Democrats sometimes disagree with each other over the extent to which class-based “populist” appeals are appropriate or effective.
But on occasion, Republicans just make it all too easy for us. That’s definitely true with the revelations that are beginning to seep out about the RNC’s Young Eagles donor program aimed at budding plutocrats with time and money on their hands. We still don’t quite know how the YE’s wound up footing a bill at a bondage-themed club in LaLaLand (though it seems it was an after-party following an RNC event in Beverly Hills). But a scintillating story by Politico‘s Kenneth Vogel gives us a glimpse into the Richie Rich psychology of the program:
“We do events that a specific demographic will like, so it will love us and give us money and vote for us,” said David Norcross, a former RNC general counsel and current committeeman who was briefed by Steele on the RNC’s plan to revamp its reimbursement and expense-approval process for all programs in the wake of the controversy.
“And, when you’re dealing with young people, it’s probably a good idea to go off the beaten track a little bit and do things you think they might like.” Norcross said. “Just because a couple of mistakes have been made, doesn’t mean you don’t want to continue being progressively forward looking. Why should we of all parties do old stodgy stuff?”
A former Young Eagle who did not want to be quoted by name seconded that opinion.
“Everything that’s cool from a pop culture perspective is Democratic — whether it’s Kanye West or Bruce Springsteen — and with younger conservatives, a good event is often a big way to help sell,” said the former Young Eagle, who left the program in 2008. Traditional fundraising events such as golf and tennis outings don’t quite cut it with young donors, he said. “How many times can you go to the U.S. Open?”
The Young Eagles are “a fun group,” the former member said. “If you’ve got a little insecurity complex, but you’ve got money — what a cool group to hang out with.”
Pity the poor little rich boys: all that money to burn (at least for those whose inheritance hasn’t been ravaged by the “death tax”), and nowhere to burn it except by associating with those damned socialists, who have a corner on “cool.” With the Young Eagles at least temporarily grounded, it seems they’ll have to resign themselves to just another boring trip to the U.S. Open.