Sitting in on a civics class taught by Mayor Chickenpooper for $500,000? I'm there. Particularly if he's going to be as cogent as he is here:
Part of the challenge raising money for the Democratic National Convention is that fundraisers have no access to sell, Mayor John Hickenlooper said in a blunt assessment this week.
“What could (donors) ask that I could give?” said Hickenlooper, who has traveled around the country to solicit donations. “I kept saying, ‘Ask me for something,’ right? All's I can do is give them a better hotel room. For $250,000, you want to get three blocks closer? That's not the way the world works out there, right? I can't promise them that they're going to get to meet anybody.”
According to a June 3 report by The Campaign Finance Institute, “the Democrats are offering $250,000+ donors invitations to ‘private events’” with Hickenlooper and others, including Colo. Gov. Bill Ritter, U.S. Sen. Ken Salazar and U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette.
“A special feature in Denver will be the ‘Symposia of the Rockies’ organized by Mayor Hickenlooper,” the report also notes. “This will consist of ten issue-oriented ‘conversations’ among six to twelve participants to be co-hosted by $100,000 to $500,000 donors.” . . .
What could they ask that I could give? I kept saying, "Ask me for something," right? All's I can do is give them a better hotel room. For $250,000, you want to get three blocks closer? That's not the way the world works out there, right? I can't promise them that they're going to get to meet anybody. They're all looking at...That's why it's been so hard. The convention really is more about showcasing Denver and it doesn't provide any...Most donors that are giving money to this convention are - I would say this is true of the lion's share - are doing it out of some noblesse oblige, some patriotic sense of obligation, that they want to support the democratic process and that they'll look good in doing that. That's kind of the limit, right. They're not getting...maybe they get to go to some special parties or if there's a concert at Red Rocks or whatever. But again, for a $250,000 check, or a $1 million check, most people are writing these checks because they think it's the right thing to do. And that's why it's been so hard. Trust me, if we had access to sell, we would have been able to...if we had something to sell, it wouldn't have been this hard.It's okay, John. Okay. (Gesturing to male nurses.) Now, just hand me your belt, tie and shoelaces. Yes, your suspenders, too, John.
Update: Clueless Post columnist Susan Greene gives the ACLU-R68 point of view on Hick's recent problems:
Disappointment cuts deep lately for John Hickenlooper.Boohoo, indeed.
First, a jazz singer belted out the wrong lyrics at his State of the City convocation.
"I feel we were deceived," Denver's mayor complained.
Then Hickenlooper griped that he is "sorely disappointed" in the American Civil Liberties Union for suing the city and, in his view, challenging his commitment to civil rights during August's Democratic National Convention.
"As someone who has always supported free speech, it's disappointing to be judged that way and lumped into that stereotype," he says.
Update III: Dan Haley is worried about gridlock.
Update IV: Chuck Plunkett has a story on the logistics of converting the Pepsi Center into a convention hall, a task which begins tomorrow.
Update V: No access: it's the new patriotism!