Thursday, September 22, 2011

What is the Tea Party worth? Or, you get what you pay for at fundraisers

I couldn’t help but note the juxtaposition of a pair of political fundraisers we’re going to endure in October.
BUFFETT: The president's financier?

Billionaire Warren Buffett, who received a Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama earlier this year, is working with friends he has in the North Shore suburbs to arrange for an Oct. 27 cocktail party.

THE CHICAGO TRIBUNE reports that Obama himself is not likely to attend. So there’s no chance of any personal access to the president – just a chance to have your name turn up on a list so that the president knows who his friends are, and more importantly, aren’t.

Want to show up at this cocktail party for Obama? Get out the checkbook and make sure you have a large-enough balance to cover a check for just over $35,000 per person.

Otherwise, stay away. And if you have dreams of bouncing a check to the president’s people, you’re dooming yourself.

Now compare that to a gathering that will take place Monday at a banquet hall in southwest suburban Homer Glen. The community that didn’t even exist 20 years ago and still has a fresh-scrubbed newness to everything is the place where a group calling itself the Tea Party’s Will County Alliance will gather.

WHICH MEANS A whole lot of white people from around Joliet and Lockport will convene to complain about “Crook County” and Chicago and how they need to fight to keep the city in its place – and will probably eagerly share horror stories with you about how they fled. Why else would Will County have had a nearly 40 percent population boost in the past decade?

Want to join this party? It’s only $20 a person. Much more affordable.
BACHMANN: What will she think of Will?

Yet I’d argue that the company you’d be keeping would be to the point where it’s not even worth the price of an Andrew Jackson portrait, particularly since long-shot ideologue presidential hopeful Michelle Bachmann has said she’s coming to the Tea Party-style party.

She really is the candidate of choice for those people who can’t accept the fact that the whole wide world isn’t filled only with people just like themselves, and who have their hang-ups with the 21st Century.

SO AS MUCH as we might want to make wisecracks about the idea of a North Shore wine and cheese affair that charges ridiculous sums to get in, I can’t help but find it more hilarious to speculate about the goings on with the Tea Party-types – who are going to learn that nickel-and-diming it at fundraising events just isn’t going to produce a candidate who can take on the challenges of serious governance.

Rancid rhetoric is nothing but talk, and as the cliché goes, “Talk is Cheap.”

Just like “You get what you pay for.” The less-expensive option isn’t always the preferable one.

Yet the gathering next week in Will County isn’t the only one we’re going to have to deal with. Come Sept. 30-Oct. 1, there’s going to be a much-larger scale event in northwest suburban Schaumburg.

THAT WILL BE the Midwest Tea Party Convention, with ideologue broadcaster Glenn Beck to be their speaker.

Yet I can’t help but notice that at least one Democrat has dreams of getting himself some attention from this event.

Raja Krishnamoorthi, who is a Democratic candidate for what will be a vacant seat in Illinois’ congressional delegation, said he plans to hold his own rally outside the hotel where the Tea Party types are gathering.

He thinks he can be the voice of reason who speaks in defense of Obama while the president’s reputation is being slandered beyond belief inside the hotel.

“THE TEA PARTY is a dangerous vision for our country that would stifle job creation, hurt the middle class and force major cuts for seniors, students, people looking for work and veterans,” Krishnamoorthi said, in a prepared statement.

I’m sure that last part privately stings Tea Party types, since just about every conservative ideologue I have ever met insists on believing that they’re the ones who speak up for military veterans, and that all people affiliated with the Democratic Party are anti-military.
KRISHNAMOORTHI: Needs to be careful

I’ll wish Krishnamoorthi luck that day with his event. Yet I’m not convinced that it will do anything except make him look like a boob desperately in need of some public attention.

For he’s the one who is likely running against Tammy Duckworth’s political aspirations in the Democratic primary next year. As of yet, there is no serious GOP candidate (Rep. Joe Walsh, R-Ill., made it known this week he will run for a different district, challenging Rep. Randy Hultgren, R-Ill., in the Illinois 14th Congressional district).

THE FACT THAT Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is hosting a fundraiser for Raja on Oct. 12 and that Rep. Danny Davis, D-Ill., will do the same on Sept. 30 hasn’t erased the perception that Duckworth is the serious candidate in that district.

For his sake, I hope Krishnamoorthi doesn’t come across as Don Quixote. Because the Tea Party types have the potential to be a serious threat to too many people in our society.

They’re definitely not the political equivalent of a windmill.


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