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York: Gloomy, frantic Democrats plead for more money

Published: Friday, Aug. 22, 2014 10:08 p.m. CDT

I’ve been getting a lot of emails from Democratic fundraisers lately. They seem very worried about November’s elections.

First came the highly publicized “Impeachment Red Alert” campaign, in which the Democratic congressional committee warned that Republicans will impeach President Barack Obama if they win control of the House and Senate. Though much ridiculed, the “Impeachment Red Alert” effort was a big winner, pulling in $2.1 million in small donations in a single weekend.

Despite that success, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s mood seemed to blacken in subsequent days as she asked for more and more money. The subject line of Pelosi’s next appeal was “Kiss all hope goodbye.” Her message was all will be lost for the remainder of Obama’s term if Republican House Speaker John Boehner remains in power.

Then came a missive with the subject line “Byron, I’m pleading,” in which Pelosi pronounced herself “disgusted” by the prospect of Republicans “dragging the president’s good name through the mud.”

Vice President Joe Biden got in the game with a few emails, although he didn’t grovel like Pelosi. Finally, Obama himself began emailing. With everything the president of the United States has on his plate right now, you’d think he’d have more pressing things to do.

Apparently not.

“Nancy Pelosi has emailed you,” Obama wrote. “Joe Biden has emailed you. And now I’ve emailed you. We wouldn’t all be asking if it wasn’t so important.” The message was clear: Get off your butt and give us some money.

Twenty years ago, just before the Republicans’ stunning victory in the 1994 Clinton midterms, I also received a string of increasingly desperate-sounding mail – the paper kind – from the Democratic Party. Curious to see how the party was treating small donors, I contributed $10. After that, I got a series of progressively worried entreaties; by October 1994, Democratic fundraisers sounded as if they knew disaster was on the way. Turned out it was.

That was my last political contribution until this week, when, hoping to get a better look at Democrats’ small-donor technique, I finally clicked the $5 contribution box on President Obama’s email.

You’d think that would have made them happy. But no – they immediately wanted more.

First they tried to get me to increase my contribution. I declined. Then they asked I make my contribution an automatic monthly donation. I declined.

At the very least, I thought my $5 would buy a tiny respite from the crush of emails. It did not.

Can this continue until November? Yes, it can. But if Democrats already sound this frantic in August, it’s going to be a very long fall.

• Byron York is chief political correspondent for The Washington Examiner.

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