Roger’s Rules

Who is Hamilton E James and Why Does Obama Love Him?

How do you spell desperation? Looking at the Obama fundraising machine, I spell it m-o-n-e-y. He’s not bringing in enough of it. Forget about the fat cats who rode the Hope-n-Change express in 2008 but got off somewhere between the GM bailout and the Fast-and-Furious scandal. It’s the rank and file that’s gone missing.

As Karl Rove points out,where the “post-partisan” candidate was pulling in $50 million a month in 2008, he’s now averaging $24 million. Not chicken feed, but you’ve got right big mess to distract people from and that takes mucho pesetas. How bad are things? Did you hear about that expensive fundraiser—er, State Dinner Obama just threw to fête Prime Minister David Cameron and his wife. Gone are the days of sending the Queen an iPod with your speeches and treating the Prime Minister of England as if he were a special envoy from Nigeria (not that there is anything wrong with special envoys from Nigeria: heavens no!). As ABC news pointed out, it was packed to the gills with Obamas top campaign “bundlers,” the folks who shovel the big money to Democrats in order to help them make sure that there is no one (except themselves) with big money left to throw around.

I was talking about that with a friend who pointed out that, tucked in among the usual list of major donors and bundlers, tort lawyers, lefty Hollywood stars and aging New York celebrities, was one Hamilton E. James, Jr., the president of Blackstone. What made this billionaire stand out was not that he seemed out of place in the White House in this age of Occupy Wall Street but that, according to the paper of record, “Obama allies have been courting him as a potential fund-raiser.” It used to be that you had to give money before you had your picture taken with the president or the night in the Lincoln Bedroom or whatever but now it seems they are so desperate that the goodies come first.