My very life is thine, my liege! But $3? I dunno…

POTUS and I are so close, he knows he can ask me for anything. Even three whole dollars.

The leader of my country, the most powerful man in the world, needs my help! Right now! Time to mount my steed and prepare to lay down my life for the sake of God, country, the girl next door, and Mom’s incomparable apple pie!

Brad —

If you’re with me, then I need you right now.

We’re just days away from the mid-year fundraising deadline — this is the biggest test yet of our commitment to win in 2012. We can’t fall short on this one.

Donate $3 or more right now to elect a Democratic majority in Congress.



Schwinngg! goeth my sword as I withdraw it, and…

…wait a sec….

Three dollars? That’s what this is about? Three dollars? What kind of cheapskate country is this when our supreme leader himself sends up the Bat Signal to get my attention, and all he wants is three lousy semolians?

I mean, if he wanted a sawbuck, would he land Marine One on my lawn and approach my front door on his knees?

Of course, you’ve guessed by now that this message is not actually from Barack Obama, but from the anonymous, and this is another one of a certain type of political fund-raising message that is more about getting me (or, if I were some other person perhaps, keeping me) in the habit of giving. In other words, it’s not about the money, it’s about conditioning. Sort of like all those begging emails Joe Wilson sent out asking people to give him money to help defeat the existential threat of Phil Black in the primary earlier this month. It’s not that he needs the money; he just needs you to keep giving.

Yet another of democracies more bizarre aspects.

31 thoughts on “My very life is thine, my liege! But $3? I dunno…

  1. Brad

    Of course, looked at another way… turns out this is about which party controls Congress. Since I’ve often said “I wouldn’t give two cents” to help EITHER party control Congress, I guess that makes this a pretty bold and desperate “ask” on their part…

  2. bud

    Since we don’t actually have a democracy but a sort of hybrid mish-mash republic I suppose a bit of fund raising loonyness is appropriate.

    I saw an interesting take on REAL restructuring, not the faux restructuring that we engage in periodically. This involved creating one legislative branch with 46 members and giving them a salary of about $80k per year. In return there would be a ban on paid lobbyists. That way our elected officials could be properly paid for their work and the temptation for ethical misconduct for money would be reduced. Seems like a bold effort to effect change and would be more effective than merely abolishing the Budget and Control Board and replacing it with another beauracratic agency that essentially does the same thing.

  3. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    @bud –I don’t know how you ban paid lobbyists under current interpretations of the First Amendment.

  4. Steven Davis II

    I do believe I’d burn or delete any picture of me and what’s his face if one were to exist.

  5. bud

    It’s a bold idea but indeed may not pass constitutional muster. Nevertheless with a decent salary the temptations could be lessoned. With just one legislative body the people’s work would be more efficient.

  6. Brad

    And now, a word from Conan the Contrarian…

    Contrary to popular belief, the role of lobbyists in our republic does not inherently constitute corruption. Lobbyists play a valid role. They are the personification of our right to petition our government for… whatever.

    I will say that if our lawmakers were paid $80,000 a year, it might somewhat reduce the NEED for lobbyists and what they do.

    Because you see, what lobbyists do is explain legislation and its likely effects to lawmakers who haven’t the time (or the inclination) to do the research to understand what would happen if they were to pass it. Without lobbyists, the laws we’d see our legislatures passing would be way stupider than they are now. If you can wrap your head around that.

    But at $80,000 you’re approaching a threshold where lawmakers could do the job full-time, and be less dependent on people who ARE well compensated to become experts on legislation, which currently lawmakers are not.

  7. Brad

    Steven, pictures are no longer burnable. They’re out there in the ether…

    I’m fond of that picture because it captured a fun and goofy moment from my career. I was basically posing with Sen. Obama IRONICALLY. So many people had asked to sit in on that editorial board meeting, and so many of the non-professionals (people’s kids, or non-journalists from elsewhere in the building) who had asked to observe were posing for pictures with him, that I said, “What the hell? Why get left out of the fun?”

    Of course, none of my colleagues would have dreamed of doing that. I was the only one with the kind of sense of humor that made me willing to make a mockery of my own “editorial dignity.” (Sort of like the day that I SHOCKED Rotary by jumping up on the podium and giving my impersonation of Elvis’ pelvic movements. They just could not believe that the editor of the state’s largest newspaper would do anything like that.)

