By Mary Kate Cary, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
So much for setting a new tone in Washington. As I write this, 20 different operatives from labor, environmental and progressive groups are on a daily conference call plotting ways to attack people who oppose them. Politico calls them "The New Left-Wing Conspiracy", organized around a daily 8:45 a.m. phone call which began three weeks ago and which "marks a new level of coordination by the White House's allies."
The article describing this is very disturbing, with repeated references to "attacks" on opponents. For example:
The call has proved particularly effective at coordinating attacks on critics, said Jacki Schechner, the national communications director for Health Care for America Now, a labor-backed alliance of groups that support Democratic efforts to expand health care. "There's a coordination in terms of exposing the people who are trying to come out against reform—they've all got backgrounds and histories and pasts, and it's not taking long to unearth that and to unleash that, because we're all working together," Schechner said. When a new group called Conservatives for Patients Rights, for instance, launched an ad campaign featuring former health care executive Rick Scott, "There was a discussion about what do we know about this guy and in a very quick period of time we were able to come up with his background," she said.
Note that the woman quoted above is one of the White House's allies on health care, and she seems to be proud of the fact that this is not about the battle of ideas, but rather about exposing opponents' pasts and destroying their reputations. The 8:45 a.m. group was heavily involved in last week's attacks on Rush Limbaugh and is the launching pad for attacks on critics of the administration's proposals. They're not going after the critics' proposals, but the critics themselves. They're coordinating "in terms of exposing people," she said, and "it's not taking long to unearth that and to unleash that."
When you can't win on the merits of your message, you go after the messenger. Voters are sick and tired of this nasty, personal stuff. This is why good people are reluctant to go into politics these days. No wonder.
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