Obama's Day With His Wealthier Supporters, Changes Tune on Public Financing

Bump and Update: ABC's Jake Tapper and Politico report Obama may be opting out of public financing.

Tonight at a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., at the National Museum of Women in the Arts -- at a $2,300-per-person event for 200 people held before a $1,000-per-person reception for 350 people -- Obama previewed his argument to justify this possible future discarding of a principle.

We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful," Obama said.

Is he breaking a pledge?


Original Post

By all accounts, Barack Obama raises a lot of money in small donations. But he also raises big bucks from the wealthy. Here's a photojournalist account of his fundraiser at the Getty Mansion in San Francisco this week -- one of four such events that day.

The photos alone are worth the look -- this one is my favorite for how it so captures San Francisco.

I don't really have a political comment here -- all campaigns need the wealthy donor parties -- but the blogger spent all day capturing the scene and did a very good job of it.

The blogger makes this point:

Obama's campaign slogan is "Change" -- declaring that he alone will change the way things are done in politics.

But what kind of "change" is this? The single most insidious aspect of American politics is that candidates often must pander to and do the bidding of the wealthiest Americans, who have the funds to get the candidate elected. It's so commonplace, we no longer think of it as "corruption," but that's basically what it is. So when Obama spends all day doing nothing but going to a series of private fundraisers populated exclusively by the wealthy, the only "change" I feel are the coins jangling at the bottom of my pocket.

And I don't like hypocrisy.

As I said above, I think all candidates need these wealthy donors. What do you think? Does this show hypocrisy or political reality?

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  • Display: Sort:
    Reality or hypocrisy? (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:02:19 PM EST
    I don't know.  But I do know that this quote is absurd:

    "We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it."

    I don't think those words mean what he thinks they mean.

    (Actually, I do know what he means, which is that lots of little contributers is better than a few big ones.  And therefore, maybe finance reform isn't as necessary.  However, it's ludicrous to call that "public financing".  Again, he should just admit that his views on the issue changed under changing circumstances rather than change the meaning of well-defined terms to fit his new needs.)

    The perception by many..... (none / 0) (#18)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:06:23 PM EST
    ...a perception which is perpetuated by the campaign and the media, is that Obama gets most of his money from the Internet. Some of the Obama supporters I know would be put off by those pictures, but I'm not even going to bother sending them the link...because in the end they'll just end up po'd at me for harshing their buzz.

    I don't see the problem. He is up front (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by MarkL on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:02:37 PM EST
    in his support for the free trade agreement.
    There's no dissembling, and unless you believe that Hillary is incapable of disagreeing with Bill, what's the problem?

    How did he recieve the money? (5.00 / 3) (#40)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:22:56 PM EST
    They've been pretty open about possible conflicts of interest. I know he's prepared to dissolve business relationships if she moves forward etc. They aren't shy about talking about it. He even spoke about donations to his interests being open for scrutiny should she become president. I seriously doubt they've set themselves up for a fall. We'll prob find as much 'evil' as we did in their tax returns  ;)

    How funny.. (5.00 / 2) (#33)
    by Maria Garcia on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:15:34 PM EST
    We have created a parallel public financing system where the American people decide if they want to support a campaign they can get on the Internet and finance it, and they will have as much access and influence over the course and direction of our campaign that has traditionally been reserved for the wealthy and the powerful," Obama said.

    He says this to a group of people who paid $2300 for the privilege of hearing him say it. I'm sure they applauded him heartily.

    jonathan singer and others (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Turkana on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:16:46 PM EST
    ignore the elephant in the room. last i added it up, obama had taken some $33,000,000 from bundlers. this persistent delusion that he's some new kind of politician is just embarrassing.

    Honestly (5.00 / 3) (#44)
    by madamab on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:25:36 PM EST
    there is no way to become President these days without raising huge amounts of money. I just don't fault either Clinton or Obama for doing it, because I hope it will help one of them beat McCain.

    Personally, I think our entire electoral system needs to be completely reformed from top to bottom, including direct elections, a shorter primary season, public financing ONLY and free and equal TeeVee time.

    But then, I'm just a lefty dreamer. ;-)

    I'm with you (5.00 / 1) (#71)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:51:32 PM EST
    In fact, I was under the impression that a true publicly financed only election system was a key progressive goal.  I know Al Franken used to advocate for that nearly every day on his radio show.

