“Please stay on the line for an important message from Dick Morris of Citizens United.”
That’s just part of what an untold number of New Mexicans heard in a campaign phone blitz this week.
By all accounts, the call was slickly produced and deployed.
The caller would ask for a specific person in the household. Let’s call her Mrs. Wellington. Once it was confirmed that Mrs. Wellington was indeed on the line, the caller would introduce himself:
“Hello, I’m Gil from Citizens United.”
Oh yes, this is the same Citizens United that won a recent 5-4 Supreme Court decision — Citizens United V. Federal Election Commission — which struck down much of the McCain-Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Finance Reform Act of 2002 law along with overturning Teddy Roosevelt era bans on corporate campaign contributions. By conferring on corporations the same rights as an individual (corporate personhood), the decision now allows them to open up their treasuries and completely buy up all television time, thus potentially drowning out drown out everyone else’s voices in political campaigns.
But let’s get to Gil on the phone with Mrs. Wellington. After a brief riff on how President Obama has “taken your health care away from you,” Gil asked Mrs. Wellington to stay on the line to hear an important message from “Dick Morris of Citizens United.”
Then a recording of the Fox News pollster/guru and noted toe sucking fetishist, Dick Morris, commenced.
Conservative elites getting nervous?
Rick Perlstein (author of Nixonland) examines the deepening fault lines in the conservative movement – and the alarming resurgence of the violent fringe in Beyond the Palin:
For decades it has remained a Republican article of faith: white, lower-middle-class, “heartland” masses, fundamentally socially conservative, were an inexhaustible electoral resource… But beneath the surface, some Republicans have been chafing at the ideological wages of right-wing populism…
The elite conservative fears that the temptation to woo working-class voters will, you know, shade into policies that actually advantage the working class. That fear surfaced recently when Rush Limbaugh—whom (David) Frum himself has singled out as one of the dangerous populists dragging the Republicans down—dismissed those who criticized the AIG bonuses as “peasants with their pitchforks” who must be silenced for the sake of conservative orthodoxy…
At least in the past, those who wished to represent their movement as cosmopolitan and urbane could simply point to William F. Buckley as the right’s most prominent spokesman. Now Buckley is gone, and the most prominent spokesmen—the Limbaughs and O’Reillys and Becks—can be heard mouthing attitudes once confined to the violent fringe. For the second time in three months, Fox heavily promoted anti-administration “tea party” events this past Fourth of July—rallies in praise of secession and the Articles of Confederation, at which speakers “joked” about a coup against the communist Muslim Barack Obama like the one against Manuel Zelaya in Honduras.
It’s well worth the read.
This week in the health care reform fight
This week Barb Wold of Democracy for New Mexico tangled with health care reform opponents in an online forum hosted by the Albuquerque Journal.
State Senator Dede Feldman recalls how opponents of Medicare in the 1960s denounced it as “socialism” and how states like New Mexico have been struggling to address the health care crisis (link).
In the face of the blitz of anti-health care reform TV ads telling horror stories about the Canadian health care, system Jonathan Cohn counters with the facts.
And some of today’s opponents of health care reform believe that America would be better off if Medicare had never been enacted. Here at Clearly NM, we’ve kicked off a discussion forum on that very topic.
Have a good weekend.
As we face another April 15, the great American debate over taxes and the proper role of government has taken a turn toward the grotesque.
Those screaming the loudest this Tax Day are the self-named “teabaggers,” who are angrily carrying signs and delivering tea bags to elected officials in actions they say are based on the 1773 Boston Tea Party.
In that historic event, American colonists dumped tea into Boston Harbor to protest taxes levied by the government of England. At the time, the more than 1.5 2.2 million colonists (roughly a quarter of the size of population of England) were not allowed to elect members to Parliament – they were taxed without any representation.
That’s a far cry indeed from the massive turnout – and resulting mandate – produced by the U.S. electorate in November 2008.
Many have noted that it’s a rather disingenuous for the teabaggers to scream about Obama’s tax policies, inasmuch as Bush’s policies transformed a budget surplus into a massive deficit with tax cuts that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthiest members of our society. The Obama tax cuts benefit 95% of Americans — those whose incomes have been stagnating.
Sadly, the teabaggers are open to ridicule for so much more than their unfortunate name.
In the face of a relentless publicity push by Fox News and right-wing talk radio, questions have arisen over who is really organizing the protests and whether they truly sprang from grassroots protestors or in fact are backed by corporate lobbyists or multi-billionaire media companies. It’s suggestive of a word coined a few years ago – astroturfing. Astroturfing is basically fake grassroots organizing.
Consider it all together and it’s almost funny.
But taxes – who pays them, how much different people and companies are required to pay and what is done with the money that’s collected – is too important an issue to laugh off.
Fox News is whipping up “Tea Bagging” fever — multi-city protest demonstrations against letting the Bush tax cuts for the rich expire.
Watch this entertaining segment about the tea bagging “movement” from last night’s Rachel Maddow Show in which Ana Marie Cox and Rachel attempt to unpack the weird contradictions of the Tea Bag Revolution: