THE SELLING OF HRC
To further reinforce the pimping of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton and her book, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has already made plans for book-purchase and book-signing events in Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Atlanta, New Jersey, Cleveland and Los Angeles. All the money raised at these will go toward Democratic attempts to retake the Senate in 2004.
According to a DSCC staffer, the committee has made tentative plans to purchase more than 10,000 books for its fundraising purposes. These Clinton appearances are above and beyond those already planned for Senators Boxer, Lincoln and Murray, all of whom have touted their Clinton book signing events. Clinton raised more than $1 million last year alone for Democratic senators, and the DSCC expects her to raise upwards of $2 million this year.
“Actually, we think it will be more than that,” says the DSCC staffer. “When you consider that she’s probably raised close to a million already [in 2003], with more than 15 events to go she could easily be our George Bush for the next election cycle.”
She’s not only raising money for Democrats, but also helping raise bagfuls of money for Republicans. Already Sen. George Allen, who chairs the Republicans’ Senate campaign committee, is pulling in record amounts (many are less than $500, confirming Republican grassroots strength), using Clinton and her obvious desires for higher office as an obvious rallying point.
Organized labor is concerned enough about the growing rift within its ranks that it is holding what amounts to a gangland summit today.
AFL-CIO president John Sweeney has called for the emergency meeting based on the actions of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees leader Gerald McEntee, who a few weeks back pulled out of the multi-million dollar PAC created by former AFL-CIO political director Steve Rosenthal. McEntee strong-armed fellow union boss Andrew Stern, head of the Service Employees International Union, to withdraw from Rosenthal’s group as well. Now the tax-exempt organization known as the Partnership for America’s Families appears to be floundering after McEntee signed on to a different tax-exempt 527 organization (the form of a PAC now allowed under McCain-Feingold) known as Grassroots Democrats.
Stern, for his part, has not fully committed to withdrawing from Rosenthal’s operation, perhaps because McEntee has actually done so. AFL-CIO insiders say both McEntee and Stern have been cautiously circling each other for months, in the belief that they are both competing to replace Sweeney as capo di tuti capi of the AFL-CIO. McEntee seemed to take particular joy in seeing Rosenthal’s planned $30 million project take on water so quickly, and beyond his involvement in the grassroots association, McEntee is now telling associates and presidential candidates that he might start his own tax-exempt 527 organization.
“This could be absolutely devastating not only to our presidential hopes but to our chances in the Senate and the House of gaining some ground,” says a Democratic National Committee staffer. “If everybody is running their own operation, it will just create additional tension and confusion as we head into the fall.”
Rosenthal’s original vision was to create a one-stop shop for liberal Democratic candidates looking for funding. But in the end, Rosenthal would have been the kingmaker, denying McEntee the role he covets more than the AFSCME job he already holds.