It’s all our fault, of course. Obama would never do something as foully hypocritical as betray a core promise on campaign finance unless his hand was forced. So remind me again: Who was it who forced him to opt out of public financing for his campaign three years ago after blowing all sorts of smoke about it during the primaries? The lesson then, as now, is that when The One is made to choose between principle and electoral advantage, he’ll choose the latter every time. Karl Rove and the Koch brothers and those mysterious foreign donors behind the Chamber of Commerce really have little to do with it.
Despite the fact that the co-founders of the new group recently left high-profile jobs at the White House, Obama’s team insists it has nothing to do with the organization. Which, from an intellectual standpoint, is about as persuasive as treating the U.S. and NATO as completely distinct operational entities.
At least he’s never tried something as silly as that.
“We don’t control outside groups,” White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters today on Air Force One, as the president flew from Washington, DC, to Tuscaloosa, Alabama. “These are not people working for the administration.”
Carney was referring to Priorities USA and Priorities USA Action, the new outside groups formed by former White House deputy press secretary Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, who served as chief of staff to then-White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Priorities USA Action will register itself in the tax code as a “social welfare group,” which does not require the disclosure of donors. Or, as Burton and Sweeney put it in a press release: “Priorities USA Action is an Independent Expenditure PAC that supports candidates who will advance policies that provide the strongest and most sound outcomes for middle class families.”…
Sweeney in a statement said that the new groups are part of “an effort to level the playing field. Americans deserve an honest debate about job creation, the economy, national security and education. That debate will never happen if only right wing extremists are engaged on the battlefield.”…
Burton said that “while we agree that fundamental campaign finance reforms are needed, Karl Rove and the Koch brothers cannot live by one set of rules as our values and our candidates are overrun with their hundreds of millions of dollars. We will follow the rules as the Supreme Court has laid them out [in the Citizens United decision], but the days of the double standard are over.”
They’ve already got an ad out, which I’ve embedded below. It’s as hopeful and change-y and forward-looking as you’d expect given that O’s big political achievement thus far this year is requesting a copy of his birth certificate. If you’re short on time, though, I advise skipping the ad and watching the second clip — his weekly message from last fall in which he rails against the GOP for using precisely the same sort of political organization that his toadies Burton and Sweeney have now created for him. Two weeks ago, I spent an hour on a Friday night marveling at his hypocrisy on presidential signing statements; tonight we’ll be busy marveling at this. I wonder what insane reversal we’ll be marveling at two weeks from now. Maybe, after famously railing in 2002 against launching “dumb wars” in the Middle East, he’ll shock us by inexplicably intervening in some Arab conflict for murky reasons? Nah, too far-fetched. Exit quotation from Russ Feingold: “Democrats who mirror the right-wing tactics of Karl Rove and David Koch do our nation no favors.”