(Politico) — When Sen. Barack Obama began running for president in 2007, a small handful of determined, inspired supporters found a new political calling. A new group of professionals — from a San Juan jewelry store owner to a West Coast biotech executive — raised hundreds of thousands of dollars each for him and their “bundling” was crucial in helping Obama offset Hillary Clinton’s profound financial and institutional advantages.
Four years later, many of those new bundlers say they won’t be coming back. For reasons ranging from disillusion and dissatisfaction to an overriding sense that the once idealistic Obama crusade has become yet another soulless political behemoth, that inspired cadre of early Obama supporters has largely been replaced by professional Democratic Party operatives.
“It’s a political machine now,” said Pete Garcia, the chief financial officer of a Washington State biotech company who fell for Obama early and hard in 2008, and raised more than $200,0000 in his first dive into political fundraising.
“I will obviously vote, but I don’t think we’re going to be actively involved in raising money,” said Willard Taylor, a New York lawyer who, along with his wife Virginia Davies, hosted one of the first New York City Obama events in 2007, bucking the city’s nearly unified backing for Clinton.
“I think he’s done a terrible job with Organizing for America and for his base, and with the recognition of the people who worked for him,” Taylor said. “I frankly think the staff, the reelection staff, are incompetent fools.”