Will the DNC make good?
by Jerry Gilio
October 17, 2006

I think blind loyalty is both stupid and dangerous. We need to criticize not only those we oppose, but also those we support.

Today I received an invitation to a reception for Senator Evan Bayh that required a minimum donation of $1,000. Here is my exchange with Annie Liberman, DNC Midwest Finance Director:

Dear Ms. Lieberman,

I was able to hear Howard Dean speak in Chicago on June 12, 2005. He stated that he believed not only the rich should have access to their leaders, which was reinforced by the very affordable $50 minimum donation for that event.

Sadly, Gov. Dean has again abandoned this noble sentiment with Senator Bayh's reception. Even more troubling it that he has done this repeatedly since that day in June.

It's this kind of hypocrisy that has driven me to recommend that people support Democratic candidates, but not the DNC. My conscience compels me to do so. This is not only because of the DNC's abandonment of access by less affluent constituents. It's also related to the DNC's inability to organize opposition to issues that threaten bedrock party principles. Examples include the Military Commissions Act of 2006 (S.3930) and the Flag Desecration Resolution (S.J.Res.12), both of which threaten civil rights. We won't even discuss DNC support for Senator Joe Lieberman.

I have attended receptions for Senator Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin seems to hold true to Gov. Dean's ideal, requiring only $75 to hear him speak. Both my wife and I attended. We found the senator inspirational and will pay special attention to candidates who he supports.

However, I must regretfully inform you that I will be unable to attend the reception for Senator Bayh. Keep me in mind if Gov. Dean decides to do more than pay lip service to his principle of accessibility to our Democratic leaders.

And her reply...

Dear Jerry,

Thank you for your email, we appreciate you taking the time to give us your feedback. We do try to incorporate events into the Governor's schedule that allow access to people that give at all levels and we often do events that do not ask for a contribution at all. Fundraising is a necessary evil of politics these days and the DNC needs it $25 donors as much as its $25,000 donors. It appears that it has been too long since we have hosted a grass roots event in the Chicago area. While I cannot promise we will do one before this election day, I will do my best to get one on the schedule by the end of this year.

I'm satisfied with this response as long as the "grass roots event" materializes. I'll let you know, one way or the other.

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