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Oliver Willis Headshot

Just Who Do These Rich Clinton Donors Think They Are?

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The more I read about the rich donors who told Nancy Pelosi to shut up, the more angry I get. I may not agree with her on quite a few issues, but Speaker Pelosi is second in line to the presidency, the first woman to hold her position and a figure demanding of respect -- especially from people who are supposed to be her fellow Democrats. These guys seriously think that because they went to a fancy fundraiser or maybe played a round of golf with the ex-president that they really are better than the rest of us. They have every right to add their voice to the chorus supporting Sen. Clinton, but they have no place, no standing, no right to order the Speaker around.

These people are symptomatic, quite frankly, of the negative that came along with all the good President Clinton did during his tenure. The moribund liberal wing of the party, defanged after the losses of Carter, Mondale, and Dukakis, gave way to the big check writers, the elite crowd whose cash did prop up the party for the short term and helped President Clinton gain his office. But for the Democratic party and the progressive movement they have been a waste. Just look at the congressional seats lost during Clinton's tenure, look at how unprepared the party was to field a coast-to-coast slate of candidates under Terry McAuliffe's leadership -- a party chairmanship that was all about fundraising to the exclusion of getting majorities and a president elected.

But the Clintons and the moneybags crowd have not learned. That's why they tried to throw their money around in Michigan and re-do the primary. That's why the Clinton campaign is now faltering at fundraising, having maxed out these whales she doesn't have the pool of Average Joe donors (like myself) that Sen. Obama will have in the general who have not come close to the $2,300 limit. That's why, as their anointed candidate began to fail they just cut another of their fat checks to form a 527 committee whose work product is horrendous compared to the work of groups like MoveOn and the labor unions. Sure, wealthy donors help fund some of those efforts as well, but they are truly nothing without their regular Joe volunteers and members. And none of those groups is so in love with themselves that they believe that they can tell Speaker Pelosi what she can and cannot say.

We poor unwashed masses, lacking mansions and minks and chauffeurs, elected Rep. Pelosi to the position of Speaker via our representatives in the House. We may not have tee times at the golf club, a yacht parked on the intra coastal, nor do we feed our pets prime rib -- but we know that the Speaker is to be afforded a modicum of respect.

This is the stain that remains on the party even after the events of Crashing The Gate were documented by Markos Moulitsas and Jerome Armstrong. These are the hangers-on who look down their plastic surgery noses at Governor Dean's 50-state strategy and his middle class demeanor even as the party begins to regain its role as a truly national party. These are the people who think nothing -- nothing -- of throwing a tantrum because us people, us regular Joes and Janes, had the gall to not vote and caucus for the candidate they bankrolled and sought to shove down our gullets the way they always do. Instead we chose to vote for a candidate whose donor base is almost 2 million strong. Just like a couple of weeks ago when they were demanding refunds of their donations to the party they thought they owned they are once again trying to tell us they bought the Democratic Party the same way they bought a diamond necklace at Tiffany's for their trophy wife.

Not any more. The Democratic Party is once again becoming little-d democratic. A party where the rich guys have a say, but so do the regular guys. Speaker Pelosi speaks for us, from Park Avenue to Georgetown to Skid Row to Baltimore to The Lower 9th Ward and beyond.

And you respect her, or shut up.

[More coverage at OliverWillis.com]