Saturday, April 08, 2006

I Raised Money for the Democrats

And I did a good job to boot. The tale of how I could betray what I know is right is long and interesting, but not the subject of this post. An abbreviated version is appropriate however:

I started watching McNeil/Lerher at a very young age, maybe six. By the time I was eleven or so, I realized that the fellow's they had from Cato were always the most reasonable. The free hours of my high school years were spent with girls, keg parties, and the symphonic orchestra. No time for TV or politics.

I went to college after HS as an Economics student. I hated being a business student, and I dropped out after a couple of semesters.

A few months later, some friends approached me and asked if I wanted to go to a Grateful Dead show. That was all she wrote: I put in my two weeks notice at work, removed a sizeable chunk of money from the bank, and hooked up with the tour in Nobelsville, Indiana. It was liberty. It was all I wanted. It was what I did till Jerry Garcia died in 1995.

The week after Jerry died, I enrolled back in school, this time as a political science student. I like politics, especially philosophy, nearly as much as I like the Dead. It was a perfect fit. I was an honor student, and well liked by most of my professors. I knew my sh*t. I was 27.

In the spring of 1996, I was asked to submit an essay on why I should be allowed to go as an intern to the Democrat or Republican conventions, and to pick which one I'd prefer if chosen. Naturally my first choice would have been the Libertarian convention, but that wasn't an option. So I chose the GOP.

I was later told that all three slots were taken for the trip to San Diego, but one professor had pushed for me to go to one of the conventions. He is a really great guy, even though he is a Yellow Dog Democrat. Anyway, I said OK. I'd been to Chicago several times by this point, I always had a great time, and I have several friends there; so I still looked forward to the trip, even though I knew most of the people I'd be surrounded by were loons.

Lots of stuff happened at that convention that will make most readers shake their heads and chuckle: I asked Sam Donaldson and Bob Schaeffer about the Oliver North/Bill Clinton connection...hoo boy! Deer in headlights! That's a story for another day.

The outfit I got assigned to was a group called Democratic Leadership for the 21st Century, or DL21C. My job as volunteer coordinator was to sell tickets to a bash at the Navy Pier. The party was to have Los Lobos, Steven Baldwin, CSN, Al Gore, and a host of other celeb's as guests.

The offices that had been set up for DL21C were in the Merchandise Mart. Getting to them was rather interesting: take the freight elevator to the third floor, then take the middle elevator of the elevator's on the north side of the hallway to the sixth floor, cross the hall to the elevator on the south, and go down to the fifth floor,... Anyway, the office was toward the end of a hallway. At the end of the hall was a room full of desks and telephones, the name on the door said Cook County Department of Education. Next to that office was another that had fold-away tables with telephones. The name on that door said that it was the office of the Chicago teachers union (NEA). I kid you not, I could open all three doors at once.

Ninety percent of the fundraising calls the interns (yes, we were getting graded for our work) made were from the office of the teacher's union. Some of those calls are stories all their own, whew. One day however, I had about ten more volunteers than phones. No problem. The man in charge of DL21C had keys to the DoE office as well.

That's right, about ten interns (I wonder how many had government grants/loans) spent an afternoon on taxpayer-financed telephones and office space raising money for the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign. Hell, it might have even been illegal to use the union office, but hey, DL21C-Chicago had those keys as well.

I don't know how much money was raised. The "cheap seats" were $75 and the balcony seats were $250. There were probably 250-300 "unwashed" (those were the $75 folks. They were referred to as "unwashed" by one of the organizers) , and probably 100 or so of the $250 people.

Al and Tipper showed up (it was the second time that week I was within rock throwing distance of that clown), CSN didn't. I wonder how many purchased tickets just to see CSN? I wonder how many got their money back? Steven Baldwin was there. Man! I hadn't seen someone that drunk since...well, the night before. What a slob. He looked like he'd slept in his clothes, and he smelled of booze and tobacco (you know the smell).

Well, that's the story of how I broke the law to help elect Bill Clinton. On the plus side, I did get an "A".


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why didn't you say something back in '96? I guess it wouldn't have done any good, but still, you should have said something.

What's this about North and Clinton? That sounds even more interesting than illegal fundraising.

I like your new page. This is A1 from your other page, not that ass, A3.

7:40:00 AM  
Blogger Marshall said...

Of course you couldn't handle an economics degree or being a business student, it takes a male who’d call himself a Democrat to tackle something like that.

You are the classic example of the burned out hippies that are now Republicans. You screwed up our country and now we are going to take it back.

3:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...

A1, I did say something. I was interviewed by radio, tv, and online. I told everybody. Even Steve Scully from C-Span caught up with me.

Re: North & Clinton. I'll not get into the complete story, but this is what was being said at the time: North was working undercover to fund the Contras from Arkansas.

Sound unbelievable? Only one governor sent National Guard troops to Nicaragua, Bill Clinton.

Thanks for stopping by A1.

7:23:00 PM  
Blogger The Plumber said...


To be specific, I don't like being bored. I love economics though. In fact, my favorite authors are economists. I often quote Hayek, von Mises, & Freidman. Heck, I even quote your hero, Karl Marx, even though he knew nothing about human nature.

btw, I'll be getting my BA in economics in the Fall of 2007, unless my business keeps me out of commission (which happened this semester).

You are the classic example of the burned out hippies that are now Republicans. You screwed up our country and now we are going to take it back.

First of all, I'm a Libertarian. I will probably change parties very soon.

I'm not sure what I screwed up, or what you intend on taking back. I don't even think you know. I'll tell ya what though, I can provide evidence to prove that most of the problems we have here in the US can be laid squarely at the feet of the Democrats. Wanna dance?

You must feel like sh*t. You are made to look stupid by not only a blue-collar schlub, but a burned-out hippy. Though to be fair, I never looked like a hippy. I like short hair, shaving, and bathing daily.

Who took your testicles Marshall? Was it some teacher? Your mommy? Your girlfriend? Boyfriend? Or have you been a castrati for so long that you can't remember what happened to them?

Just keep reading my blog though. I will have hints and tips on becoming a man.

7:59:00 PM  

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