Mo’ Money

Posted November 5, 2004 at 6:44pm

It was a bloody morning for Democratic soldiers, but the party’s fundraisers wasted no time after losing the election war in hitting up their most faithful warriors. [IMGCAP(1)]

On Thursday morning, the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, aka the House Democratic cheerleading squad, sent out a rah-rah letter to donors begging them for

money and putting a creative spin on the election outcome.

“Republicans unleashed every weapon in their arsenal to deliver a knockout blow to Congressional Democrats. They failed!” wrote Jim Bonham, the DCCC’s executive director.

The letter went on to explain that while President Bush carried 28 states and won a majority of the popular vote, “despite the loss of Senate seats in the south and midwest, and despite Tom DeLay and Karl Rove RE-redistricting Texas to force many Democrats to run in newly Republican majority areas, we successfully defended Democratic Members of the House, losing only one incumbent outside of Texas.”

Suffice it to say, plenty of Democrats were not only aghast — but felt gassed! Barely 24 hours had passed and the Democratic money machine already was breathing down their necks.

“My God. Give me 48 hours to regain my composure,” sighed one senior House Democratic aide. “All Democrats deserve to rest for a full 48 hours.”

And he added that if “failing” means “winning the White House, the House and the Senate, then I want to fail — real bad!”

A Democratic lobbyist who shared a post-defeat lunch with the aide also commented on the audacity of the DCCC asking the depressed and the weary to cough up more dough on the heels of the GOP’s trifecta.

“What are they smoking, crack?” the lobbyist asked.

To be sure, Bonham was apologetic in his fundraising letter but pointed out that Democrats still have those two critical House races in Louisiana to battle, contests that will now be decided in runoffs on Dec. 4.

“I can’t tell you how much I would prefer to just be thanking you, as opposed to asking for your help again. But with these two seats at stake on December 4, and no resources left, we can’t waste a moment,” Bonham wrote.

But another irate House Democratic aide said a more effective pitch would have been one “based on reality.” Of course Democrats are eager to win those two races in Louisiana, the aide said, adding, “But let’s just talk about it that way. Let’s not try to pull the wool over anyone’s eyes.”

He said that while he wouldn’t go so far as to characterize the thrust of the fundraising letter as dishonest, he felt that it “lacks the credibility that we need to regain control. … Some of these letters and pitches don’t help our cause.”

Yet another aide agreed that while life for the Democrats sucks right now, “We can’t sugarcoat the minority we’re living in. I think we really can move forward recognizing the loss.”

Greg Speed, the intrepid spokesman for the DCCC, said he was surprised to hear such criticism and questioned what in the world his colleagues were thinking in light of the two big races that lie ahead. “We’ve gotta raise money for two special elections for crying out loud!” Speed declared, becoming ever so slightly testy with HOH and the Democrats who were offended by the fundraising attack.

“There may be a handful of people who prefer naval gazing to winning elections,” he said. “We’re not apologizing for standing up right off the bat putting together a campaign” to win in Louisiana.

Spam. Vanessa Kerry sent out a thank-you letter Friday to supporters of her father’s failed presidential campaign. It was also, in part, an apology letter for some of her more notable H.M. (high maintenance) episodes.

“Thank you to those who endured my stressed out moments and snappy comments, thank you to those who put together events, thank you to those who dealt with my strange needs (e.g Chewy Sprees, almonds, a black tie dress 30 minutes before an event).”

Chip Off the Old Block. Some Republicans out there aren’t partaking in the “healing” approach that President Bush is taking to uniting the country after the bitterly partisan presidential contest. Hannah Josi, for one, isn’t having any of it.

Josi, a precocious 10-year-old and the daughter of veteran Republican political consultant Christian Josi, would much prefer to just kick ’em while they’re down. Josi, a local fifth grader, sent this e-mail to her Dad last Thursday:

“I heard from one of my friends from school that she heard from her parents that heard from the news that Kerry said that if you didn’t want your baby then you should kill it! Isn’t he evil?! Plus… I heard from Mom that he was going to higher the taxes. Kerry’s wife is stupid…. [redacted] and [redacted] hate her and I do too!”

Hannah got in a little hot water with her father for calling someone “stupid.” But Josi, the father, seemed both proud and incredulous of his kid.

Laughing at his daughter’s early onset of partisanship, he explained to HOH that the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. He said Hannah has grown up around politics and politicians and from a very early age has always been quite opinionated. After all, he said, “This is a kid who hung out with Jesse Helms once when she was 7 and loved it. Ann Coulter, meet your ‘Mini-me.’”

Hannah and her dad e-mail frequently. Another of her missives last week warned her father that if he didn’t vote, “P. Diddy will kill you.”

And when she was 3 years old, Hannah, her father said, sent a letter to her neighbor, Rep. Sue Kelly (R-N.Y.), asking her to impeach President Bill Clinton. She asked Kelly to “please vote to impeach Bill Clinton [sic]. Love, Hannah.”

Please send your hot tips, juicy gossip or comments to hoh@rollcall.com.