Category Archives: Fundraising

More Asher and Rudy Talk

While I was off at a professional conference I missed this ABC story— brought to my attention by Josh at The Morning Call– suggesting that Team Giuliani is trying to square a tricky circle with Bob Asher.

Some people– ahem– suggested months ago that aligning with Asher may be politically necessary, but perhaps less than ideal.  For those who’s memories need refreshing, Asher did time in the big house for his participation in the corruption scandal that make public suicide an attractive option to Bud Dwyer.

Since then, Asher has somewhat rehabilitated his image.  He is still a major PA rainmaker, participating intimately in the Kean, Ridge, Specter, and Bush II organizations.  For a time, it appeared he would have some sort of official role with the Giuliani campaign as well.

Well, it appears the campaign is trying to place some distance between Hizzoner and Asher, which is probably wise, even though it was probably wise for him to solicit Asher’s help in the first place.  One wonders, though.  Giuliani’s popularity has always been high in the Keystone State.  Given this, perhaps Asher’s help could have been less vigorously sought.

Of course, there always something to be said from addition by subtraction.  At least Asher wasn’t out raising money for someone elsewhile he was arranging fundraising events in the Philadelphia suburbs for Giuliani.

Want Cheese w/that Whine, Mitt?

Gee willakers, it seems like my part-time pro-Rudy blogging avocation trends frequently towards Mitt-bashing.  I really wish it didn’t work out that way.  I would love to snark more about McCain, Fred, and the Huckster.

Thing is, Romney makes it so gosh-darned easy.  He won’t give a guy a break.

His campaign recently took time off from suggesting he call Obama “Osama”, and supportingscurrilous anti-Fred Thompson websites to complain to a humble– if establishmentarian– PA blogger about a polygamy joke.

Our friends at Pennsyltucky Politics– that’s the royal “we”, mind you– made a somewhat unoriginal joke at the expense of Romney’s Mormonosity by commenting he and his “17 wives” would be swinging through Philadelphia to scrounge up some donated cash to help offset the mammoth loans he’s giving his own campaign out of his pocket.

Please note that while the joke may be unoriginal, Pennsyltucky Politics is at a disadvantage because we are nowhere near the point where jokes about multiple wives have actually stopped being funny.

Well, Mitt’s communications people have sent Pennstyltucky Politics a mildly scolding note which has apparently inspired a collegial apology. Take it for what you will.

I take it thusly:  If Mormons are so mainstream, and just like everyone else, why skin so thin that they go out of their way to scold a regional blogger?  You think Giuliani gets cranky at Italian jokes?  Do you think he takes criticisms of the Spanish Inquisition personally?

Here, I’ll take a test flight and see if I get a call from Team Rudy: Giuliani is Torquemada to petty drug dealers and transvestite hookers that used to do brisk trade in Times Square.  Disappointed NYT reporters lament this Mayoral mafioso’s ascent.

To learn more about the Church of Latter-Day Saints click here.

Raising PA Ducats

Mayor Giuliani has raised more money out of Pennsylvania than any other GOP candidate, we learn here.

[Piece by the ever helpful Josh Drobnyk, who continues to kick the big papers’ collective behinds on campaign ’08 coverage, although the HT goes to Keystone Politics]

Hillary has a similar lead over her competition in the state.

The Dems are raising more cash in PA than the GOP, which mirrors national trends.  More interestingly, the margin by which PA Dems are raising more cash over the GOP is even higher in PA than it is in states like NY and CA.  This is a little odd.

Some theorize this indicates PA is getting increasingly solidly “blue”.  I have commented elsewhere that this analysis is simplistic, and ignores a clear data point:  The GOP in PA is particularly dysfunctional.

The grassroots that blow to the right in our Commonwealth increasingly view the PA GOP leadership as an incestuous band of logrollers and featherbedders that more resemble Teamsters than fiscal conservatives when it comes to financial responsibility.  The Highmark merger, irrelevant presidential primary, anemic candidate recruitment, legislative pay-raise hangover, and inability to deal with gambling and property taxes all contribute to internal dissatisfaction here in the GOP.

It’s death by a thousand pin-pricks.  None of these issues, and others I have not mentioned, amounts to much individually.  But most GOP voters in the state don’t have to look hard to find some local GOP politico keyed into the party leadership that acts like a preening self-interested buffoon.

