Tomorrow, John McCain will be jetting into Stockton, California, the foreclosure capitol of the US. But don’t worry. McCain’s not going there to meet with middle-class Americans who face the loss of their homes. Instead, he’ll be there for a big-buck fundraiser to be hosted by billionaire developer Alex Spanos. Spanos is perhaps Stockton’s best-known resident and a major donor to Republican causes ($8.1 million in 2003-04).
Hank Shaw of the Stockton Record gives us the lowdown on the Republican Central Valley aristocracy who will be in attendance at the gala:
The new news is that Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger will be at the party, too, as will a who’s who of local Reeps. Congressional candidate Dean Andal will be there, as will his employer Gerry Kamilos. Andal hopes to beat Rep. Jerry McNerney this year, and the man Jerry ousted — former Rep. Richard Pombo of Tracy — is supposed to appear at casa de Spanos, too.
- Pat & John Quinn (supermaket moguls)
- Bah-zillionire investor John Calamos
- Shopping center tycoon and Scooter Libby fan Mel Sembler
- Assemblyman Greg Aghazarian
- State Sen. Jeff Denham
- Assemblyman Alan Nakanishi
- Local political consultant Don Parsons
- Claudia and Greg Pruett of the tomato processing plant Vaquero Farms
- Former California GOP chief Bob Naylor
…and a cast of thousands. The hootenany start at $1,000 a head, payable to “MaCain Victory California,” which is presumably the Arizona senator’s state fund. But it’ll raise lots and lots more, because — at least in theory — 13 “co-chairs” have agreed to raise at least $25,000 for McCain (that’s $325,000) plus 24 who have (again, in theory) promised to raise at least $10,000, adding another $240,000.
McCain is scheduled to arrive via private jet at the Spanos Jet Center at 4:00, attend another event, and then arrive at the Spanos residence for the 5:30 fete. As he travels around Stockton before arriving at the Spanos estate, though, McCain will be driving through a city that has for the last year been consistently ranked as the foreclosure capitol of the United States. With 8,376 homes currently in foreclosure, one in every 27 people in Stockton (pop. 290,000) has faced the loss of their home since the sub-prime mortgage meltdown began last year. The problem is so widespread that the City of Stockton has a special page on its website giving advice to its residents who face foreclosure:
Somehow, though, I’m guessing that McCain won’t be touring the parts of Stockton that look like this:
He just might, however, pass by one of the three (!) buses that are operated by the entrepreneurs at Stockton’s RepoHomeTour.com.
And you know, it’s really too bad that McCain will be seeing Stockton from the back seat of a limo and not from the inside of one of the Repo Home Tour buses. Maybe if he got out and mingled with the non-billionaires a little more regularly, he would be just a tad more sensitive to the problems that face real people. Instead, just two months ago, McCain scoffed at the idea of government relief for homeowners facing foreclosure.
Republican John McCain on Tuesday derided government intervention to save and reward banks or small borrowers who behave irresponsibly though he offered few immediate alternatives to fixing the country’s growing housing crisis.[…]
“I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers,” McCain said.
The same article went on to give the Democratic response to McCain’s laissez-faire attitude:
Democrats accused McCain of lacking the skills needed to lead a country on the brink of recession.
“Instead of offering a concrete plan to address the crisis at all levels, McCain promised to take the same hands-off approach that President Bush used to lead us into this crisis,” Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean said in a statement.
It’s clear that McCain and the elite guests who will be hobnobbing at the Spanos estate don’t have any problem with that hands-off approach. And they certainly don’t have any difficulty in averting their eyes from the crisis that surrounds them. After all, what’s the matter with all those irresponsible people in Stockton? Why can’t they just eat cake?
Online Organizing Director
California Democratic Party