Magazine article Insight on the News

Limousine Liberals Are Democrats' Unnoticed Power

Magazine article Insight on the News

Limousine Liberals Are Democrats' Unnoticed Power

Article excerpt

Rich Republicans -- plutocrats writing campaign checks with one hand as they beat their liveried servants with the other -- were a major theme in coverage of the GOP convention. Democrats will pick up the beat at their gathering next week.

Republicans may have had Little Orphan Annies on the stage, but the party relies on an army of Daddy Warbucks to pay the freight, liberal commentators told us.

The focus was on the Republican Regents -- 139 well-heeled individuals and corporations who've given the party $250,000 apiece since January 1999. Among other perks, Regents played golf with former Cabinet members, had cocktails with retired Gen. Colin Powell and attended a Tiffany & Co. gala where soup was served in mock Faberge eggs.

To reinforce this image, the media disclosed that 41 percent of the Philly delegates earn in excess of $100,000 annually. And you always thought that the parties recruited convention delegates among Kmart shoppers!

Neither party would easily be mistaken for residents of public housing. Of delegates to the last Democratic national convention, 35 percent had six-figure incomes. Of the six richest U.S. senators, five are members of the self-styled "party of the proletariat" including Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry (net worth: $620 million), Herbert Kohl of Wisconsin ($300 million) and West Virginia's Jay Rockefeller ($200 million).

Someone forgot to tell Jon Corzine to park his stretch limo in the GOP lot. Corzine just spent $36.7 million, almost all of it his own money, to win the Democratic Senate primary in New Jersey. That's more than the Regents gave Republicans in 18 months.

Between Jan. 1, 1999, and March 31, 2000, Republicans collected $86.4 million in soft-money contributions, compared to the Democrats' $77 million. Republicans had the advantage of controlling both houses of Congress.

In March, Democrats broke all records for a single fund-raising event, with an affair at the MCI Center in Washington. Thousands may have paid $50 each for pork ribs with the president. But the bulk of the event's $26.5 million came from 26 cochairs who gave a half-minion dollars each, 21 vice chairs who anted up $250,000 apiece and 42 friends, whose esteem took the form of checks for $50,000.

Which party has more middle-class support? The Republican National Committee reports its contributions on a monthly basis and discloses its average donation, usually less than $100. …

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