Of course, the climate is similar nationally.  It’s just even worse here, although probably not as bad as it is in, say, Ohio.  This explains why GOP money is staying in modest interest bearing accounts here and all over the country.

That said, the second it becomes official that Mrs. Clinton is the Dem. nominee for the general election and voters have the opportunity to seriously ponder the prospect of being hectored by Mrs. Clinton for four years I bet the purse stings will loosen up.  So I do not think things are as bleak nationally as many others do.  After all, here in PA Giuliani runs tight against Clinton in hypothetical general election polls despite all of the institutional handicaps the GOP brings to the game.

Hizzoner Tears Hillary a New One in PA Stop

Mayor Giuliani took a swing through western PA early this week.  In addition to attending a fundraiser and doing some shopping in Pittsburgh, he also visited Canonsburg, where he took an opportunity to criticize Ms. Clinton.  [Coverage here, HT Keystone Politics]  Hillary said believing General Petraeus at his recent appearance before Congress required a “willing suspension of disbelief.”

Giuliani commented to reporters “I don’t even know what that means.  It sounds like it means that we shouldn’t believe him. I don’t think she has any right to put his credibility in question…This is really outrageous…”

He further described Petraeus as “a great American general whether you agree with him or not…I agree with him, but even if I didn’t agree with him I would respect him…”  He continued “I think everyone realizes he is an honest man, an honorable man, and he is doing the best he can to give America victory in Iraq, which is a lot more than a lot of politicians are doing.”

This is entirely consistent with remarks he offered during a recent radio appearance in Georgia, where he was busy raising $350k in three days:  “Oh gosh, I think that between [Gen. Petraeus] and Hillary Clinton, I’d kind of take his advice on what’s going on in Iraq, don’t you think? And I really do think to accuse a general of the ‘willing suspension of disbelief,’ …that’s not…a responsible way to go about, you know, forging the foreign policy of the United States and the military policy of the United States.  I think this name calling…that is the last thing we need right now.  What we need right now is a reasoned account, we need statesmanship not political venom.”  [“The Randy and Spiff Show”, HT NRO]

I think we can assume Team Giuliani is pretty sure Hillary will be winning the Dem nod.  Edwards and Obama aren’t even worth attacking.

Ridge/McCain Say “Shut Up & Do What I Say”

Mitt Romney will be coming through Philadelphia next week, attempting to ride his recent momentum and rake in some Main Line money.  Alas, he will find a nice poll in Iowa means nothing here in Pennsylvania.  Also, Tom Ridge was recently pimping for Amnesty McCain in Harrisburg.  [HT Josh]

In fact, the well-liked former Governor implied he was okay with the fact his own home state is an electoral phosphene in the presidential primary, shrugging off his preferred candidate’s weakness in his own backyard saying “For the time being, the polls in Pennsylvania are what they are. We’re focused on the polls in Iowa, South Carolina and New Hampshire, and Rudy would like to have our kind of numbers there.”

Well, does that sound to you like someone who has the best interests of our Commonwealth at the top of his agenda?  Me neither.  Even running for Veep makes politicians compromise their values, despite the fact the job has been described as not even worth “a pitcher of warm piss“.

I make note here of why the polls in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina will not matter much for Team Giuliani this cycle.  Long story short:  Immediately after those primaries California and New York will have their primaries.  If Giuliani can’t win those states he has no business running for president.  And he almost certainly will win those states.  Michigan, Texas, and Florida will also hold primaries about the same time, and Giuliani should win two of those.

Wouldn’t it be nice if Pennsylvania was in that mix?  Tom Ridge may not think so, but I do.  Roger Simon [I think] was on Michael Smerconish’s show this morning suggesting we may be wise to keep our primary where it is.  We could be king-makers, he says.  Perhaps GOP voters will have “buyer’s remorse” after Feb. 5, he posits.  He makes two fundamental errors here.

First, he seems to think voters in later primaries will somehow channel the national mood.  That is plain wrong.  Voters in any given state channel their own mood.  Also, the idea that Pennsylvania will be lost in the shuffle of a Feb. 5 primary is laughable.  We have something like the 5th most delegates, and New Jersey and Delaware are already having early primaries, which means media buys in Philadelphia will do triple duty.  The same will apply in Pittsburgh vis a vis West Virginia, and Ohio’s primary is in early March, so there will be some handy bleed-over there.  The candidates are already paying our Commonwealth a smidgen of attention, despite our irrelevance.  I imagine we are easy to fit into an itinerary.  So if we want to be kingmakers, we need to move our primary date to Feb. 5.

