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Dear Dems: We'll Give More If You'll Ask Less

04/02/2014 12:19 pm ET | Updated Jun 02, 2014

Just got another chatty email from Nancy Pelosi, who's been checking in with me regularly for years. She filled me in on the latest happenings in her House and then, in lieu of asking how I was doing, she suggested I give money to a certain Democratic campaign fund.

An hour or so before, a cheerful e-missive from Barack Obama, who also stays in close touch, had arrived. Barack knows how busy I am, so he got right to the point and asked for a "quick favor" (aka a donation) to the same fund.

Sandwiched between the pleas from Barack and Nancy was yet another email appeal -- this one from Jim Messina -- to get behind that selfsame fund. But where Nancy and Barack were upbeat, Jim was upset. He wrote about the "sick crap" coming from the opposition. He was right, of course, but his tone reminded me of that dumb song "Angry Eyes" he recorded with Kenny Loggins all those years ago. (For what it's worth, I wondered if maybe he's still bitter because he peaked during the '60s when he was in Buffalo Springfield. Or maybe it's a different Jim Messina, angry that he never was a rock star.)

Glancing through the rest of the day's emails, I discovered two more about that Dem campaign fund -- one from John and other from Neeti. I don't know John or Neeti nearly as well as well as I know Nancy, Barack and Jim -- I don't know them at all, in fact -- but I was delighted that they were "blown away" by the money already raised. Thinking that maybe my previous donations were sufficient, I began to exhale. Then they lowered the boom(s) -- yep, they needed still more dollars.

My exhaling having been thwarted, I resolved to focus on my in-breath by meditating. No sooner did I hit the cushion than my mind fixated on an email from Michelle, which seemed, I have to say, a bit passive-aggressive. Michelle wanted me to fork over some bucks to prove I "have Barack's back." I was taken aback, because I've had Barack's back since back in the day.

All these folks urgently needed my donation right away, preferably that very instant. There were deadlines to meet, goals to reach, projections to beat. The subject lines suggested that the apocalypse was indeed upon us. The Dems had been "pummeled" and suffered both a "jaw-dropping" and a "heart-wrenching defeat." (Note to copywriters: try "heart-rending," unless you're referring to Black Ops sites, in which case "heart-renditioning.") The forces for good were dealt a "crushing blow," the Dems were "utterly crushed" and "devastated" by various "terrible," "scary" and "shocking" developments. The most-repeated word was "doomed."

Granted, these are especially tough times for the left in the aftermath of Citizens United, which opened the super-big money floodgates for the Kochs, Adelsons et al. If desperation got results, the relentless whimpering/badgering might be tolerable. But in the long run, how can it be effective? We love underdogs. We don't like self-pity.

I'd give more if I were asked less. So would most of us.

From: Michael Sigman ‪‬
To: Barack Obama, Nancy Pelosi
Date: Tuesday, April 1, 2014 at 2:14 PM
Subject: Hey

Barack, Nancy,

Thanks for asking for money. Again. How about this: you guys deliver on immigration reform, climate change or jobs -- just one of the three -- and I'll give you $1,000.

--Michael