Via Ezra, Al Kamen in the WaPo reports on a non-event fundraiser for Kent Conrad: don't show up, just send a check. I have to say that while I know virtually nothing about how to squeeze money out of rich people for anything, but I've always thought that there's something extremely strange about fundraising events. As far as I can tell, very few people actually enjoys going to them -- certainly not the pols, but as far as I know not the donors, either. One would imagine that donors to Washington fundraisers would be particularly utilitarian about it, so what's in it for them? Face time with the pol, so that in some future meeting the Member of Congress will be more likely to be accommodating? Do they not trust that the pol will know that they coughed up without that personal connection? Even outside of Washington, is it really true that lots of people would be glad to give to Barack Obama and the Dems if they can get to be in a room with him for an hour, but not otherwise? I'm not saying it's not true; it's just that we don't usually associate money in politics with the sorts of emotional behavior that goes with a tennybop concert.
Perhaps the whole thing is basically just ingrained habit, perhaps from a time when for some reason it made more sense, and Kent Conrad is on to something. I have no idea. For all I know, everyone is behaving perfectly rationally, and I just don't understand it. Maybe PAC managers really actually love hanging out at these events. Anyone have any ideas?