    I'll cross that off my list of progressive goals Obama supports.  


    That's one of the reasons (none / 0) (#80)
    by madamab on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:02:05 PM EST
    I absolutely love Al Franken. He is a sensible progressive who knows how to frame his ideas to appeal to the populist instincts in all Americans. I so hope he can defeat Republican hairpiece Norm Coleman this year.

    As for progressive goals Obama supports...I know he would be a lot better than McCain, and he has a decent voting record, but he seems like a typical conservative Democrat to me; and actually, to the right of HRC on social issues.

    Sigh. It's hard being a lefty in America, I tells ya. ;-)


    This is one pledge Obama is absolved of (5.00 / 3) (#45)
    by pluege on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:25:54 PM EST
    if he breaks it.

    principle has no place in the same discussion or activity if republicans are involved. If Obama gets the nod and can overwhelm mccain with bucks he better do it. No amount of money will be able to make up for the free media ride mccain will receive while US corporate media turns Obama into the devil incarnate.

    Agreed (5.00 / 2) (#52)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:30:15 PM EST
    Seriously this is one I have no issue with. If he get the nomination he darn better use EVERY TOOL and everything he is throwing at Sen Clinton at the republicans.

    x (none / 0) (#90)
    by CognitiveDissonance on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:48:44 PM EST
    Kinda like the one he's been getting this whole primary, you mean?

    McCain will harp (5.00 / 3) (#51)
    by bjorn on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:29:31 PM EST
    on this issue over and over and say Obama broke his pledge.  But from what I can tell so did McCain so I am not sure it has any long term effect.  

    Exactly. (none / 0) (#69)
    by madamab on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:47:59 PM EST
    That's not a fight McCain can win.

    Maybe (none / 0) (#73)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:54:07 PM EST
    But, remember, we also have St. McCain Rules where everything he does is "straight talk" and perfect.  The Washington Post slammed Obama for hinting he might not adhere to the agreement - that was two months ago before the ridiculous "private money is public money if I get it on the 'net" argument.

    lol!~ well, I guess Clinton is using (none / 0) (#75)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:56:26 PM EST
    'public financing' also  ;)

    The small donors.... (5.00 / 3) (#58)
    by ineedalife on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:36:20 PM EST
    may have "influence over the course and direction of our campaign" but I bet the wealthy donors will have influence over the course and direction of his administration. Big difference there.

    A little donor can't pick up the phone and get through to a president but someone that hosts million dollar fundraisers like Getty can.

    This of course is the key point (5.00 / 1) (#72)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:53:17 PM EST
    The point is that Obama (none / 0) (#79)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:01:19 PM EST
    has raised more from small donors than the others....That would mean he is less influenced by big donors....

    One looking for absolutes will be disappointed....

    Casey said he was surprised to learn how few fundraisers Obama has done....Until recently, Obama had only done one fundraiser since early February.

    Obama's level of fundraising from small donors is very unusual....


    Agree it seems unusual (none / 0) (#82)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:08:21 PM EST
    but it's all rumor to me and I'd like to know more. Do you know where someone has written about this, crunched the numbers?

    Here is a report on the (none / 0) (#93)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:57:14 PM EST
    2007 4th quarter numbers.  They have not crunched the 2008 numbers yet.


    Bottom line, in Q4 2008 47% of his money came from donations of $200 or less, 54% from over $1000


    Internet fundraising (5.00 / 2) (#59)
    by Manuel on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:36:48 PM EST
    One thing that worries me about fundraising on the Web is the potential for abuse.  Does anyone know what sourt of controls and audits are in place to prevent it?  For exapmple, it seems entirely possible for an ndividual to provide money to a group of people to contribute in violation of the $2300 limit.  The public financing system seems preferable.

    It strikes me as duplicitous... (5.00 / 1) (#60)
    by Exeter on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:37:18 PM EST
    Reverend Wright built up a church out of next to nothing into a mega-church of thousands of members largely out of stoking animosity between Blacks and wealthy whites. And of course, Obama (even though he was raised by wealthy whites and clearly does not share these views) was more than willing to quietly endorse Wright for twenty years, in exchange for the support of his Senate district's largest congregation and most influental pastor.

    Running on self-limited $1 contributions (5.00 / 1) (#64)
    by Ben Masel on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:43:13 PM EST
    hitting up the big money folks for a single was great fun, for all involved.

