The number of outside groups clamoring to fund political activities in the 2010 election made it nearly impossible to turn on the television in October and November without seeing an attack ad on your screen. A majority of the expenditures were purchased by issue groups that were supporting Republican candidates.
Now, for 2012, Democratic groups are planning their own outside campaigns, and the airwaves are likely to be even more crowded than before.
The New York Times reports:
A group of leading Democrats, including some with close connections to the White House, are officially forming what are expected be the major outside groups to combat Republicans — and support President Obama — in the 2012 elections with help from huge donations from big money donors and corporations who will have the legal ability to stay in the shadows that Mr. Obama has previously so vocally criticized.
The groups are to be called Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, and, as such, are modeled after the Republican groups American Crossroads and Crossroads GPS that were started with help from the strategist Karl Rove and were credited with helping greatly in the party’s takeover of the House of Representatives this year — and, it happens, with facilitating a waterfall of anonymous donations from moneyed interests in the November elections.
Thanks to the Citizens United ruling, these groups can take unlimited individual and corporate donations, in most cases with the donors remaining utterly anonymous and sheltered from any potential backlash.
Despite the outrage against these unlimited funds attack groups in the last cycle, Democrats seem sadly much more at ease with the rules now that they are in the process of creating one of their own.
It’s an irony that isn’t lost on many. Mark Halperin at Time comments:
Last year, Obama’s White House and hard left allies launched a coordinated PR and legal assault on non-disclosing conservative groups – and now, just six months later, Obama’s own political operatives are launching the very type of groups they demagogued as “shadowy threats to democracy.”
Obama’s brazen hypocrisy, in encouraging his own operatives to start groups exactly like the ones he demagogued last year, shows how cynical this President can be when it comes to perpetuating his own power.
But Democrats are claiming this is simply something that has to occur to even the playing field heading into 2012. Via Politico:
In emailed statements, Burton, Sweeney, an adviser Paul Begala blamed conservatives for the shift.
“While we agree that fundamental campaign finance reforms are needed, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers cannot live by one set of rules as our values and our candidates are overrun with their hundreds of millions of dollars. We will follow the rules as the Supreme Court has laid them out, but the days of the double standard are over,” said Burton.
Conservatives, of course, blamed Obama’s fundraising for compelling them to start their groups.
Obama raised huge amounts of money for his presidential campaign in 2008, forcing conservatives to raise huge amounts for outside groups to combat him, forcing progressives now to raise huge amounts for outside groups to combat that.
Meanwhile, we have nearly ten percent unemployment, a stagnant job market, people who can’t afford health care, rampant foreclosures, huge state budget deficits, and we are cutting off food stamp, welfare and Medicaid funds.
Maybe we could find something else for a group named “Priorities USA” to spend their unlimited funding on.
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