    In retrospect, I wish I’d had fun like that a lot more. I’d have some pretty interesting pictures to show my grandchildren…

  8. Mab

    Check THIS out:

    Ann Romney via
    Jun 21 (4 days ago)
    to me


    I don’t need to tell you why this election is important. You get it.”


    >>>This truly humbles me<<<

  9. Steven Davis II

    I never have understood the mugging with someone famous, or the gotta have autograph… they don’t know you or likely care to ever know you so why do you want a lasting memory of the event? Looking at them reminds me of sitting through someone’s home movies or slide shows of their grandmother’s 92nd birthday party. In this case you were representing the newspaper as were others, and it sounds like everyone was a giddy school girl when he walked through the front door as if he were Justin Bieber.

  10. Steven Davis II

    “They just could not believe that the editor of the state’s largest newspaper would do anything like that.”

    That’s likely because you were the only one in the room who could pull it off without breaking a hip.

  11. Brad

    Steven, I’m sure my colleagues were appalled at the circus atmosphere. None of us had ever seen that sort of behavior in the board room, even though we often let guests in to observe.

    I’m just the kind of guy who finds humor in a situation like that, and decided to roll with it.

    Here’s where I wrote about the incident earlier.

  12. Brad

    What a hoot! I just got a followup to the previous email, this one purportedly from Nancy Pelosi, saying:

    “Brad —

    “Your response to President Obama’s message today has been inspiring! If you donate today, my Democratic colleagues and I will triple-match your gift. Donate $3 or more:

    … which of course, leaves me wondering “what response?” This blog post? I don’t think I accidentally clicked “reply” on it or anything like that.


    In any case, I found my response pretty inspiring, too. So thanks, “Nancy.”

  13. Brad

    Just so you know, “Nancy’s” email address was also

    Some intern at party HQ is just having a time for himself. I wait to see the subsequent appeals from Kaiser Wilhem, Napoleon and Julius Caesar…

  14. Bart

    $3 you say. And, then you ask, what is next? Answer? Ask your friends and relatives to send money to Obama’s campaign fund instead of buying you a “gravy boat” for your wedding gift. This is not a joke folks, it is REAL!!!

    The $3 I could handle even though it is cheap but to grub for money by asking a couple to forego receiving the traditional wedding gifts and send the money to Obama’s re-election treasure chest is about as low and common as it can possibly get.

    I never thought he could stoop so low but he did. What’s next? Instead of your kids using their milk money to buy milk at school, get all the kids together, put their milk money in a jar and send the damn thing to Obama??????

  15. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    “The $3 I could handle even though it is cheap but to grub for money by asking a couple to forego receiving the traditional wedding gifts and send the money to Obama’s re-election treasure chest is about as low and common as it can possibly get.”

    I trust you are being sarcastic? I can think of many things that are lower and more “common.”

  16. tavis micklash

    Whats with $3? Thats what Joe Wilson was asking for too.

    Does giving that amount trigger something in the campaign funding world or is it just a way to establish the giving habit?

  17. Silence

    I’m a conspiracy theorist, so here’s what I think about the $3.00.

    1) It’s probably about what it costs them to process & report the donation, they probably just break even or better if you gave $3.

    2) I’ll bet they have some data that says that if you give money (even a little bit) you are 99.9% likely to show up and vote, so by getting you to give even a little, they figure you are locked in for the party.

    3) Most people probably give a bit more than 3.00 anyhow, say 10 or 20 minimum. I’ll bet very few folks bother to do it for only 3 bucks.

    4) For PR purposes, it looks a lot better to have a large base of small donors than a small base of large donors. Therefore, a slew of $3 donations can drag down the average if you’ve got a load of maximum donations, say make it look like you had a bunch of $20 donations instead of a handful of $2000 donations. I think this is a big factor.

    5) They don’t much care about the $3 – but they want your info. If you donate and fill out the form, they KNOW that there’s a real person at a particular email address, and they now would also know your name, address, occupation, and proclivity to donate (maybe they figure out what ads are effective for you personally). They’d also be able to combine it with a bunch of other data based on your address and maybe other mailing lists, donation records or data they an mine. I think this is the biggest factor.

  18. bud

    Bart, the reality is this is the silly season in presidential politics. Obama is grubbing for money but so is Romney. To suggest this is as “low” as it can possibly get is just a bit overly hyperbolic don’t you think?

  19. bud

    Besides, isn’t the shear horror of going through another 4 years like we had during the Bush years enough to send a few bucks to our last best hope for a decent future worth $3 and a gravy boat.