    In 2007 (5.00 / 1) (#96)
    by facta non verba on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:04:18 PM EST
    I went to see all of the Democratic Presidential candidates with two exceptions: Obama and Richardson. Richardson just did not excite me enough to rearrange my travel schedul to go see and hear him. The others I did see either at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco or at private fund raisers. Most of the candidates the fee, it's called a donation but it is a fee, let's not kid ourselves, was rather reasonable. On the low end of the scale were Gravel, Dodd and Kucinich each a $100 or less. Biden and Edwards were $250 though I gave more to Edwards voluntarily and Clinton was $500 for a dinner that primarily had a gay audience. Obama a was cool grand. I passed.

    Couple of comments... (5.00 / 1) (#99)
    by OrangeFur on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:19:14 PM EST
    (1) As beautiful as San Francisco is, today's not a good day to visit. There's a bit of a kerfuffle over a torch or something.

    (2) The following statements are true of many many things:

    (1) Most of the donors are small donors.
    (2) Most of the money comes from big donors.

    It's true of income (most people earn less than $100,000, but those who earn that much earn a huge fraction of the total income), taypayers, lottery ticket buyers, etc.

    Obama may have a million donors, but without the folks chipping in $200 or more, he'd have been out of the contest a long time ago. He's also crucially dependent on big donors. This myth about a campaign financed by $10 donors is just that--a myth perpetuated by a mathematically-challenged media.

    Did he pledge to take public financing? You know, the system created by $3 contributions on our tax forms? Yes, he did. He certainly meant to convey that impression, and that's what the media reported at the time.

    Should he break that pledge now? I'm a fan of keeping one's promises. If you only have principles when they benefit you, and renounce them when they benefit someone else, then you don't have principles at all.

    Hillary Clinton is at least consistent. Her attitude is clearly that it's more important to win and then do good things, and if that means private financing and taking contributions from lobbyists, then so be it. Barack Obama claims to be better than that, but when it comes down to it, he's just the same. Or worse, because he pretends to be different when he isn't.

    Hillary is trying to break her promise (none / 0) (#104)
    by maritza on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 03:27:42 PM EST
    about not letting the Florida and Michigan votes count so I don't know what you are talking about.

    How exactly did she promise that? (5.00 / 1) (#107)
    by OrangeFur on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 04:05:56 PM EST
    She doesn't control what happens to those two states. And in terms of decisions that move us towards a more open, democratic system of elections, excluding Michigan and Florida would not be one of them.

    It's completely within Obama's control whether he follows through with public financing or not. Just keep your promise or don't. Just don't break it while telling me you're keeping it.


    apples, meet oranges (5.00 / 1) (#108)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 04:56:23 PM EST
    We are the Dem ATM (none / 0) (#1)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:52:01 AM EST
    Hillary was here the same week.  She did offer a cheaper breakfast that I went to with a couple of friends.  

    Getty pisses me off, he never gives big money to the social causes, just politicians and the arts.  I guess his money does not count as oil money?  

    Whaa (none / 0) (#15)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:03:40 PM EST
    he never gives big money to the social causes, just politicians and the arts.
    Aren't the arts social causes? Besides the arts are not the only social causes that benefit from the J Paul Getty Trust.

    Sorry that is in UK (none / 0) (#22)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:09:00 PM EST
    Not in SF  

    OK (none / 0) (#77)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:00:37 PM EST
    So are you an ethnocentric philistine who sees art as frivolous, and charity unworthy unless it serves your community?  Or is it that  anyone who supports Obama must be discredited to score cheap political points?  

    My guess is the later.


    Come on, play nice (none / 0) (#81)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:05:35 PM EST
    I'm not sure what would be "ethnocentric" about complaining that the Gettys spend their money on art and politics. Personally, I think people should spend their money on whatever is important to them. And when they die, we should tax the hell out of them so as to spend money on what society more generaly believes is important. But there's no need to call names here.

    Not Name Calling (none / 0) (#83)
    by squeaky on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:18:54 PM EST
    Ethnocentric because charity by the trust in the UK doesn't count because it is not in SF.

    It was a question. I see it as the typical knee jerk by some political supporters who must discredit anyone who supports their adversary.

    If the Getty is doing something bad it is more interesting to criticize them for what they are doing. Slamming them because they support Obama is poor, IMO.


