Politicians are almost as bad as models--you've got to spend at least 50 bucks on them before they'll even talk to you. But if you pony up, they'll usually show you a good time. To wit:
On March 6 Democrat Gery Chico held a fund-raiser at the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum. There were three tickets: $100 got you in the door, $1,000 made you a "host," and for $2,000 you were a "sponsor." But even the grunts got to meet CSI: Miami star Adam Rodriguez and California congress-man Joe Baca, drink wine and eat hors d'oeuvres provided by Rumba, and bid in a silent auction on art donated by 30 artists.
Republican Chirinjeev Kathuria also put an ethnic spin on his February 22 fund-raiser . . . held in Queens, New York. For $100 supporters got a buffet-style Indian meal with coffee, tea, and soft drinks; a bumper sticker and a T-shirt; and a personalized thank-you letter.
Democrat Blair Hull doesn't need your money, but he'll take it anyway. At a February 26 fund-raiser at the Park Hyatt, for the bargain price of $50 a head, he delivered wine, beer, onion crostini, gnocchi, polenta, vegetables, and an audience with tennis great Billie Jean King.
Democrat Barack Obama must have a full plate, because he'll see you on Sunday morning. At February 29's "United Progressive Community for Barack Obama Sunday Brunch," $75 bought a diverse buffet--including French toast, bacon and eggs, spinach quiche, smoked salmon, and fried chicken, plus Bloody Marys and mimosas--at the Speakeasy Supper Club and "a chance to meet the next U.S. Senator from Illinois."
Republican Jim Oberweis charged $200 a plate for a February 18 dinner at the Garlands of Barrington, a retirement community that rents out space for receptions. Chicken Parmesan with angel-hair pasta and salad were served, along with iced tea and soda. Cheapskates willing to spend only $50 got to come by for dessert: sculpted pineapple with raspberries, cookies, chocolate fudge cake, and fresh fruit, plus hot beverages. (What, no ice cream?)
Democrat Nancy Skinner's Valentine's Day pitch: "SSC (Single Senatorial Candidate) seeking DWM (Democrat With Money) who cares about the direction of this country and wants to see a courageous Democrat in the US Senate who will stand up to the Republicans, for a lovely evening of political discourse and dinner. Minimum bid $1,000. Maximum bid $12,000." Unfortunately Skinner, who's registering about 2 percent in the polls, overestimated her market value. George W. Bush could sell himself for $1,000 every night of the year, but Skinner spent Valentine's Day alone.
Democrat Dan Hynes entertained at House of Blues, where supporters who gave $80 got appetizers, an open bar, and Dave Matthews-style acoustic jams from two members of the local band Jamestown. Well . . . he does boast that he's frugal.