He’s been schmoozing, and golfing, and kissing ass.
The Wall Street Journal
has outlined in quite excruciating detail just how the president has actually been spending a significant amount of his time and attention. In nine months he’s done 26 fundraisers. Three a month.
George Bush, by this point in his presidency, had, according to the Journal
, only done six. The Journal
says Obama’s hyper-fundraising is because of McCain-Feingold, which limits soft money contributions. Obama has got to do more to raise more. George Bush raised $48 million with his six fundraisers; Obama, so far, has only raised $21 million.
He’s not just been on his belly, but on his belly for a relative pittance.
It’s important to be clear on just exactly what this operation is: The president of the United States is slavishly stroking rich guys. He’s listening to their dumbass (and dull) opinions, he’s laughing at their lame jokes, he’s cultivating their secret ambitions.
He’s becoming their friend.
It’s a bit of Stockholm syndrome. He’s their prisoner—they can do with him what they will. He is dependent on them for his existence. Nothing less. Ipso facto, he comes, quite naturally, to enjoy them, to appreciate them, to see them, these men with his future in their hands, as really, really charming and brilliant guys.
This is what ruined Bill Clinton. He became an entertainer for the rich. Their buddy.
Part of the appeal of Barack Obama has been that it was hard to imagine him in this role. The skinny black guy would not fit in with these over-stuffed suits. His aloofness would not allow him to suck up. And he had the Internet: With all that money pouring in he didn’t need the fat cats.
But 26 fundraisers later he’s undoubtedly transformed himself into a true crony of the liberal rich. At this rate, he’ll do nearly a 140 in his first term; and he’ll have to double that to match George Bush’s take.
I wonder if you can actually recover from this? If it doesn’t necessarily make you into a desperate man and a profound cynic? At some level, you must either accept the fact that you’re dirty, or, in the interest of denial, come to believe that these guys are really your brothers.
You lose your sense of pride and sense of self when you beg people for money. Not just because they want something and will surely get something for what they give you. But because you have to convince yourself that that’s not the case.
Still, you’re not a whore. Worse: You actually fall in love with these men.
More of Newser founder Michael Wolff's articles and commentary can be found at VanityFair.com, where he writes a regular column. He can be emailed at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also follow him on Twitter: www.twitter.com/NewserColumns.
So it turns out there’s a reason the president hasn’t wrapped up health care or Iraq, figured out Afghanistan, closed Guantanamo, or found anybody a job. He’s been out raising money.