    It's also very SF (none / 0) (#85)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:22:16 PM EST
    or my take on SF  ;) It's a 'cultural' thing. I ended up at a few events because of my work and also my LL, who was very involved in cultural charities. I also think of it as an 'old money' thing, but that was just my view 20yrs ago  :)

    Philistine? (none / 0) (#91)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:50:41 PM EST
    Get a grip.  Philanthropy has two sides: funding just for excellence and giving to the ones our society is not defending and or caring for.    People should do both and not to the exclusion of the other as long as we have inequalities in our tax system.  In SF some of the philanthropists give a much smaller share to the social causes.  

    Gordon Getty is a Republican who supports also dems.  I don't care cause he supported Newsom and he is ok by me.  


    First they get elected (none / 0) (#2)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:52:22 AM EST
    under the system as it currently exists. Then they institute reforms, if they can.

    Ah (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:56:27 AM EST
    So it begins. First its under the current system, then change if they can, then "well, the system is working just fine, it got me elected didn't it."

    Could it be that Sen Obama is a typical politician after all? Could change be "more of the same."

    Nah. I am being cynical. :)


    Syaing somebody is a typical politician (none / 0) (#9)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:59:56 AM EST
    is kind of meaningless. What to your mind is a typical politician?

    Better question (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:12:38 PM EST
    Sen Obama says he is not a typical politician. And his supporters keep saying he is "different."

    Care to clarify what that means? So far he is acting like all other politicians. Mind you, I personally don't have an issue with that. I have an issue with hypocrisy.

    So how is he different? What is the change I can believe in?


    What do you mean when you say (none / 0) (#34)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:16:02 PM EST
    "typical politician?" You used the term. Would you define what it means to you please?

    Sure (5.00 / 1) (#49)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:28:43 PM EST
    Like everyone else, using same tactics, "embellishing," misrepresenting opponents positions, raising a lot of money from interested parties, being very aware of powerful blocks.

    Now can you please answer my clearly stated question? Because you see, Sen Obama seems pretty much like every other politician to me. The whole "change and different" is the same old political packaging and marketing as everyone else, it just says its not.


    A politician is not merely the sum total (none / 0) (#88)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:40:52 PM EST
    of campaign tactics. But on the whole I think Obama's run a cleaner campaign than Clinton. Clinton has been too willing to stoop to the use of fear, i.e., the 3 am phone call, the CIC threshold. Likewise, Clinton has advocated the principle that McCain is more qualified to hold the office than Obama.

    Those are talking points (5.00 / 1) (#89)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:47:49 PM EST
    I was asking for real analysis. How is he or how will he be different? For everyone of these I can point one of his campaign tactics that are the same (she'll do anything to win, Clinton was a terrible president, her health care will harm babies, she is a serial liar).

    How is he different and what is the "change?"


    He is different (none / 0) (#97)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:10:07 PM EST
    by his unwillingness to use fear as a campaign tool. The past 7 years of the Bush administration have been about the use of fear to justify the virtual abolition of privacy and the spending of enormous sums of money on cost-plus contracts. Clinton is clearly comfortable using that same fear as a campaign tactic.

    If you can't see the enormous difference between the message Obama is conveying -- hope for a better future for all of us -- against the message Clinton is conveying -- I'm the best one to protect us against the bogeymen of the world -- I'm afraid I can't provide any more persuasive explanation for you.


    I see the same (5.00 / 2) (#103)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 03:04:47 PM EST
    Hope for future message from Sen Clinton. And I see the same fear message from Sen Obama:

    Health Care


    You don't think these are appealing to people's fears? You just want to look at part of the facts. Go ahead.

    And BTW it is intellectually very dishonest to talk about President Bush then somehow pivot that to Sen Clinton.


    Wow rating my response down (none / 0) (#106)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 03:48:01 PM EST
    Rather than answering. Thanks for the stimulating discussion.

    Never mind.


    Typical Politician is defined here as (none / 0) (#55)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:35:15 PM EST
    What Obama claims not to be.

    Marvin (none / 0) (#42)
    by cmugirl on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:23:50 PM EST
    YOU are the change you can believe in! [/snark]

    I think you are dead on - when he says he's "different" and "a new kind of politician" and then he turns out not to be - that's called H-Y-P-O-C-R-A-S-Y.


