It's time for Democrats to ditch the tin cup and run on principle.
It is just a few weeks before the 35th incarnation of the most important election in my lifetime. According to the candidates, every election is “the most important one” in a lifetime.
Soon guilt will dominate my thinking about politics. I can’t stop the guilt trips because I am in politics, I have run for office, I have raised money; therefore other politicians think I will be an easy target and they call and call looking for money.
I have received perhaps 100 requests this year from candidates from Georgia to Seattle. I will be scolded by expert fundraisers. Friends will ask: If you won’t sponsor a fundraiser for her, how about pledging $1,500 to sponsor a fundraiser in Milwaukee for the head of Planned Parenthood? We are asking you to pledge $1,500, but $750 would be OK. We will still get you on the program. Thanks a lot! If you don’t sponsor, some will think you are against a woman’s choice. Are you saying you want Tommy Thompson in the Senate?
Guilt, guilt, guilt! If I don’t give $500 to John Lehman, am I handing control of the Senate back to the GOP? Al Franken would like to count on my help; my guess is the caller doesn’t know Al Franken from Newt Gingrich. Mark Pocan is calling; Kelda Roys is on line 4. Tammy Baldwin is holding on line 2.
“The Obama camp is calling on line 5.” Am I going to sit back and watch Mitt Romney screw up this country? Just because Obama opted to give Tom Barrett room to win on his own, don’t be silly — Democrats may lose the Senate. But tell me something. If Obama is planning to raise a billion dollars, why would he bother with my measly donation?
I know the president was busy when we were toe-to-toe with Scott Walker and the Koch boys, but not one visit from anyone in the administration?
The Wisconsin Democrats have lost just about everything except their peculiar genius to come up with reasons why we should give, give and give some more. It is the candidate’s birthday — great idea to ask for $10 for every year of her life. The reporting period ends next Friday — the candidate must have a big pile of money or the media won’t take him seriously.
On and on it goes. Consultants are hired to advise the candidates. What’s the advice? Raise more money — call eight hours a day. If you are already doing that, call nine hours a day. Why? So you can pay the consultants!
What should smart Democrats do? Throw money at candidates even though they have no chance? Continue playing the consultants’ game or put money in school board and city council races?
How about this: If the candidate will join our Tin Cup Brigade — put down the tin cup and run on principle — and take only $50 donations, I will match the $50. Otherwise I will give my money to a cause. As for guilt, I’ve had it. I am impervious to guilt trips. It is time for Democrats, candidates and non-candidates, to “just say no.” It is time to find a new approach. Where? Fighting Bob Fest on September 15. Meanwhile, give to those who are looking for a new approach. Stop the guilt trip — stop begging!
(A version of this article originally appeared in the opinion section of the Capital Times.)
June 26, 2012
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Ed Garvey is editor and publisher of FightingBob.com.