U.S. Senator from Missouri Claire McCaskill, a Democrat, sent me an invitation to a late lunch of snacks at a downtown hotel. To attend I could pay anywhere from $500 to $2,500. It was too pricey for my tastes, and I wrote about it here.
But I have always liked Claire. She was a young girl in Houston, Missouri and then in Lebanon, Missouri. She finished high school in Columbia, Missouri, where her mother was on the city council and her father served in Governor Hearnes’ administration.
What I liked best about Claire is that she worked her way through college and law school. One of the summer jobs she had was as a waitress at Lake of the Ozarks.
And McCaskill never used her law degree to make a lot of money. She always worked in government. She got rich the old fashion way—she married it.
Now in my March 19 column, I mentioned how as an elected official, I wrote to McCaskill about an issue impacting constituents. A neighbor of mine, who is an appointed Federal official, also wrote McCaskill about an important matter affecting Missourians. Neither of us ever heard back from McCaskill—or her people.
But then when I finally do hear from McCaskill, it's the letter in March for the $500-to-$2,500 “late lunch snack” with her.
Back in 1989, when McCaskill was a state representative from Kansas City, she helped me on an article I was writing for a national magazine on DWI reform. I remembered that in 2006 when I moved back to Missouri and maybe I sent her a $25 campaign contribution, and that's why I’m now on her mailing list.
Then later, I got an invitation from McCaskill to attend a Saturday brunch at what is called “Claire’s Home Kirkwood, Missouri” but is actually her compound, if you have ever seen the place.
To attend this “brunch” the invitation asks for a contribution of between $500 and $10,000. Maybe for $500 you get scrambled eggs and hash browns, but for $10,000 you also get the fresh squeezed orange juice, carved roast beef and desert included?
The invitation says once you send in the money, McCaskill’s address will be given to you.
Well I don’t need Claire’s address! When we have out-of-town guests, I always drive them by a house on Twin Springs in Ladue, and then Claire’s Kirkwood house, to show them two of the largest houses in St. Louis County.
Here is what I don’t understand. Sen. McCaskill is a Democrat. She represents the people, and is the candidate who gets the union vote.
But she is having “late afternoon snacks” for $500-$2,500 and brunches for $500-$10,000. Isn’t that Republican campaign pricing?
If I had $500 laying around, I would probably give it to the Salvation Army before a political candidate, but I would be curious to see the spread for a $500-$10,000 brunch.
It seems to me that a good Democratic would be inviting people to a cookout.
McCaskill could have a hot dog-and-soft drink (or beer) lunch at her house for $25. She could buy the stuff at Sam’s Club or Costco or have someone else buy it since those places have non-union staff.
A can of Coke is about 37 cents. A can of beer at Costco would be maybe 65 cents. The hot dog, bun, relish and paper plate would run you maybe $1.40.
That is a 1700 percent profit against a $25 contribution. You could run 50 people through every hour between 12 noon and 5pm.
If you think back to old school Democrats like Richard Daley in Chicago, or Frank Skeffington in the novel and movie The Last Hurrah, the Democratic politicians weren’t asking $2,500 for a lunch snack or $10,000 for brunch.
Instead, they were buying the voters beers and shots at local bars.