    OOPS (none / 0) (#43)
    by cmugirl on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:25:17 PM EST
    It would help if I spelled hypocrisy correctly!  :)

    You were so mad (none / 0) (#50)
    by Marvin42 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:29:05 PM EST
    the spelling was just not gonna work out! :)

    Well, if you added another "s" to (none / 0) (#61)
    by tree on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:37:53 PM EST
    your first spelling, it might have worked on one level.

    You know, putting the a** in Hypocr-a**-y.


    That's a question for Obama (none / 0) (#17)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:05:22 PM EST
    As he is the one railing against "Washington" and "politics as usual".  

    It's a question for anybody who uses the term (none / 0) (#32)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:14:16 PM EST
    "typical politician" I would think. I don't know how much enlightenment I'd get about Marvin's use of the term by asking Obama what he means by it.

    First they get elected, (5.00 / 2) (#8)
    by tree on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:59:24 AM EST
    and then they need to get re-elected. Reforms mostly don't happen, because there are plenty with money to keep it from happening. If you can't put together a winning strategy without the big money when you first get elected, then the chances of reforming the system are miniscule.

    Reelection (none / 0) (#11)
    by digdugboy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:02:01 PM EST
    It's amazing they get any work done at all with the constant campaigning and fundraising for the enxt election cycle.

    The Tech millionaires (none / 0) (#4)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:57:02 AM EST
    are all libertarians.  They made their money from the state, California, that has great universities that provide staff and research.  They get the benefits of the infrastructure and yet, they think they did it all alone and no one should get any help.  They don't like the war cause it makes people not like them in the world.  They rarely give to local charities, only to things that benefit them: arts, museums etc.  

    Easy Stellaaa... (none / 0) (#111)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 05:59:18 PM EST
    there are working class four figure-aires that are libertarians too.

    Everybody deserves some help when they're down on their luck, but I'm not sold that people should be forced to help through a crooked middle-man by threat of arrest by said middle-man:)


    So under this bloggers (none / 0) (#6)
    by Jgarza on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:58:01 AM EST
    definition, if Obama has any wealthy donors he is a hypocrite?  Sounds like a willful misinterpretation of Obama's message.

    On the other hand those pics are awesome.  I have found it can be sometimes difficult to capture the beauty of SF in pictures, but these are pretty good.

    Can't speak for that blogger (5.00 / 3) (#25)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:09:31 PM EST
    but Clinton is routinely excoriated on other blogs as being in the pocket of corporate America because she takes large donations from people who work in the corporate world. The point of the blogger (I think) is that they all do it. I'd say it's more of a comment on the self-rightusness of some Obama supporters than a comment on Obama's campaign itself.

    I'm not as concerned about where the money comes from (as long as we know where it comes from). As the one-time mayor of my former beloved hometown of SF once said about lobbyists and politics, "If you can't take the lobbyists' money, eat their food, drink their booze, sleep with their women, and then vote against them, you don't belong here."


    Which mayor? n/t (none / 0) (#30)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:13:39 PM EST
    Downtown Willie Brown (5.00 / 1) (#38)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:19:36 PM EST
    Ah, the Wilkes Bashford suit man (none / 0) (#47)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:26:45 PM EST
    Funny how a store that I haven't thought of in about 20yrs pops into my head when I hear his name  ;)

    It was that image (none / 0) (#48)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:28:17 PM EST
    of corruption that caused California to adopt term limits--which were designed expressly to oust Willie Brown....

    He hung on for awhile longer, even cajoling (or whatever) a Republican legislator to vote for him as Speaker.


    Eh (none / 0) (#53)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:32:22 PM EST
    Politics is all about cajoling, isn't it?

    Term limits have their problems too. I liked Willie. He wasn't the best mayor in the world, but I liked him.


    As LBJ said (none / 0) (#63)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:40:47 PM EST
    He may be an $O__ but he was our $O__.  What do we have now with term limits, still corruption but without the knowledge of how to pass laws and everything becomes an initiative.  

    I voted in the Primary here (none / 0) (#65)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:43:23 PM EST
    to scale back term limits.....If there had been less corruption, we wouldn't have had to deal with the "cure."

    Move to DC! (none / 0) (#78)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:00:40 PM EST
    Voting in the primary was so easy: one box to check. I hated all those initiatives in CA.

    And I agree, the lobbyists really run roughshod when knowledgeable legislators get term limited.


    the pictures did it for me (none / 0) (#14)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:02:47 PM EST
    They really are terrific.

