Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Stagecraft President Stages More Political Kabuki

Oops, he did it again.  President Obama is already on record with a number of news organizations for carefully stage-crafting town hall meetings with well-placed planted questions.  There were many such events during the health care "debate."  Here's but one example.

Of course, the President and his team insist that it's all just great luck.  Uh huh, right.

The latest example is the planted question by a well-connected, big-money donor to the Democratic Party at a town hall meeting scheduled staged at LinkedIn.  Uncharacteristically, the President had a well-thought-out, eloquent, impromptu answer, all without the aid of a teleprompter.

The man who asked the staged question was Doug Edwards, a former Google marketing executive and author of "I'm Feeling Lucky: The Confessions of Google Employee Number 59".

The media, of course, lapped it up.

Surprisingly, I saw little follow up investigation by the media.  Who was this guy?  What would prompt him to ask such a question?  What's his angle?

Well, according to campaign finance disclosures for "Doug Edwards" and "Douglas Edwards" of Los Altos, CA and Campbell, CA, the esteemed Mr. Campbell graciously donated some $465,682 to various political causes between 2004 and 2012.  Amazingly, every single recipient is either a member of the Democratic Party or associated with the Democratic Party.  What are the odds?

Despite residing in California, Mr. Edwards' generosity extended to a variety of other states, including Montana, Wisconsin, Ohio, Minnesota, Massachusetts, and Tennessee.  Similarly, over $144,000 went to ActBlue, a money-laundering organization for the Democratic Party who bills themselves as "the online clearinghouse for Democratic action."  According to, who tracks campaign spending at the national level, ActBlue is the #1 top all-time political donor with 99% of their money going to Democrats and 0% going to Republicans.

Mr. Edwards' biggest benefactors include:
  • ActBlue (money-launderer for the Democratic Party): $144,100
  • Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC): $73,900
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): $68,900
  • Gillibrand for Senate (Democrat): $12,000
  • Ohio Democratic Party: $10,000 
You can find a detailed list of Mr. Edwards' political contributions here.  The few apparent duplicated contributions are because of simultaneous contributions to both primary and general election campaigns, given on the same date.  It is more difficult to find spending records for the state level, but records show that Mr. Edwards spent at least $14,500 across California, Wisconsin, and Iowa.  Some of his ActBlue spending may actually be for state candidates.

Mr. Edwards is also a public member of the self-proclaimed "Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength".

In a few cases, Mr. Edwards' donated the maximum legal amount to various campaigns--well, the maximum legal amount unless you happen to be married.  Then, your wife can also contribute to the cause.

Mr. Edwards has indeed married very well. His amazingly bright and talented wife, Kristen, has a Ph.D. and M.A. from Stanford, degrees from Brown University and Middlebury College, and even studied at the Leningrad State University in the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War, before it later became Saint Petersberg State University.

According to public campaign records, "Kristen Edwards" of Los Altos, CA gave another $113,400 to the Democratic Party and its causes.

Mrs. Edward's biggest benefactors include:
  • ActBlue (money-launderer for the Democratic Party): $33,100
  • Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC): $28,500
You can find a detailed list of Mrs. Edwards' political contributions here.  State donations are more difficult to track, but Mrs. Edwards spent at least $9,500 in California.  Some of her ActBlue spending may actually be for state candidates.

Ironically, the Edwards' don't need action from the President of the United States or even from the ineffectual U.S. Congress to increase their tax burden.  The Edwards' can contribute more of their money to taxes now, of their own free will, without waiting for the government to act.  Here's how.

Useful Information for Under-taxed Individuals

So, we are left with a few possible conclusions:
  1. The President is the luckiest man on the planet and just happened to call on someone in the audience who just happens to agree completely with the President's stance on taxation and his job bill.
  2. That the Democratic Party really isn't the crack, money-making machine that we all believed and the President had no idea that someone who's family gave over $500,000 to the Party, over multiple years, across multiple states, was in the audience.  Me?  I give a minor amount to one Democratic Party candidate and I'm on their mailing list forever!
  3. The President and his handlers have little respect for the intelligence of the American public or the American press.
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