If some congressional Republicans hadn’t come up with the twin ideas of impeaching and suing President Barack Obama, Democrats might have invented it as a way to wring money out of suckers on their email lists.
For more than a week, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, whose acronym is usually spoken as the D-Triple-C, has pursued contributions to fight those two events with a zeal that makes Nigerian bank scammers seem as tame as ushers passing the plate at Sunday Mass.
A week ago Friday, my inbox began to be populated with DCCC missives with all-capitals subject lines like IMPEACHMENT UPDATE and WE’VE HAD ENOUGH. The gist of messages was that the lawsuit House Republican leaders planned against Obama for overstepping his executive authority on the Affordable Care Act could lead to impeachment. Never mind the fact that in some ways the lawsuit was an effort to avoid impeachment, which some members wanted but most leaders regard as a political loser. The White House was saying just the opposite, the fundraisers said.
“We are now on full RED ALERT at Democratic Headquarters,” one said. “We’ve got less than three hours to let Boehner know he’s made a million-dollar mistake,” said another.
That last seemed like a bit of good news, implying that after the three hours elapsed, they would shut the heck up. No such luck.
The next morning, an email arrived explaining they were still – or perhaps again – on RED ALERT because Fox News was saying a majority of Republicans want to impeach Obama. Who knew Democrats watched Fox? According to their records I hadn’t chipped in since the Republicans authorized a vote to sue Obama.
To be clear, I’ve never given money to the DCCC or its GOP counterpart the National Republican Congressional Committee, or any local, state or national political party. One perk of my job is that I can’t give political contributions, even if I wanted to. Having seen all the silly things candidates and parties do with money other people give them, I wouldn’t, anyway.
But I am on many campaign organizations’ email contact lists for other things. I occasionally call the DCCC, which has as its raison d’etre electing Democrats to the House of Representatives, to ask if they are giving money to anyone running in Eastern Washington’s 5th Congressional District. The answer for the last four elections or so has been no; the DCCC’s efforts generally consist of a few press releases cataloguing bad decisions they believe Republican Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers has made but otherwise allowing the Democratic candidate to twist in the wind.
In their efforts to beat as many bushes as possible for contributions, they may have merged media contact lists with donor lists. Republicans, who are also grubbing money on these topics, seem to be more careful.
By last Saturday, DCCC staffers were officially “freaking out,” according to one of three emails, which like all others had a convenient “click here” feature to immediately give $5 or $35 or $50 or $100 or $250. On Sunday, Michelle Obama was asking for money because there’s only so much her hubby “can do on his own.” Another said they had just four hours to get 186 donations to meet their goal.
Monday, the president himself emailed, noting that I’d ignored both Michelle and Joe Biden – the vice president’s appeal must’ve been caught in the spam filter – and now he was asking himself. A request from “Steve” followed, just checking to see if I’d seen Obama’s request, and another asking why, why, why I was not responding to previous emails and mentioning they were 75,000 donations short of their goal, which apparently had changed overnight. House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi emailed that I could “kiss all hope goodbye” if Republicans sue the president, and later in the evening sent yet another wondering why I hadn’t responded to previous emails.
And so it continued through the week. Updates on the vote to sue Obama. Pelosi proclaiming herself disgusted with Republicans, and following up a few hours later with another plea that started “sorry to email you again.” Biden saying I’d been there for him in the past (news to me).
On Thursday, an email arrived late morning with “FINAL NOTICE” in the address block and my name in the subject line. Finally, I thought, the end in sight. Not so. It was merely “final notice” on that night’s fundraising deadline, which was followed up later in the day with a pot-calling-the-kettle-black allegation that Speaker John Boehner “shook down” folks for money, and more notices that the artificial deadline was approaching, mentioning folks at DCCC were “on the verge of a nervous breakdown.”
By Friday afternoon, they may have taken a few Valium and sent me a thank-you for donations never made. I’ve got to dial up the spam filter.