I’m actually loathe to excerpt too much from this Huffington Post report filed by Howard Fineman and Paul Blumenthal, because it’s almost a work of performance art that needs to be read in its pristine condition for full enjoyment. The article laments that Barack Obama’s 2008 bundlers apparently like their diplomatic sinecures as ambassadors so much that they’re now unwilling to come back and raise money for a second Obama turn. Still, there are a couple of moments that stand out. For instance, Fineman and Blumenthal describe the process of divvying up these plum diplomatic posts among big-ticket donors (a long and tawdry tradition in American politics) as a “good deed” by Obama while casting big-ticket Republican donors as boogeymen:
In politics, as in life, no good deed goes unpunished. Just ask President Barack Obama.
Facing a tidal wave super PAC spending from the likes of GOP-backing billionaires Sheldon Adelson and the Koch brothers, the Democratic president lacks countervailing help from the super pack of well-heeled allies he drew in 2008 -– and rewarded with government jobs abroad.
Every President does this, but it’s not a “good deed.” It’s a casually-tolerated form of corruption, which is equally true when either party does it. It’s rather amusing to see progressive bêtes noires like Adelson and the Koch Brothers used to spook readers while praising the sale of ambassadorships to equally wealthy and active Democratic donors, however.
It’s especially amusing when the same piece laments the exclusion — so far, at least — ofGeorge Soros:
But the same Obama officials fret about the surging flow of mega-donations from conservative billionaires, especially since the Democrats’ own billionaire game-changer, George Soros, has shown no inclination to do in 2012 what he did in 2008, when he was the leading source of personal donations.
And then goes on to decry the loss of connection to corporate boardrooms that the Bundler-Ambassadors might have provided this year:
How will Team Obama fight back against the late bombardment of tens of millions of dollars in secretly donated cash to super PACs?
The president will need all the help -– and all the connection to big money in business -– that he can get. He is not beloved in corporate boardrooms of banks, investment houses and the law firms that serve them. But those are precisely the people that the bundler-ambassadors (and some other former bundlers in the administration) know best.
The President, by the way, has his own super-PAC that also “secretly” raises cash, in that it doesn’t disclose its donors. It’s nowhere near assuccessful as conservative super-PACs, not because of any legal or diplomatic impediment, but because more people want to support Romney and Republicans in this cycle with more money.
The difference in losing the “Bundler-Ambassadors” is rather small — only $28 million, which Obama has been raising about every two weeks. Obama has held more fundraisers than any modern President — more, in fact, than two or three modern Presidents combined. The problem isn’t that some former bundlers like their diplomatic assignments too much to give them up and raise money; it’s that Obama just isn’t as attractive to big-ticket donors, especially the ones he and his allies have been demonizing since September of last year with class-warfare attacks and Occupy protests. If Obama and his team couldn’t have predicted this outcome from that strategy, well … that explains their insistence on Obamanomics, too.