    They are great pics (none / 0) (#23)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:09:13 PM EST
    made me remember those beautiful SF days of perfect weather. And the one shot reminds me of cresting a hill and suddenly have a fantastic view. That was one of the things I never became jaded about living there :)

    Political reality (none / 0) (#7)
    by Claw on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 11:58:09 AM EST
    For sure.  Also, politically, I don't think this is good battleground for Clinton against Obama (I realize the blogger doesn't speak for her).  As for change, yes it would be a change to have an AA in the white house, and, yes, Obama might bring some real change to Washington.  The idea of total change that a few Obama supporters seem to really believe in is just campaign/stump-speech talk.  
    I'm hoping for a good, honest President Obama.    

    Funny (none / 0) (#10)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:00:06 PM EST
    How many ex  Clinton staffers he has as advisers.  Not much change.  

    So (none / 0) (#16)
    by Claw on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:04:39 PM EST
    You're agreeing with me that Obama's change, if we get to see it, will be moderate?  Or you're saying that having smart dems as advisors is somehow bad?  Plenty of people worked with the Clintons.  Point?

    No change (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:07:44 PM EST
    Actually a bit more to the right than Clintons, not the change I want.  

    Right (none / 0) (#102)
    by Kathy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:55:42 PM EST
    All the advisors Bill kept under his thumb are looking for a chance to shine.

    We should remember that there was a reason Bill kept them under his thumb.

    We should also remember that if there was not such a thing as term limits, Bill would have lasted through a third and maybe fourth presidency.


    Looks like a nice day (none / 0) (#21)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:08:56 PM EST
    in the City.

    $2,300 was the entrance fee.  That is what it is.

    I was glad to see the author say that the Bay Area is going huge for Obama....

    The Bay Area can afford to. n/t (none / 0) (#27)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:11:52 PM EST
    Lots of creative people out there too. :-) (none / 0) (#29)
    by Democratic Cat on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:12:59 PM EST
    I used to be one . . . (none / 0) (#36)
    by nycstray on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:17:15 PM EST
    I must say, I had a heck of a good time going to art school in SF! lol!~ those were def some creative years  ;)

    hold on (none / 0) (#37)
    by Stellaaa on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:18:14 PM EST
    not all of us...

    The blogger seems (none / 0) (#41)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:23:24 PM EST
    fascinated with running valets--they are usually all over the place....The trick is to make sure not to run them over when driving...

    The photos of the were interesting--the captions a little mean....The blogger is right about the rich guy in jeans....There was also the guy in the San Francisco "uniform":  Blue Blazer, Khaki pants, no tie.....

    Nice ladies lampooned....And how much money did the Clintons make last year...


    Money helps to soothe the pain (none / 0) (#54)
    by Fabian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:33:20 PM EST
    of the injustly lampooned!

    It is what it is..... (none / 0) (#95)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:03:59 PM EST
    should we call it oligarchy or facism?

    No one without health care there (none / 0) (#113)
    by splashy on Fri Apr 11, 2008 at 03:09:49 AM EST
    Like so many of us. They just don't care if others get health care or not if they support Obama.

    Great pics, though!


    Those are great shots (none / 0) (#24)
    by blogtopus on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:09:23 PM EST
    Makes me want to drive up today and see the town. Thanks J!

    Ahem, you mean (none / 0) (#67)
    by MKS on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:46:12 PM EST
    "the City."

    "photojournalist" seems too nice... (none / 0) (#39)
    by badguppy on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:21:01 PM EST
    a word for whomever runs this site. If you look elsewhere on the site they have some pretty nasty stuff.

    the blogger chronicles (none / 0) (#46)
    by Jeralyn on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:26:17 PM EST
    protests in San Francisco -- pretty amazing photos -- check out the "hall of shame" collection..

    Here's his main page. You may not agree with what he posts, but he does appear to be a photojournalist.


    Obama's Public Financing Quandary Really Isn't One (none / 0) (#57)
    by TalkRight on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:36:02 PM EST
    Through Marc Ambinder's crooked prism
    Will be face political consequences? Probably not. Campaign finance is not, and has rarely, if ever, been a non-transient voting issue. Rarely do these sorts of disputes escape the elite bubble and drop down.

