Wherein I say something positive about Barack Obama; He's not going to give out "Street Money" in Philadelphia
April 11, 2008 08:53 AM
What's "street money"? Per the L.A. Times, it is:
"[A] long-standing Philadelphia ritual in which candidates deliver cash to the city's Democratic operatives in return for getting out the vote.
Flush with payments from well-funded campaigns, the ward leaders and Democratic Party bosses typically spread out the cash in the days before the election, handing $10, $20 and $50 bills to the foot soldiers and loyalists who make up the party's workforce.
It is all legal -- but Obama's people are telling the local bosses he won't pay.
If that is legal, it is appalling. But for the Dems in Philly, it's just how things are done:
Obama's posture confounds neighborhood political leaders sympathetic to his cause. They caution that if the senator from Illinois withholds money that gubernatorial, mayoral and presidential candidates have willingly paid out for decades, there could be defections to Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York. And the Clinton campaign, in contrast, will oblige in forking over the money, these ward leaders predict.
Who's not surprised the Clintons don't have a problem with this? Anyone?
Another non-surprise? John Kerry didn't have a problem with it either. He paid out hundreds of thousands of dollars in "street money" in Philadelphia in 2004.
The locals are hoping Obama will give in before next week's primary in PA. You know. For his own sake:
With a week and a half left before the election, political leaders hope that Obama will relent.
Garry Williams, a ward leader based in north-central Philadelphia, said that he had not heard directly that the Obama campaign was withholding money. But he said payment would be needed. Workers who are in the field for Obama on April 22 will put in days stretching from 12 to 16 hours, he said.
"It's our tradition," Williams said. "You don't come to someone's house and change the rules of someone's house. That's just respect."
No, it's just corrupt. If Obama can bring an end to it, kudos to him.