You see them everywhere you go: scurrying through the crowded corridors of the Fleet Center, surrounded in the lobbies of the convention's power hotels, lurking just inside the velvet ropes of that day's hot events. You can recognize them by their harried expressions, their hangdog demeanor, the darkening circles under their eyes.
These are the big shot power players of the Democratic Party, the finance chairs who have helped rake in the record-setting donations for John Kerry and the Party.
And what is their reward for their success? A never-ending parade of big-buck donors coming to them for favors. Not political favors, of course. Those come later -- and only if Kerry carries the day in November... No, these donors are after more immediate payback: access to the Fleet Center, a better seat at an exclusive lunch, an invitation to an already overbooked dinner or cocktail party.
"I feel like a freakin' concierge!" I've heard more than one of them say in a moment of desperation. "It's all about keeping the big donors happy," another of them, a man who has helped raise millions for John Edwards, told me, "which isn't easy to do when you've got very limited supply coming up against what seems like unlimited demand." Another power player lamented: "It seems like I'm spending all my time in Boston making very important people very mad."
And p.o.'d VIPs are the last thing you want at your Party's ultimate party.