    And if they do, McCain's argument will be technical -- you broke a promise; Obama's will be operational -- I am participating in a public financing system, one that is inherently more democratic than yours and inherently more healthy for democracy.

    will he pen the same for Obama's FL/MI (5.00 / 1) (#62)
    by TalkRight on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:39:34 PM EST

    Of course Obama should break (none / 0) (#66)
    by maritza on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:44:27 PM EST
    that supposed "pledge".  He is essentially taking public financing any ways with money only from individuals not lobbyest or corporations.

    He needs to be in to win it!!!

    Argh! (5.00 / 1) (#70)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:50:09 PM EST
    I can't believe this re-definition is working!  Taking money from private individuals IS NOT public financing.  Public financing is using taxpayer money.  By Obama's argument a private school is publicly financed because - heh! - those parents are members of the public.  It's not the same!

    Great analogy (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by ruffian on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:59:57 PM EST
    The contortions Obama and his people are coming up with are amazing.

    I'm not saying he is wrong to break that pledge.  I want him to win if he is the nominee, and he needs all the money he can get to do that.  But to re-define the term 'public financing' to suit his needs is just dishonest.

    Also, as I stated above, he is throwing away yet another core progressive goal - true public financing of elections.


    Obama has a lobbyist Network (5.00 / 2) (#74)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:55:08 PM EST
    And uses it.



    Obama's K Street project (none / 0) (#86)
    by magisterludi on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:28:48 PM EST
    Thanks for the link.

    I noted that Clinton is up front on lobbyists' money and Obama is "stealthy". Why am I not surprised?


    Incorrect (none / 0) (#68)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 12:47:13 PM EST
    He wasn't given money to "promote" the issue.  He was paid for speeches by a group that is for the FTA and Clinton agrees with them.  However, he was not a lobbyist or anything of the sort.

    800 Large.... (none / 0) (#92)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:55:43 PM EST
    you're buying more than a speech....more likely they are buying influence and Bill threw in a  free speech.  

    Not unique to the Clintons mind you...those plates at Obama's soiree sure ain't worth 23 hundo....you're buying influenece and getting the plate free.

    A cop-spot I used to frequent ran the same racket, you'd spend $5.25 for a bag of chips and get a free nickel bag.


    Any Dem worth his or her salt (none / 0) (#84)
    by maritza on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:21:26 PM EST
    wants Obama to BREAK that supposed pledge if indeed he is the nominee particularly since he is getting money from individuals not corporations/lobby firms.

    Dems WANT to win in the Fall and that will take a heck of a lot of money.

    Fallacy (5.00 / 2) (#87)
    by ColumbiaDuck on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 01:35:49 PM EST
    First of all, it is illegal for anyone to get money from a corporation and has been for about a hundred years.  The fact that Obama is touting this as if it were some sort of accomplishment or principle is silly.

    Second, I fail to see the distinction between not getting money from a lobbyist for a corporation and getting money from literally dozens of that company's employees that aren't registered lobbyists.  It's a distinction without a difference.  I mean, if it is so bad to take money from the Microsoft lobbyist, isn't it worse to take money from Bill Gates?  

    I have no problem breaking the pledge which I felt was foolish to begin with, but I am getting sick of Obama's 'holier than thou' attitude on this stuff - especially when we see that he has no problem with bundlers or fat cat receptions.  


    maritza, I disagree on your assertions (5.00 / 1) (#100)
    by lookoverthere on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:22:40 PM EST
    I believe Sen. Obama doesn't accept money from Federal lobbyists. Federal lobbyists are people registered as such. Sen. Obama does accept donations from their spouses, business partners (even those from lobbying firms who are not registered as lobbyists), clients, state lobbyists, and so on

    For example:

    Spouses of lobbyists also can give donations. One example: Ben Barnes, a federally registered lobbyist, has given contributions to Hillary Clinton, Bill Richardson, Joe Biden and Chris Dodd, but not to Obama or John Edwards.

    However, Barnes' wife, Melanie Barnes, has given to Obama and Edwards on the same dates and in the same amounts as her husband's contributions to the other candidates. She lists her occupation as homemaker.

    Sen. Obama also has K-Street folks helping him out. From 3/38/07:

    Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.) is benefiting from the support of well-connected Washington lobbyists even though he has prohibited his campaign from accepting contributions from them and political action committees (PACs).

    While Obama has decried the influence of special interests in Washington, the reality is that many of the most talented and experienced political operatives in his party are lobbyists, and he needs their help.

