An oil and gas heir who sails and plays polo and is named "J. Roby Penn IV"? The fourth? Really? If you saw a character like that in a movie you'd think it was too ham-fisted.

I will leave the final word on the Eagles to Jeffrey "The Dude" Lebowski:

Source URL: http://www.newrepublic.com//blog/jonathan-chait/wings-eagles