Blunders and Bundlers

How much does it cost to sleep in the Lincoln bedroom these days, anyway? By some estimates at least, during Bill Clinton’s tenure, the single night, double occupancy fee ran somewhere in the neighborhood of $100,000 if the proprietor considered you a friend. And to be fair, it’s a really nice room.

Today the idea of bundling that amount of cash for a presidential candidate and settling for a room in the West Wing with clean sheets and a mint on your pillow has a quaint, almost American Graffiti style sensibility to it. Even under the second Bush administration, Brad Freeman raised $200,000 and was awarded with a night in the historic hotel digs.

Brad, my friend, you simply weren’t thinking in 21st century terms. Under the Obama administration you don’t pony up that level of patronage and settle for an evening’s shelter. You get a career for it. As was recently reported by Politico, donors to the 2008 Hope and Change Tour were savvy shoppers, well acquainted with the worth of a dollar and expecting a generous return on their investment.

This is probably a rather thoughtless juncture to point out that the candidate in question derided such influence on the campaign trail. While seeking office, President Obama rose up in righteous indignation, stating that well-moneyed special interests had, “turned our government into a game only they can afford to play.”

Such warnings did nothing to scare off brave bundlers such as Cindy Moelis and her husband, Robert Rivkin. The Chicago natives managed to collect nearly one quarter of a million dollars for Obama’s initial White House run, and they clearly weren’t going to be satisfied with an evening at a glorified Motel 6. (Though I understand they do leave the lights on for you there also.) No, Ms. Moelis went on to take charge of the Presidential Commission on White House Fellows, while Mr. Rivkin wound up being General Counsel of the DOT, as well as special adviser to Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood.

Alabama attorney Ted Hosp also raised $200,000 for the Obamas, but wound up not being appointed to any type of government position. When asked about this deplorable situation he said that he had no expectation of a job when he signed on to the campaign finance committee, but “did ask to be considered.”