By Daniel Politi, Slate Magazine
The WP fronts a look at how one big-time bundler for John McCain has collected money from seemingly unlikely sources. Harry Sargeant III, who raised money for Rudy Giuliani and Sen. Hillary Clinton before he became a key fundraiser for McCain in Florida, has collected thousands of dollars from people who live in modest homes in California and have never expressed an interest in politics. Some aren’t even registered to vote. The Post tried to talk to some of these donors but didn’t get very far. Still, their descriptions are telling. One man who is listed in public records as a Rite Aid manager donated the maximum amount to both Clinton and Giuliani, although neither he nor his wife is registered to vote.
On the other side of the aisle, the NYT fronts a piece that follows a recent trend in stories that highlight how Barack Obama’s campaign isn’t just relying on small donations to fund his war chest. Out of the $340 million Obama has collected so far, half has come from donations of $200 or less and one-third was raised from people who have given $1,000 or more. That means Obama has collected more than McCain in large contributions. To achieve this, Obama has hundreds of bundlers, many of whom work in industries that have “critical interests in Washington.” And (hold on, this is shocking) these bundlers didn’t materialize out of thin air. Rather, Obama has been working for years “to build a network of big-dollar supporters” and he “courted them with the savvy of a veteran politician.” TP has no idea whether people still find these types of stories shocking (the presidential candidate for a major party has more than just a scrappy Internet operation!), and, while these new fundraising numbers are interesting, isn’t it about time journalists stop treating as news the fact that Obama is an effective politician?
In the LAT‘s op-ed page, Thomas Schwartz writes that we should stop looking at the vice presidential nomination “as the anointment of an electoral successor.” Despite what many might think, this is actually a relatively new trend that began with President Eisenhower. But the truth is that no one knows who will be the best candidate eight years from now and, regardless, the vice presidency doesn’t prepare someone to be commander in chief as much as being governor, a lawmaker, or a cabinet member. “A better running mate is a distinguished elder statesman eminently qualified to assume the presidency but too old to run in eight years.”