Advancing a Free Society

My Dinner with Barack

Thursday, March 15, 2012

As a hobby of sorts (and because I’m also a cheapskate and it don't cost nothin'), I like to sign up for campaigns’ free emails – to see what messages they’re pitching, and new ways they’ve devised to pick my pocket.

In that latter regard, President Obama’s re-elect hasn’t disappointed. Here’s what I found in my in-box earlier this morning:

Friend --

I've set aside time for four supporters like you to join me for dinner.

Most campaigns fill their dinner guest lists primarily with Washington lobbyists and special interests.

We didn't get here doing that, and we're not going to start now. We're running a different kind of campaign. We rely on everyday Americans giving whatever they can afford, and I want to spend time with the folks who make this possible.

That's why if you make a donation now, you'll be automatically entered for a chance to be my guest for dinner. Please donate $3 or more today.

I always look forward to meeting supporters like you, and this will be the kind of casual meal among friends that I don't get to have as often as I'd like anymore. So I hope you'll consider joining me.

But I'm not asking you to donate today just for a chance to meet me. I'm asking you to chip in if you believe in the kind of politics that gives people like you a seat at the table -- whether it's at the dinner table with me or the table where decisions are made about what kind of country we want to be.

It starts with a gift of whatever you can afford.

Please make a donation of $3 or more today, and we'll throw your name in the hat:

I've said before that I want people like you to shape this campaign. This is your chance to share your ideas with me face to face.

Hope to see you soon,


I love the timing of this missive given: (a) last night’s White House state dinner in honor of British Prime Minister David Cameron, featuring such “regular folks” as George Clooney, Vogueeditor Anna Wintour (the real-life Devil Wears Prada) and 40-or-so fat-cat money bundlers (here’s the dinner list); (b) Karl Rove’s Wall Street Journal column suggesting Obama 2012 might be underperforming on the fundraising front – that $1 billion target not as easy as they’d envisioned.

Feel free to enter the dinner sweepstakes if you like – even if it’ll cost you the same as a bottle of “Three-Buck Chuck” (speaking of no-so-bargain domestics, the White House isn’t sayingwhat American wines were consumed at Wednesday night’s dinner).

The cynic in me says your odds of winning will improve significantly if you (a) hail from a “swing” state and (b) fall into one of the following categories:

  1. Working single mother deeply concerned about the rising cost of gasoline birth control;
  2. Latino college student from the Rockies or Sierras;
  3. Returned Iraq veteran who just got some sweet financing on his/her previously foreclosed home;
  4. Upstart organic farmer (gotta keep the First Lady happy if “friends” are crashing her house for supper);
  5. African-American faith-based social worker;
  6. Midwestern small businessman – ideally, buying and selling used officeware from failed Bain Capital ventures.

Best of luck, and enjoy your dinner if you make the cut.