Braman Joins Team Rudy

Former owner of the Philadelphia Eagles, Norman Bramen, has joined Team Giuliani.  So let me take a moment to remind Eagle’s fans that Norman Braman is a pretty awesome dude.

Believe me, I know as an owner of a football team he could have been better.  But as a man he is top notch.  He has spectacularly succeeded at something like four different careers, from owning a retail drug store chain in Pennsylvania to being a legend in luxury car sales in Florida.  He also sits on numerous boards, including no less than three prominent Jewish non-profits, including the National Holocaust Memorial Council.  Finally, his Foundation gives away a ton of money.

Seems to me a politician interested in scaring up both money and votes could do a lot worse than Braman.  Furthermore, in this particular case, Giuliani and Braman go way back.  Norman was nominated to head up the INS by Reagan back in the early 80’s.  Giuliani, at the time, was the lawyer in the Justice Department primarily responsible for interacting with the INS.

Braman was never confirmed, as his desire to jump headlong into cleaning up the department cheesed off way too many career bureaucrats.  It seems he was to the INS what John Bolton recently was to the UN.  It appears, though, Rudy and Braman were pretty simpatico when it came to a desire to reform government, and their relationship continues.

PA Leadership Conference Straw Poll: Rudy Leads All Presidential Candidates

The above may be a little deceptive.  Because Hizzoner actually finished tied for second, with Newt.  Keep in mind, though, that Newt was actually speaking there.  Both had around 16 points.  Romney had something like 12.  Fred Thompson, though, slaughtered the field with 35 or so.

This conference is put on by Pennsylvania grassroots conservatives, not the GOP party faithful.  This is the first time I attended, and I can say this group clearly represents the political center of gravity when it comes to Republican political activism in PA.  Of course, there may have been a couple Blue Dog Democrats prowling about as well.

Do I think Giuliani would have scored better if his campaign were not so close to a couple prominent state GOP insiders greatly detested by this group?  Yep.  I know Team Giuliani has to take support from where it is offered in the GOP tent.  And the insiders that repulse these activists will help with  fundraising.  That is important.

But those insiders don’t deliver votes any more.   The folks at the Leadership Conference are the people that will generate votes in a presidential primary, and the general election.  His 16 points indicates he can indeed win these people over, even though we will never stop hearing how Giuliani can’t win over the right wing of the party.  But getting doubled up by a candidate who has not even announced ain’t good.

Aside:  McCain, the man favored by many insiders, only scored a point or two.  He and Ron Paul were about even.  Any wonder why the men and women who pull the strings don’t want us to have a relevant primary?

UPDATE:  A point I mentioned at this site, but did not mention here, deserves emphasis:  Note how well candidates who do not have to publicly associate with any PA GOP insider did in this poll.  If Newt or Thompson were to announce, the minute they were pictured standing next to any number of prominent GOP insiders their support with this crowd would plummet.  Given this, Giuliani’s showing was very strong.  But there’s still a lot of work to do.

Rudy Fundraiser With The Philadelphia Orchestra In The Offing?

First off, in answer to this post’s title, the answer is “no”.  Many classical musicians themselves are often liberal.  But if they weren’t the presence of the Giuliani campaign’s PA financial co-chairs would make such a fundraiser a lucrative possibility.  Since Hizzoner is a rennaisance man who enjoys opera as much as he enjoys the Yankees, it would even make sense!

Here’s a brief introduction to these gentlemen, both of whom will be great assets to the campaign, especially in the politically critical southeastern suburbs.  Conventional wisdom is Giuliani’s state level organization is lacking, and he will thus ultimately get whacked by the McCain folks, who have been organized for years, and the Romney folks who seem to have big pockets and pre-existing social networks.

This coventional wisdom may never completely die– see the patronizing tropes about social conservatives being allegedly ignorant of the mayor’s record– but the presence of these gentlemen will help people see Giuliani’s campaign is developing an organization as robust as the Mayor’s early polling.

Manuel Stamatakis:

This man did God’s work at Drexel University, helping strengthen a great school that actually gives the world things like engineers and doctors rather than useless Philosophy majors like me.  I got to know him at a distance when I worked for The Philadelphia Orchestra.  He sits on that board, along with a gazillion others, and also headed up the Greater Philadelphia Tourism and Marketing Corporation, a public/private entity that promotes Philadelphia.