    Other K Street players working to build momentum for Obama are former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), a consultant for Alston & Bird; Broderick Johnson, president of Bryan Cave Strategies LLC; Mark Keam, the lead Democratic lobbyist at Verizon; Jimmy Williams, vice president of government affairs for the Wine & Spirits Wholesalers of America; Thomas Walls, vice president of federal public affairs at McGuireWoods Consulting; and Francis Grab, senior manager at Washington Council Ernst & Young...

    Some of Obama's K Street boosters keep their support a secret to uphold Obama's image as a Washington outsider untainted by D.C.'s influence business...

    Two lobbyists who are supporting another candidate and spoke to The Hill on condition of anonymity said that Obama's campaign contacted them asking to be put in touch with their networks of business clients and acquaintances.

    One of the lobbyists, who supports Clinton, said that Shomik Dutta, a fundraiser for Obama's campaign, called to ask if the lobbyist's wife would be interested in making a political contribution.

    "I was quite taken aback," he said. "He was very direct in saying that you're a lobbyist and we don't want contributions from lobbyists. But your wife can contribute and we like your network."

    Sen. Obama also pledged not to acccept PAC money. From an article from last August:

    SFGate has an article on how Sen. Obama's pledge not to accept PAC money and his 527 set up so he can take PAC money.

    In his campaign against Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Sen. John Edwards and the rest of the Democratic field, Obama has advocated campaign finance reform and declared he will not accept any money from PACs.

    In the Senate, he has also criticized 527 groups. After the 2004 election, when the Swift Boat Veterans spent millions to attack Democrat John Kerry's Vietnam War record, Obama called their campaign "American politics at its worst" and "a fraud being perpetrated on the American people." The first-term senator said he might sponsor a bill to outlaw 527 groups entirely, according to news accounts.

    Nevertheless, in March, in Phillips' law office near San Francisco's Transbay Terminal, Obama supporters created a 527 group and a political action committee to help Obama win the California primary...

    But with a PAC and a 527 group in place, wealthy donors could be directed to "a place where you can go and give limitless funds," the source said. "It basically blows a hole in what we know as campaign finance limits."

    Finally, you don't know every Dem, worth his or her salt or not, or what that individal's wish would be on this issue.

    You don't get to define who is a Democrat.


    I agree.... (none / 0) (#94)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:03:11 PM EST
    and even Obama wanted to radically change the way we do things, it would never be allowed to happen.

    I mean nobody thinks the president actually runs things right?  The people who pay 23 hundo for a plate and a politicians ear run things.  The people who pay 800 grand for a speech and a politicians ear run things.  If you look close at any president you can see the strings...the 3 stooges in the running this time are no different.

    Interests and leverage sounds about right.... (none / 0) (#112)
    by kdog on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 06:11:40 PM EST
    money buys good leverage and expresses interest quite well.

    It's a lot of things, but it ain't free brother:)  


    If you total up (none / 0) (#98)
    by badger on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:12:54 PM EST
    just the single fundraiser at the top of Jeralyn's article, that comes to about $800,000 too.

    So are you saying that Obama is multiple times sleazier than Bill Clinton because he runs a lot of these kinds of fundraisers, or are you just saying that Obama gets a lot of money from big donors, just like Bill Clinton's charitable efforts?

    Please clarify what you're outraged about that Obama doesn't do on a grader scale.

    Pictures and column (none / 0) (#101)
    by MichaelGale on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 02:39:22 PM EST
    great fodder for MCain. He can use those shots and remarks by the photojournalist is a great campaign ad.

    Very easy for Obama actually (none / 0) (#105)
    by maritza on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 03:30:54 PM EST
    McCain has raised $15 million dollars from big wigs.  What's the difference?

    Does Rush Limbaugh... (none / 0) (#110)
    by SAINTIXE56 on Wed Apr 09, 2008 at 05:56:21 PM EST
    and his likes take a pledge tolet this campaign run without swiftboating; no naturally. In fact quite the contrary , as he is revelling in his operation Chaos. I have uyet to hear that the Clinton fans are ashamed of this unexpected support. Truth is Republicans are getting ready for a smear campaign for november ....whoever wins. Peronnally I do not oppose obame or clinton not using public funding. we know that the republicans play dirty. shame on you if you fool me once, shame on me if you fool me twice. the nominee whoever it will be will get my blessings to get as lmuch support as can be.