It is becoming obvious that the first two andf a half years of President Obama's term has not gone as he probalby wanted it to go. he has been unable to fulfill many of his campaign promises (bringing home our troops from Iraq, shutting down the Guantanomo prison, etc.), the country is as divided as ever, and the eocnomy is a disaster by just about any measure.
However, more embarrassing than any of these issues is a recent email that President's handlers sent out and its accompanying video clip. Both communications announced that the President would be raffling off a dinner with himself in the White House for four people. All you have to do is donate $5 to his re-election campaign fund and you will have your name entered into a raffle for the honor of having dinner with the President.
Most Americans would find a number of quite distaseful aspects of this whole affair:
* Should the most powerful man in the world stoop to such carnival-like antics, raffling off his valuable time to collect a few bucks from Americans? This cheapens the aura and respect of the office of President to unheard levels.
* Given that the country is facing a possible default on its debt, we are fighting three wars across the world, unemployment is stubbornly high, the country is as divided as ever, etc., how could this President find time out of what should be a hectic schedule to film a video for this raffle? If he performed his job like he should have wouldn't that performance be more Presidential and effective for his campaign than this cheap stunt?
* The video effort gets even stickier when put in the light of legality. According to many sources in the news, it appears that this video was filmed in a non-residential area of the White House. If that is the case, and other official videos have been presented to show the same setting and which would verify this was not in the residential area, than the President and his handlers have actually violated a Federal law which prohibits the use of the White House public areas for political campaigning. Thus, you can bet this issue will eventually take up more and more valuable time away from solving the actual problems of the nation as the political class looks for any angle to optimize this possible illegality.
But the most obnoxious part of this whole affair is the following quote from the email invitation:
"Most [election] campaigns fill their dinner guest lists with Washington lobbyists and special interests. We're running a different kind of campaign. We don't take money from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs - we never have and we never will."
Wow, a campaign based on the little people in the country, the individual Americans, the true essence of America. Not! Does the President and his handlers think we are that stupid to believe that he is a man of the people, that he shuns politically motivated, large sums of money when it benefits his election campaigns? Let's look at his track record when it comes to being a "man of the ordinary people:"
- On August 3, 2011, the day that the country might start running into debt ceiling and financial problems, a massive birthday party/campaign event in Chicago is planned for the President. The event will consist of several events including a Jennifer Hudson concert ($50 per ticket), admission to the birthday party ($200 a ticket), a premium seat $1,000), a souvenir photo with the President ($10,000) and VIP seating and dinner with Obama ($38,500). Kind of makes that $5 raffle ticket a bargain.
The President could not care less about your $5, he wants the big spenders and your raffle entry is nothing but political PR and a way to get your email address to hit you up for money later in the campaign. Trust me, at $10,000 a picture, there will be alot of special interest money banging around on Birthday night regardless of what the raffle email said.
- A short article in the May 20, 2011 issue of The Week magazine described how a group of Democrats have announced that they were putting processes in place to collect campaign funding from anonymous sources for the 2012 elections, using a funding model that Obama labeled a "threat to democracy" when Republicans successfully used in last November. This process allows people to donate money without divulging their names. Seriously, ask yourself: do we think that this will consist of a bunch of $5, non-special interest donations or will it consist of much larger corporate, union, lobbyist, and PAC donations? Given this announced Democratic Party strategy, the President's claim that "we don't take money from Washington lobbyists and special interest PACs" is now out the window from a credibility perspective.
- Consider an article in the April 25, 2011 issue of Business Week that described some of Obama's recent and historical fund raising efforts:
* He recently attended a fundraising dinner at the home of Marc Benioff, chairman of a successful Interent business, which had an admission price of $35,800 per person which was to be split between the President's re-election campaign and the National Democratic Committee.
* At the time the article was written, the President was scheduled to attend another fundraiser on April 27 in new York City. Price of admission? $35,800 per person.
* In 2008, Microsoft gave the Obama campaign over $830,000.
* In 2008, Google gave the Obama campaign over $800,000.
* In 2008, Goldman Sachs gave the Obama campaign just under a $1 million and Citigroup gave just over $700,000. And the political class, including Obama, eventually gave them billions of dollars of your taxpayer money via the TARP bank bailout process shortly thereafter.
* In 2008, Boston philanthropist Alan Solomont, former media executive Charles Rivkin, and lawyer John Roos each raised more than $500,000 for Obama's campaign. They are now the ambassadors to Spain, France, and Japan, respectively. These guys went to cushy jobs in exotic, faraway lands on the taxpayer expense and all you got was a raffle ticket.
It is obvious that this President will stoop to any level at any time to ensure he gets elected. So, why not go all in, so to speak. Let's put those roulette wheels in the White House Rose Garden. Let's move the press out of the White House press room and put those poker tables in. Get a royal flush, share a beer with the President. Double down on Double 00 at roulette and maybe you can shoot some basketball hoops with the big guy. He seems bored and irritated whenever he has to actually do something as required by his job so he would probably welcome the break. The integrity, status, and aura of the Presidency cannot fall much lower.
We need to find a way to impose term limits on all politicians, restricting them to one term, length to be determined. Only by imposing a one and done term limit restriction can we avoid being offended by Presidential raffles and the freedom destroying money pit that re-election campaigns have become.
Consider a quote from a June 27, 2011 article in Business Week: "If you have tens of thousands of dollars to spare, you can very easily buy face time with the President of The United States. Anything less, you're looking at a raffle ticket." So true, so please do not buy this PR raffle gimmick, you are just a pawn in this high powered game of chess.