Couples willing to donate $28,500 got to dine beforehand with the candidate, Barack Obama, who gave his usual stump speech and mocked his opponent, John McCain, for believing "that a bunch of oil rigs along the California coast was a good idea." (McCain had just recommended that states be allowed to opt out of the federal ban on offshore drilling.) This last zinger got a roar from the crowd, not a few of whom own shorefront properties in places like Malibu and Santa Barbara.
Thomas' observation is interesting. Sometimes it is tempting to wonder how much of the opposition to drilling among this crowd is strictly disinterested concern for the environment, how much just a crass NIMBY issue (remember how Teddy Kennedy killed an off-shore wind farm that, he feared, would affect the view from his Hyannis compound?).
In any case, to the extent that these Democrats see themselves as champions of the "working person," the attitude is repellant. If Republicans -- much less the dreaded oil companies! -- were behaving this way, isn't it likely that we'd be hearing a lot more about how careless plutocrats are willing to let regular people "suffer" at the gas pump, just for their own selfish benefit?