I'm having a little bit of deja vu this morning. When I did my post on the background to Cheney's Old Man Shooting Party, I reviewed the fundraiser that attracted Bush Pioneers from all over the country--including Katharine "Where's Waldo of Republican Warmongering" Armstrong, who owns Dick's shooting range--the annual fundraiser at the Broken Spoke Ranch. So I read several accounts of Bush, riding in a black Chevy Suburban, being driven by Camp Casey to go hobnob with his most
corrupt generous donors.
President Bush and his motorcade passed the growing camp of war protesters outside his ranch Friday without incident.
As Bush passed on his way to and from a political fundraiser, law enforcement blocked two intersecting roads where the demonstrators have camped out all week. Officers required the group to stand behind yellow tape, but no one was asked to leave.
The motorcade didn't stop.
And once again last week, even as 20 South Asian terrorists threatened to down 10 airliners headed to the US, Bush drove by Camp Casey to hit up his rich friends for cash.
On the way to the event at the Broken Spoke Ranch on a hot, cloudless day, the presidential motorcade drove past a scattering of anti-war protesters associated with Cindy Sheehan, whose soldier son died in Iraq. They waved signs like "WMD Lies Lost Lives."
Deja vu, right? Only with one key difference. Bush expected to raise only 38% this year of what he raised last year. And to do that, he had to lower the bar of entry, from those who donated $25,000 to those who donated $15,000.
Here are the important details from last year's party:
On Friday, Bush arrived before noon at a neighbor's ranch for a barbecue that was expected to raise at least $2 million for the Republican National Committee.
About 230 people were attending the fundraiser at Stan and Kathy Hickey's Broken Spoke Ranch, a 478-acre spread next to Bush's ranch. All have contributed at least $25,000 to the RNC, and many are "rangers," an honorary campaign title bestowed on those who raised $200,000 or more for Bush, or "pioneers," those who have raised $100,000 or more.
And the breaking details from this year's party:
The event at the Broken Spoke Ranch, owned by party activists Kathy and Stan Hickey, has been an annual one during Bush's presidency. This year, 350 attendees raised $750,000 for the Republican National Committee for giving to Republican candidates this fall.
Those invited were proven donors who in the past have contributed at least $15,000.
So it's taking them 120 more people to achieve results that are only 38% of what they achieved last year. $750,000 instead of $2 million. And last year wasn't even a campaign year.
Some of this is predictable. After all, consider all of the former Bush Pioneers who probably had to send regrets this year, either because they're in jail, on their way, or would have been if not for the heart attack: Jack Abramoff. Tom Noe. Ken Lay. Brent Wilkes. James Tobin. Ralph Reed. Tom Craddick. Tom DeLay. It's hard to continue to give at the $100,000 level when you need to save your pennies for a legal defense fund.
But they're also casting a wider net, expanding the invite list to those who gave only $15,000 people. Even when you attempt to keep such a tight circle of insiders as Bush does, when your insiders start going to jail, you end up having to cheapen that circle.
I guess Texas beef doesn't have the same allure it used to have.