At the GPTMC I saw up close the initiatives he was able to engineer, very charmingly negotiating the politically Byzantine byways of Philadelphia’s cultural elite.  That community hides a number of sinecured patronage shade-trees among some of the most brilliant and accomplished people alive, and the fact he was able to work for the interests of the latter while avoiding agitation of the former speaks well of him.

Mitchell Morgan:

Many may be familiar with him because of his gigantic Main Line estate which has inspired envy amongst his neighbors who have apparently never seen “The Philadelphia Story” and think big houses in the Philadelphia suburbs are a new thing.  What most of them probably do not know is the man payed for his education selling shoes, and is remarkably generous with his real estate fortune, giving boatloads of money to cultural, healthcare, and educational charities.  His wife, I think, also sits on The Philadelphia Orchestra’s board.

Political folks are probably most familiar with him as he helped shake loose a bunch of donations for Rick Santorum, and now he is with Team Rudy.  For those in the Commonwealth suspecting Giuliani isn’t conservative enough, I refer them to Morgan.

Romney’s Heavy PA Hitter

Interesting interview from Josh with Charles Kopp, the new tip of Mitt Romney’s financial spear here in Pennsylvania.  I hereby submit this slogan for Josh’s work:  Keeping primary sources available for this blog’s exploitation 24/7.  Writing here near-daily would be impossible without him.

Interesting things about background on Kopp not from the interview:

Likes to write four-figure checks for Arlen Specter.

Former big cheese at law firm WolfBlock [formerly Wolf, Block, Schorr, and Solis-Cohen], arguably the most politically keyed in law firm here in Pennsylvania.  It is probably important to note the most influential Philadelphia law firm nationally is probably Blank, Rome.  I think a bunch of those guys are for Edwards.

Kopp is bi-partisan with his financial donations, having also sent money to former Congressman Bill Gray, Clinton’s advisor on Haitan affairs.  Happened to sit on the corporate boards of Dell, JP Morgan Chase, and Rockwell International at the time.  Gray retired from the House to run the United Negro College Fund.

We learn Kopp organized Romney’s first major fund-raiser at the Union League.  Charlie seems to think this helped people see Romney in an intimate environment.  While I acknowledge the League’s membership doesn’t quite run Philadelphia the way it used to, I think that venue really just comfortingly murmurs “insider” to those inclined to find that message comforting.

[Aside:  I happen to find Union League events delightful in an old-school sort of way, even though most people tend to find it stuffy, even oppressive.  Of course, some people find me stuffy, exhibiting mannerisms and habits of a bygone age.  I am conservative after all!  Those of you unfamiliar with the club may know it from the movie “Trading Places”.  It is the home club of the patrician Duke brothers from which Dan Ackroyd’s character was ejected after being framed for stealing.]

Upstate GOP Insider Confirms This is Giuliani and McCain Country

Josh Drobnyk has a short interview on his blog with Bob Ames, GOP committeeman for the northeast central region.  That’s the Lehigh Valley to you and me.  In it, he declares a personal preference for McCain and Giuliani, and claims that if PA does indeed have a GOP straw poll in June– as is being proposed– those two candidates would receive the bulk of the support.

This is interesting because  my gut tells me actual conservative voters can’t stand McCain.  Their animosity may be unfair.  It may be disproportionate to his offenses, as Bill Bennett suggested on his radio program this morning.  But it is so.  So as I suspected a straw poll is merely a way to enhance the party’s influence at the expense of actual voters, who currently will simply have an opportunity to irrelevantly express their meaningless feelings on the matter of the leader of the free world in a political farce of a primary in April.

I am, though, gratified to see Mitt Romney continues to garner actual support in inverse proportion to his fundraising.  I’m sure he would make a fine President, but he has always disconcerted me.  It is not the fact he doesn’t toe the conservative party line, or that he vacillates on his positions, or that he’s a Mormon, which I think we can charitably say makes him unusual.  It’s not even the fact that he’s a venture capitalist, a class of people about which I have heard generally unkind reviews.

He’s always seemed insincere to me.  He could tell me he loves his mother, and I would suspect he decided to declare maternal affection for utilitarian reasons.  I do not think he is unprincipled or immoral.  I just get the feeling every waking breath he takes is somehow, perhaps unconsciously, calibrated towards furthering his ambition.  I know that is part of the skill set necessary to take residence at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.  But I don’t need to be reminded of it.