A perfect storm of events — the recession, Wall Street anger at Washington, donors who feel ignored by the White House and interest group dissatisfaction — has Democrats bracing for a brutal fundraising period and fearful of losing dominance in longtime donor stronghold and megarich New York. While the exact quarterly figures won’t be known until after the July 15 filing deadline, a number of Democratic campaign insiders said the past few months were a mighty struggle to raise cash for candidates.
And that's a problem for the party of the workingman, because that fat cat New York money goes all over the country to elect the Men (and Women) of the People. So why are the gilded angels of mercy failing to cough up the dough?
Things are different now. While most Democrats blame the economy and anger from Wall Street for the fundraising predicament, President Barack Obama, whose own donor model was low-dollar contributors and Internet contributors over high-dollar types, has headlined just one major New York event so far this year, for the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. And several fundraisers said they knew of very few major events in the Hamptons — the summer playground for the wealthy that was long worked by the Clintons, who used it for simultaneous socializing, vacationing and rainmaking for the national party committees.
While it's possible that the Obama administration got confused and has been holding donor events in Hampton Inns instead, I suspect the larger issue is that it's become evident that Obama is in over his head and people don't want to continue to finance a trainwreck.
Ed Morrissey makes an important, point, too:
While many of us argue for more market-based approaches to public-policy issues, the people with capital like to pursue a more influenced-based outcome. While the Obama administration makes Bill Clinton look like Calvin Coolidge by comparison, the truth is that both Democrats campaigned on hostility towards capital, especially in 1992 for Clinton. Both of them were redistributionists; Bill Clinton was just smart enough to wise up after the 1994 midterms and tack back towards the center.
There's always a temptation to game the system if one senses it is possible. It's not noble but it is human nature. Wall Street often favored the Democrats under Bill Clinton because there was a sense that he was willing to play, especially after 1994. While I think that plenty of Obama's people are willing to play, it's not clear that Obama understands the rules of the game just yet. We're going to find out if Obama is as capable of learning as his predecessor.