“I Have to Wash My Hair, Mr. President”

Illustration by: Steve Wacksman


[See a PDF of this chart from the magazine]

There’s no bigger boon to a political campaign than a fundraising visit from the president—except when that president has an approval rating in the mid-30s. Then it takes footwork worthy of Dancing With the Stars to avoid sharing the stage with him. Not all Republicans have been as candid as Illinois gubernatorial candidate Judy Baar Topinka, who stood by
as an aide explained why they did not want President Bush to campaign with Topinka: “We just want him to raise money. Late at night. In an undisclosed location.”

CANDIDATE

EVENT

EXCUSE

REP. THELMA DRAKE
(R-Va.)

Bush-headlined $500,000 fundraiser for Drake in Virginia Beach on May 19

Had to be in Washington to vote on an appropriations bill—which passed 395-0

SENATOR MIKE DEWINE
(R-Ohio)

Bush speech to Cleveland’s
City Club on March 20

Had to accompany his dad to watch spring training in Florida

Maryland LT. GOVERNOR MICHAEL STEELE, running for Senate

Bush-headlined Maryland GOP fundraiser on May 31

Had another fundraiser, 2,400 miles away in Las Vegas

MIKE MCGAVICK, running for Senate in Washington

Bush speech at Seattle fundraiser on June 16

Attending his son’s high school graduation in Pennsylvania—the previous day

THOMAS KEAN JR., running for Senate in New Jersey

Cheney speech praising Kean at a $400,000 fundraiser in Newark on March 20

Stuck in traffic (Kean took perennially clogged Route 1 instead of the faster New Jersey Turnpike)

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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