President Obama is appearing at the Democratic campaign committees’ fundraising dinner tonight, meaning his restriction on lobbyist donations is in place. But that won’t be the case when they do it all again tomorrow morning, trading out Obama in favor of the lobbyists. The “Issues Conferences” scheduled for the morning is advertised prominently as being open to the K Street folks. That’s not entirely placating them. Says one:
“It’s almost like the ugly girl that you want to call late at night — but don’t want to be seen with on a date.”
Even had Obama allowed the lobbyists, Democrats would be struggling to keep up with Republican fundraising. There are various hypotheses as to why, including the fact that many former major donors are vying for governmental positions and so are not giving. New polls (though bear in mind they’re media polls) show Obama’s honeymoon may be over, especially on the economy. Then again, the GOP’s not so hot in media polls, either, receiving their lowest-ever approval ratings in a NYT poll. The political fall-out of Sen. John Ensign’s affair is becoming clearer, and it could mean a rising profile for South Dakota’s John Thune. Orrin Hatch initially sought to fill Ensign’s now-vacated chairmanship of the Senate Republican Policy Committee, the number four leadership position in the Senate, but backed down after talking to Thune. Democrats in Louisiana, meanwhile, are using this as an opportunity to encourage Sen. David Vitter, disgraced in 2007’s D.C. Madam scandal, to step down from his own leadership position. (A tangentially related profile: John Edwards says he just wants to do good and help the world, though some former recipients of his largess are feeling a little let-down by his post-campaign generosity.) Crises of the adultery and prostitution level are still rare, but thanks to Twitter and other online social media, more and more politicians are being caught with foot in mouth. Cillizza points out some poorly considered congressional tweets comparing the GOP to Iranian resistance. Then there are all the lovely racist jokes coming out of South Carolina (and elsewhere), which they are hoping will not drive away black voters. Good luck! Finally, scuttlebutt suggests the Minnesota Supreme Court may hand down their Franken-Coleman decision today.