Long-time readers know that if today’s Republican leaders were like Abe Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, or Dwight Eisenhower — or even Richard Nixon, sans the demons and the conspiracy to subvert an election — I might still vote “Democrat” most of the time, but I sure wouldn’t have spent the last 15 years of my life as a fundraiser.
Instead, unfortunately, today’s Republican leaders are like Mitch McConnell (see yesterday’s post) — and becoming more extreme and uncompromising with each cycle — so I’m still at it.
Let me share a few stories, beginning with my favorite rejection of all time and a recent success.
“I’d really like to help,” he said, “but I can’t. I’ve just spent $80,000 on wall coverings for my beach house.”
To him this said it all. How could he possibly be expected to do $10,000 right then?
To me it said: how could he possibly NOT? Right? He had just spent $80,000 on wall coverings. For his beach house!
When it comes to Democratic fundraising, I’ve come to know that our real nemeses are not the Re-publicans (at the time, Bush was running against Gore) but rather the Re-al estate market (as in: “we just bought a new place”) and the Re-novations (as in: $80,000 wall coverings). Hey! Has no over ever heard of PAINT???
I got an email from a friend asking me to meet with a woman in charge of diversity for a global bank — could she “pick my brain”?
I hate that expression. Why would anyone want his or her brain picked? I think of ice picks, pick-pockets, picking fights, being picked on – it just grates. Please keep your cocktail forks away from my brain. It is not a lobster knuckle.
Plus – while I think it’s terrific we’ve come to a point where major financial institutions are actively courting gay clients – why do I care whether one bank increases its LGBT market share at the expense of another? I mean: good for them, and I’m thrilled they value our business. But with the Senate and House at stake, and the White House in 2016 – and therewith, potentially, the future of mankind (because the visions of the two parties are so starkly different) . . . well, I assume by now you’ve heard my pitch, perhaps ad nauseum, but it is this: After thousands of generations of striving and suffering to get us to this magical moment (we have hot water! we can fly! we have seedless watermelon!), we, as a species, have just a couple of decades to get on a sustainable trajectory: in which case the future holds all but unimaginable well-being. Or else goes horribly, horribly wrong.
So do I care which bank gets LGBT business?
And yet the guy who asked me to do this is one of my heroes, and he said the woman is pretty amazing – I sort of glossed over the details – so I emailed her that, yes, sure, any friend of Kevin’s . . . etc.
But because I am incorrigible and, by now, a virtual self-parody, I offered three options:
OPTION #1 – Come up to my place next Thursday – it will be a pleasure to meet you.
OPTION #2 – Same, but afterward walk a few blocks and spend an hour with 24 other max-out ($32,400) donors and the President of the United States.
OPTION #3 – Same thing, different day, but with the First Lady.
I knew of course I’d get a gracious, “let’s start with Option #1,” in some form or other – and that was fine – but life is short and, if nothing else, I was amusing myself. (I am past the age of more strenuous entertainment.)
Back comes an email – “Option #2.”
My eyes widen and I’m, like, REALLY? But I’ve been to this rodeo before, and I know that when it’s this easy there’s usually a catch – is she, perhaps, a felon? (By policy, we don’t accept contributions from felons.) Does she have outstanding tax liens? (By policy, we don’t accept contributions from people who’ve not paid their taxes.) Is she drunk?
But, no, this was a Friday – and I had her $32,400 Monday morning.
Who WAS this woman??? Turns out, yes, she heads the diversity effort for Credit-Suisse but she also sits on its executive board – and holds three Harvard degrees (magna and Law Review) – was McKinsey’s first African American partner; CEO of CNBC (hired Jim Cramer!); and a whole bunch of other things (Simon & Schuster published her novels) . . . so THANK YOU, Kevin: I made an amazing new friend, and she got to ask the President a great question about kids (she and her husband have three), and her support brought us that much closer to a good outcome in 2014 and 2016.
It doesn’t get better than this.
So here’s what I want you to do, and why I want you to do it:
Click here to join the enormous effort needed to bend the course of history in the direction of those who “believe in” science. And diversity and diplomacy and a higher minimum wage, comprehensive immigration reform, enlightened regulation, reproductive freedom, universal background checks, investment in infrastructure – even in the notion that we should make voting easier, not harder.
I’ll see your help right away to say thanks.
With your help we’ll be able to fund the tech team that keeps our ground game ahead of theirs and maintain the voter file that give us the edge in turn-out — and other tasks essential to a good outcome in November and that paves the way to holding the White House in 2016.
Forget the wall coverings. Join us.
Quote of the Day
History is a vast early warning system.~Norman Cousins
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