  20. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    Also, I wonder if the wedding gift idea isn’t code for all those LGBT weddings, where the participants already have the stuff, and would truly rather make a political gesture of thanks.

  21. Bart

    @bud and Kathryn,

    I stand by every word I said. While it may not bother you for the president to engage in what I consider “cultlike” behavior, it does bother me. To even consider yourself to be so important as to ask a young couple about to be married to sacrifice their wedding gifts and have the money sent to his campaign is not the behavior of even the most radical politician.

    As for saying that Obama is the last best hope for a decent future, I think that amounts to an even higher level of hyperbole. If Obama is our last best hope for the future, we are all royally screwed – period.

    As for the shear horror of the Bush years, speak for yourself. Bush made mistakes and I didn’t support a lot of his initiatives and actions but to describe them as “shear horror”? Another example of hyperbole to add to the mix. The horror only comes from the extremist point of view, either right or left.

    @Kathryn, yes, in my view, it was and still is “low and common”. I would use the same to describe ANY politician in either party who would stoop so low. Maybe the wealthy can afford to forego the traditional wedding gifts but the average young couple starting out today needs everything they can get to start a new life together. They don’t have the money that young couples did at one time and given the economy, that by the way is not growing, it will be years before a real recovery takes place.


    #5 is the one that hits the nail on the head. We made the mistake of contributing to a political campaign years ago and they never left us alone afterwards. I finally called and after going through several layers of drones, got to someone who could remove our name from the “donor’s list”.

  22. Bart

    “Also, I wonder if the wedding gift idea isn’t code for all those LGBT weddings, where the participants already have the stuff, and would truly rather make a political gesture of thanks.”…Kathryn

    If this is what he meant, then he should have the guts, gonads, strength of character, or however you want to describe it to actually come out and say to the LGBT that he is addressing them and they should show their appreciation for his change of position on same-sex marriage.

  23. bud

    The Republican party has morphed into a tool of the big, corporate elites who are interested only in enriching themselves through a form of pseudo-plutocracy. In essense the party as a whole has become more interested in making a very few wealthy at the expense of the vast majority. The result has been to concentrate wealth into the hands of a few while basic needs go unmet. Proof of this diabolical scheme is in the form of lower academic test scores, greater personal debt such as college loans, wealth concentration indices like the GINI index, declining life expectancy relative to the rest of the industrial world combined with by far the highest health care expenditures, a huge military budget that far outstrips any conceivable defense needs and a general decay of our lifestyle.
    Other than that the GOP is just hunky dory.

    This is not to say that the Democratic party is perfect. Obama has been a great disappointment on the personal freedom front especially regarding drone killings and electronic survellance. In addition his administration seem hell bent on arresting every hapless soul that smokes a bit of pot. Nevertheless our only hope is to support Democrats. Otherwise our country is in deep trouble.

  24. Steven Davis II

    @Silence – bud hates the Republican party because it’s the party of the “rich”. He refuses to explain where the single-wide trailer dwellers fit into the party though.

  25. `Kathryn Braun Fenner

    “Stoop so low”!?!?

    Look, I don’t think it’s low and common to ask. If it doesn’t work for you because you are a young couple with nothing just starting out–I haven’t been to such a wedding, ever, but…–don’t do it, but many, many couples can forego at least some gifts? Many have been on their own for a long time and don’ want china and crystal–I didn’t.

    I hardly think it’s worth the outrage you seem to experience.

  26. Silence

    @ ‘Kathryn – When Mrs. Silence and I got married we didn’t want crystal and china – who wants to handwash it and who has formal dinner parties anymore? If we need fancier stuff, we’d go rent it or something. Why does the average couple need 4-5k worth of breakables collecting dust in a cabinet in their kitchen? When we opted to cohabitate we got a very nice set of everyday plates and glasses. We did register for nice stainless flatware when we got married, though.

    Generally speaking, we’d have rather had cash than china and crystal.

  27. bud

    The “horrors” of the Bush years are well documented (2 recessions, war based on lies, Katrina failures, etc). I doubt that Romney would be as incompetent in dealing with matters like a major hurricane. I’m sure he’d be plenty competent getting his rich friends out of harms way and once that’s accomplished it wouldn’t really matter in his elitist brain. Geez. Why should anyone making less than a million bucks trust this guy? Call it class warfare if you like but the fact is only one class is fighting. And it sure ain’t the poor.


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