Monday, July 6, 2009

Obama Can't Stop (Or Won't Stop) Progressive Attack Ads Targeting the Douche Caucus

As the battle for health care reform heats up, progressive groups have smartly started to turn their firepower against their real opposition, the douche caucus. The subject came up on a conference call with President Obama this weekend:

President Obama, strategizing yesterday with congressional leaders about health-care reform, complained that liberal advocacy groups ought to drop their attacks on Democratic lawmakers and devote their energy to promoting passage of comprehensive legislation.

In a pre-holiday call with half a dozen top House and Senate Democrats, Obama expressed his concern over advertisements and online campaigns targeting moderate Democrats, whom they criticize for not being fully devoted to "true" health-care reform.

"We shouldn't be focusing resources on each other," Obama opined in the call, according to three sources who participated in or listened to the conversation. "We ought to be focused on winning this debate."

Specifically, Obama said he is hoping left-leaning organizations that worked on his behalf in the presidential campaign will now rally support for "advancing legislation" that fulfills his goal of expanding coverage, controlling rising costs and modernizing the health system.

The easy response to Obama's point is that it's not "winning the debate" if the final bill doesn't include a strong public option. But unlike the other times in recent memory when Obama has attempted to pressure the left wing of his party to fall into line, I don't quite buy this. Like Ezra Klein says, if he really wanted to stop the attacks, he would have reached out to these organizations privately, rather than in a conference call that would leak to the press. Also, Obama has otherwise repeatedly signaled that he wants a public option, so this seems more like him using the ads as a rhetorical tool, rather than actually disagreeing with their tactics.

And if he actually wants a public option, he shouldn't disagree with their tactics because... well... they work! Just ask once staunch public option opponent turned supporter Kay Hagan who flipped her vote as a result of this type of pressure. The good news is it seems like no one is listening to Obama's call to stop the ad blitz:

The PCCC , who cosponsored the ads attacking Mary Landrieu on health care reform with DFA and MoveOn, say that they will continue their efforts on the heels of a Washington Post article indicating that President Obama wanted such ads to stop.

Stephanie Taylor, PCCC co-founder says: "Just for the record, PCCC will not stop running ads. In fact, we will be increasing our media buy for the PCCC "We WantThePublicOption" ad this coming week."

Adam Green, Change Congress CEO, a group that also has ads running against Landrieu in DC., says: "Change Congress will continue running ads targeting senators who oppose the public option while taking millions in campaign contributions from the health and insurance industries."

Earlier today Charles Chamberlain of DFA said that they will not stop their efforts, either.

Good. Whether it was legitimate concern of Obama's or not, it needs to be ignored. Threatening a politician's job security is often the only thing they understand, and no one needs to feel that pressure more than Hagan, Specter, Feinstein and the rest of the Douche Caucus.

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