Has Barack Obama lost Susie Tompkins Buell — founder of the Esprit clothing line and a major big-deal national Democratic fundraiser, bundler, and tastemaker? Then he’s lost a critically important component of his re-election treasury.
“I don’t even know what he stands for,” said Susie Tompkins Buell, a co-founder of the Esprit clothing company and one of the most generous Democratic Party donors in the nation – instrumental in backing such powerhouse progressive organizations as the Democracy Alliance and Media Matters.
This is going to give lots of wealthy liberal Democrats all over the country real pause: if Susie’s willing to say this in public, to the SFChronicle, while protesting in the street outside President Obama’s W Hotel big-roller fundraiser, won’t it be okay for me to delay my donations to the re-election campaign? If Susie’s signalling her unhappiness in public, doesn’t that give me permission to wait-and-see about my 2012 donations?
Susie Buell Tompkins is a San Francisco powerhouse: she drives non-profit fundraising, Democratic fundraising, women’s issues fundraising. She’s a Democratic pillar of the money machine. And she knows everyone with money in the Democratic party. She was #4 among John Kerry’s 2004 fundraisers. Making this public statement is a very bad sign for Obama’s re-election fundraising prospects:
“I think this is a huge issue about our future, about the planet, not just America,” she said. “And he needs to be a leader … to have the awareness of it. To fight for it.”
What issue has Susie so concerned she’s not only skipping a fundraising dinner she could easily afford, but also protesting outside the event and talking to the local paper about it, for attribution?
The Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed 1,700-mile underground conduit linking the tar-sand fields in Alberta, Canada, to Texas refineries.
It’s not only Nebraska ranchers and hippie bloggers and the Obama campaign’s 2008 fundraising email author and 80-year-old Barbara who are disappointed and worried about Barack Obama’s performance on environmental issues: it’s also Hillary Rodham Clinton’s bestest West Coast friend, the one who led the Hillary Holdouts in from the wilderness with her HuffPost article after the historic Denver convention.
If Susie Tompkins Buell is in the streets protesting Barack Obama, he needs to seriously re-think his strategy. Something is seriously amiss.