Saturday, August 18

Oprah's rules for Obama's donors

It's no secret that Oprah loves Barrack Obama's campaign for president. Early next month, Oprah is hosting a garden party fundraiser for Obama.

The LA Times reported Saturday on the instructions being sent to donors by Julianna Smoot, Obama's national finance director.

Among the rules told to donors: no gifts for either Obama or Oprah will be accepted on site, security procedures to prevent ticket re-sales, and even dress code expectations.

First, you need to wear "Garden Attire." And that don't mean clothes to go garden in, folks. It means summery, sheer, lots of linen, maybe some floppy hats, blazers, contrasting slacks and open collars for the guys (because you know Barack likes open collars).
Finally, the event at Oprah's house in Montecito is not being called "a fundraiser" -its being called "a celebration."


Anonymous said...

This is shocking. Oprah's not letting any of the 'celebration' guests inside her house? If Mr. Obama were higher in the polls, would they get to come indoors? The party is in a meadow, and women have to wear flat shoes, so I guess it gives a new twist on 'cattle call.'
Does it matter at all to her, that the temperatures could easily be in the 90s?
And the 'security' rule of no packages. Forget handing anyone your screenplay, or business plan.
And what are they celebrating?
Have to wonder if Magic Johnson will be allowing the folks invited to his Hillary fundraiser, to come inside his house. At least to the pool area? Maybe even the entrance hall?
I guess she can get some tents and giant fans. So better watch those linen dresses and hats.

Anonymous said...

The fundraiser by Oprah for Obama raises an issue that should be foremost in our consciouness, now that we've suffered through several decades of "political candidates as pseudo-saviors."

Many, perhaps most of us, worship political leaders and believe that they will save us from our sins. This curious quasi-religion we Americans have invented fantasizes that all will be sanctified and beautiful once we change the leaders at the top,that we have the wrong set of politicians in charge.

Oprah likely believes, as probably a majority of Americans, that as soon as we replace the evil Bush and Cheney with the saintly Obama, everything will be fine. In fact, the millennium will come. (Likely that sainthood will transfer to Hillary should she end up the nominee. Sic transit gloria.)

However, every presidential election in anyone’s living memory has been characterized that way, and you’d think the odds are we would have gotten the millennium at least once in all those attempts.

But the president, whoever he or she may be, is not the only actor in the great DC political game. If he or she were, we could quickly forget all other bets and get used to an Augustus Caesar style “republic.”

There’s that little committee of 535 people over on Capitol Hill, each and every one of whom helps craft endless ways to intefere with peaceful individuals through federal agencies, and endless ways to direct government largess at voters and interests likely to support their (the politicians') re-election.

We have the 15 million federal civil servants – up from 12 million when W took office – at the top of whose agenda is remaining employed long enough to retire on a nice pension. Among them are directors and heads of offices and agencies looking to enhance their power and prestige through ever-larger budgets.

And lest we forget, Washington’s estimated 50,000 lobbyists who represent every rent-seeking special interest imaginable from the defense industry to retirees to unions to corporate agriculture to faith-based social service organizations. They of course also have ideas about how to use trillions in federal tax revenue and how power should be used to hobble those whose interests clash with their own.

In an era where the federal government claims the power to tax everything, regulate everything, and bestow any amount of money on any enterprise that the committee of 535 can be manipulated into, it is easy to see why so much effort really goes into presidential, and other elections. Mencken called elections a "kind of advance auction of stolen goods," and indeed that is what they have become in America.

But politicians are anything but forthright. They are not going to label the product truthfully; instead they dress it in religious and millenial language and symbol that puts late-night-television gadget hucksters to shame.

The main, indeed the only real plank in any politician's platform, is getting into office and staying there for as long as possible.

To do that, the politicians have gradually taken away individual rights and freedoms, a little here, a little there, not enough to notice much, but enough to keep the system oiled and rolling along free from serious electoral challenge. They use trillions extracted from taypayers to reward special interests likely to help them, the politicians, stay in power. They distract the country and chip away at civil liberties with senseless foreign military adventures.

Would the election of Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama change that? No. Would the defeat of every incumbent running for Congress next year change that? Likely not.

The problem is not who is running the system but the system itself: the federal government simply has arrogated to itself far too much power and too much access to individuals' money.

We need to insist on a return to the original meaning of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Power and resources must be handed back to individuals, not transferred to new government agencies, not expanded on the unthinking presumption that more of the same will cure the mess.

Einstein once observed that a good definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Research scientists understand this. So should the rest of us.

Sam Davis
Annapolis, MD