Although the White House has yet to officially confirm that President Obama is coming to Seattle in two and a half weeks, we already have a pretty good idea of what his schedule will be like while he’s here.
That’s because his campaign has been busy trying to interest local Democrats with at least $1,000 to spare to attend one of two pricey fundraising events.
One will be a brunch in the affluent suburb of Medina, home to Microsoft cofounder Bill Gates and his wife Melinda. Jon Shirley, who served with Gates at Microsoft, will be the host of the event, which costs $35,800 per couple.
An invitation obtained by the Seattle P‑I’s Joel Connelly touted the brunch as a chance for wealthy couples to enjoy an intimate meal with the president:
Format: Maximum of 50 couples — and the format is going to be amazing: informal remarks and then Q & A from the audience! He’s then do a photo line or candid photos (going around to all the tables). They’re still deciding the latter.
The other event that Obama is doing is an 11:30 AM lunch at the Paramount Theater in Seattle, catered by renowned local chef Tom Douglas. A plate at that lunch can be had for a minimum contribution of $1,000. “VIP seating” costs another $1,500 (for a total of $2,500) and getting into the photo line costs $7,500.
Obama will likely also do a third event — a so-called public event — to justify billing the people of the United States for his journey to Seattle, which will actually just be one stop on a longer West Coast fundraising jaunt.
(The term “public event” is somewhat of a misnomer since it probably won’t be open to the public. “Official event” would be more accurate).
This trip will be Obama’s third visit to the Evergreen State since becoming president; he was in Seattle twice last year on behalf of Senator Patty Murray. It would be nice if the president was coming here to do more than just make an ATM withdrawal, but unfortunately, no time has been left for anything else.
Obama will at least hold a token official event and allow a pool reporter to observe the fundraising events, which is more than his predecessor George W. Bush did. Bush’s visits really were about Republican fundraisers and absolutely nothing else.
To us, Obama’s visit is just another reminder that the Beltway has changed him more than he has changed it.
If we ever want our politics to revolve around something other than money, we’re going to have to organize to overturn some very misguided Supreme Court decisions which posit that corporations are people and money is speech.