By Robert Schlesinger, Thomas Jefferson Street blog
First Sarah Palin writes an op-ed in the Washington Post. Then the fundraising machines get cranked up. That noise you hear? It's the cha-ching and cha-ching on both sides of the aisle, starting with liberal activist group MoveOn.org, which is asking for money to run an anti-Palin ad.
Palin, in case you missed it, wrote an op-ed blasting President Obama's cap-and-trade proposal. Incredibly, she manages to write nearly 700 words on the topic without mentioning "global warming," "climate change," or "carbon emissions." (As Ezra Klein notes, that's like writing an op-ed hitting firefighters for using high-pressure water cannons without ever mentioning fire.)
Enter MoveOn.org. Tuesday afternoon they sent an email to members slamming the Palin op-ed ... and asking for money so they can run an ad against her. Here's part of the email (emphasis theirs):
Her op-ed is a marvel of misinformation and outright lies. Just like conservatives in Congress, Palin is trotting out the "energy taxes" scare tactic, and arguing instead for more drilling and more dirty coal. This bill already has too many giveaways to Big Coal and Big Oil, but that's still not enough for Palin.
As ridiculous as Sarah Palin's lies are, they're getting attention, and they're a real threat to clean energy. If we can raise enough money today, we'll run a rapid response ad to counter these lies and stop Palin's attack. Can you donate $35?
This is the same Sarah Palin who doesn't believe climate change is caused by humans. The same Sarah Palin who is obsessed with drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. And the same Sarah Palin who's looking for controversial issues to launch a 2012 presidential bid.
Now she's positioning herself as the face of the conservative attack against clean energy, against the Clean Air Act—even against the creation of millions of new jobs in solar and wind.
The truth is that nothing would please MoveOn and other such groups more than Palin being the face of conservative attacks on, well, anything. She's a divisive figure, particularly for the liberal base of the party. She can easily become a Jesse Helms- or Newt Gingrich-type for Democratic fundraisers (what Ted Kennedy and Hillary Clinton were for Republicans).
And it's a win-win: You can imagine the fundraising email SarahPAC is undoubtedly preparing for its members: Powerful liberals have targeted Sarah ... can you spare a few bucks to help promote her agenda?
It's the fundraising cycle of life in politics—truly a majestic thing to watch.