A LITTLE GROVELING...

A LITTLE GROVELING NEVER HURT. A little birdie who attended last weekend�s big DSCC fundraising event in Nantucket tells me that donors were very impressed by candidates Sherrod Brown (OH), Claire McCaskill (MO) and Jon Tester (MT), but that Virginia nominee Jim Webb fell flat. Somebody close to Webb told me that, to put it rather bluntly, Webb just isn�t good at the ass-kissing that (some) Democratic donors expect.

I�m not sure if it�s Webb�s military background, the fact that he�s a former Republican, or just his personality that�s the issue here. And, frankly, I have a grudging respect for candidates who don�t prostrate themselves to donors. Many big-dollar donors are, by definition, self-made millionaires or people who have inherited their wealth and, in either case, tend to be self-important -- with varying degrees of justification for that self-importance. Politicians tend to be self-important too, which is why it�s so rare to find pols who like to ask for money. It�s a bit pride-swallowing to make nice with people who have never put their own name on a ballot, had to cast a tough vote, or endure the withering criticism and personal scrutiny that is common to public life.

Still, if the recent cash-on-hand numbers are any indicator, for all his other political and personal assets, if he isn�t prepared to do a little groveling, Webb ($424K) is simply not going to come close to having the kind of advertising monies he will need to upend a suddenly not-so-invincible George Allen ($6.6M�that�s for million). This may be a sad statement about contemporary politics, but it is what it is.

--Tom Schaller

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