Having worked for the last couple of years with the free-market advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, I know them as tireless workers for political change on economic policy — the kind of grassroots organization that commits focused, principled activism. They host the annual Right Online conference, which had its most successful edition in Las Vegas last month. It’s a model of citizen action and a sterling example of honest grassroots organization.
Which is why, of course, that Barack Obama chose to demonize them as an example of how foreigners could use a recent Supreme Court decision to influence elections:
Citing the recent Supreme Court decision that loosened campaign finance rules, he claimed “groups with harmless-sounding names like Americans for Prosperity” could run ads against Democratic candidates with impunity. The concern is that an organization like Americans for Prosperity could dump millions into an election to sway voters without the voters ever knowing who’s behind it all.
“And they don’t have to say who exactly the Americans for Prosperity are. You don’t know if it’s a foreign-controlled corporation. You don’t know if it’s a big oil company or a big bank. You don’t know if it’s a insurance company that wants to see some of the provisions in health reform repealed because it’s good for their bottom line, even if it’s not good for the American people,” Obama said. “A Supreme Court decision allowed this to happen. And we tried to fix it, just by saying disclose what’s going on, and making sure that foreign companies can’t influence our elections.”
Except that Obama clearly didn’t bother to do his homework before shooting off his mouth:
Obama did hit pointedly one aspect of the conservative group. Americans for Prosperity was founded by billionaire David Koch of oil company Koch Industries. Koch and his company, however, are American.
Hey, here’s a novel idea. How about the White House and its current thin-skinned, dilettante resident try doing a little research before shrieking about foreign influence in their opposition’s political organizations? Or do they prefer to think of prosperity as a “foreign” concept? Because their policies and the results we’re seeing during “Recovery Summer” sure make it look as though prosperity will be a foreign concept through at least January 2013.
Update: Normally Media Matters specializes in lame apologetics for Democratic pols, but they outdo themselves in attempting to rebut this. They claim Obama did nothing wrong because Obama set this up as a hypothetical. Isn’t that convenient? Why, we can hypothesize all sorts of things about Obama and Media Matters and it wouldn’t count at all!
If Obama wanted to hypothesize to make a point, why not make up an organization name as well instead of naming an actual and opposing political group and “hypothesize” about those danged furriners controlling their message? Would it be okay if we hypothesize that the coffee machine at Media Matters may be leaching lead into the joe in order to warn people about ensuring the water supply?
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