Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Send in the 527s!

Let's hope this is true:

Senator Barack Obama will start looking the other way when it comes to the role 527s and other independent groups play in the election, a source close to his campaign told the Huffington Post.

The implicit acknowledgment that outside organizations have a role to play signifies a marked contrast from Obama's longstanding policy that electoral efforts be funneled through his campaign. A spokesman for Obama, Bill Burton, denied that any policy vis-à-vis 527s -- political organizations that can raise unlimited soft money -- and other outside groups had changed.

. . .

"Independent groups can talk to constituencies where the Obama campaign or the DNC aren't credible messengers. The best example would be Working America and its reach into white working class communities," said Tom Matzzie, who had headed the organization Progressive Media before starting a new group to target right wing financiers. "There are some groups that are ready to take more donations: Working America, VoteVets, the Choice groups and ACORN to name a few. Otherwise it is almost too late to get a new ground group going. A new advertising outfit could be put together by experienced independent campaigners in a few days. The key is not to fund the grab-ass efforts that are mostly a consultant hustle. Instead invest in really good work."

This would be a major positive for Obama, since these groups can start defining McCain the way his ads have been sliming Obama these last weeks. The only possible downsides are that he'd be changing his position allowing them, opening himself to those attacks, and also that it's too late, and that these ads would have been more effective now, rather than late September which would be the soonest they could go up.

The huge positive here is that it seems like the Obama campaign realized they made a strategic blunder, and are willing to admit a mistake by changing their position. This is a big development because with the egos involved in major campaigns like this one, it's a big deal to see people change course rather than putting their heads in the sand and trying to prove themselves right.

A lot of the left has divided opinions on 527s, but I'm in the camp that says you play in the system we have now, and worry about changing the game when we're in office. While it maybe noble for Obama to try and swear off 527s and the like, I'm just not in favor of coming to a fight with one hand tied behind your back.

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