This morning’s Washington Post had a truly stunning story headlined “Some Obama donors are feeling left out: They lament not getting access to president, other traditional perks.” The article notes that President Obama has not rewarded big time contributors with government jobs. “The numbers pale in comparison to Clinton’s administration – during which coziness with donors was legendary – or to that of George W. Bush, who gave hundreds of jobs and other perks to wealthy supporters over the course of his presidency.” Bush, according to the non-partisan watchdog group Public Citizen, gave 40 percent of his largest campaign “bundlers” jobs in the administration.
A Hollywood consultant named Andy Spahn told the Post, “Under Clinton, we did spend time at the White House. We did spend time in Camp David. We did spend time with the president in Los Angeles. There has been real frustration in the donor community in general. There is so much less of that than I think ever occurred in the past.”
Well, no matter what you think of Obama’s policies, he deserves the highest of praise for avoiding time with and perks for such whiny rich folk. One would have hoped that they raised money for Obama’s campaign because they supported the policies he advocated. But, no. They want sleepovers in the Lincoln bedroom. Those sleepovers were such a great news story for the Clintons! Please. These people are only a smidge different from the horrible party-crashing Salahis: “What do you mean we weren’t invited? Who wouldn’t want us at their party?”
Vanitas vanitorum. If you wonder how the economic titans of Wall Street could be so short-sided that they completely disregarded the long-term health of the nation, and of their own companies, to pursue ridiculously large bonuses for themselves, well, you misunderstand why capitalism, for all of its benefits, invites grotesque behavior. So does private funding of campaigns. I understand why some have principled objections to the idea of public financing of campaigns, but if it rids our politics of whiny rich people, those principled objections better be huge.