Tuesday, June 12, 2012

"Go Ahead, Keep Waiting" Is Order of the Day

"Go ahead, keep waiting" was the subject of an email I received today from my friend Julianna. We're on a first name email basis, Julianna and I, so I think I may take her advice. She got right to the point:
If you've been waiting to get invested in President Obama's campaign, you should know that Mitt Romney and the corporate interests and right-wing ideologues backing him want you to keep waiting.

They're counting on you to be tuned out for as long as possible -- until it's too late to make up the ground lost this summer without you.

Then they'll tune you out when President Romney is in the White House.

They're not running the kind of campaign that depends on ordinary people wanting a say in the political process.
Julianna Smoot is the Deputy Campaign Manager of Obama for America and she believes Obama stands for something different when it comes to ordinary people.
President Obama is -- and you could literally have his ear at an upcoming dinner with you and a few other guests.

Pitch in $135 or more now, and you'll be automatically entered for that chance:


The President's been hosting these dinners with supporters like you for the last year or so because they're what this entire campaign comes down to: ordinary Americans having conversations about where we've been and where we need to go.

No corporations in the room. Just people.

Don't pass up your chance to be at the next one.
Now that's awfully nice of my friend Julianna, if I just pitch in $135 I can enter a raffle to have dinner with President Obama. How did Julianna come up with the magic number of $135, you might ask? Well, you simply have to read the fine print.
The first $5,000 of a contribution to OVF 2012 will be allocated to Obama for America (with the first $2,500 designated for the primary election, and the next $2,500 for the general election). The next $30,800 of a contribution will be allocated to the Democratic National Committee. Any additional amounts from a contributor will be divided among the State Democratic Party Committees as follows, up to $10,000 per committee and subject to the biennial aggregate limits: FL (17%); OH (16%); PA (13%); CO (11%); NC (11%); VA (11%); NV (6%); WI (6%); IA (5%); and NH (4%). A contributor may designate his or her contribution for a particular participant. The allocation formula above may change if following it would result in an excessive contribution. Contributions will be used in connection with a Federal election.
Let me add that up for you, $5,000 to Obama for America, $30,800 to the DNC, and $10,000 to each of 10 state committees, that's $135,800 for the big donors who the maximum. The $135 raffle tickets Juliana is selling are just .1% of that and appear to provide ordinary people the same chance to meet the President over dinner. But why do I think that if gave $135,8000 my chances of having dinner with the President would go up to something like 100%?

Now, if someone who gives $135,800 has a 100% chance of winning, what chance of winning does someone who gives $135 have? Fairness might dictate a .1% chance, which is one chance in a thousand, pretty good odds. My friend Julianna is somewhat vague on that:
Odds of winning depend on number of entries received.
But there can only be 3 winners in this raffle and Julianna undoubtedly hopes for somewhat more than 3,000 entrants so that means the odds will likely be a lot less than one in a thousand, not very good odds at all when you think about it.

That, in a nutshell, is the real problem with money in politics. It's not merely that the people who give the big money get extra access and influence in proportion to the money they have given. It's that they get access and influence that is out of proportion to their money.

Julianna knows this and likely her husband of 8 months Lon Johnson knows this too. At the time of their marriage last October, Lon is a vice president with TVV Capital, a private equity firm. Mitt Romney made his money in private equity.

Julianna worked for a year as White House social secretary, deciding who comes to state dinners, sleeps in the Lincoln bedroom, and distributing other social perks not available to ordinary people. Julianna also had the extraordinary honor of being on the witness list in the recent trial of John Edwards.

I would just love to sit down for dinner with Julianna, Lon, and Barack and ask her what she knew and when about John Edwards's affair. Then ask Barack just how close he came to selecting John as his VP running mate. And ask Lon what he thought about being an evil corporate interest. Because it sounds to me like the honeymoon is over.

By the way, according to the Official Rules of the Dinner with Barack V Sweepstakes, you can enter the raffle without paying the $135. I like free.


Anonymous said...

Interesting - I got the same email but it had a much lower amount $14 to get in the running for the dinner

Left Bank of the Charles said...

That $14 should buy you a 1 in 10,0000 chance to have dinner with the President.