Robert Gibbs: Hijacker or Hypocrite?

I leave the obvious punchline for you, so I can get to this report from the Daily Caller’s Chris Moody:

The White House plans to continue attacking groups like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and other conservative organizations for not disclosing the names of donors behind political ads. But during the 2004 Democratic primary campaign, White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was involved with a political advocacy group that refused to reveal its own donors until the law required it.


Under campaign finance law, the Chamber is not required to release the names of its donors. When pressed by reporters as to why groups not mandated by law should disclose their donors, Gibbs said they should do it in “the spirit of political disclosure.”

During the 2003-2004 presidential primary season, however, Gibbs worked as the spokesman for a liberal advocacy group that ran attack ads against then-Democratic candidate Howard Dean. The “secretive” group, called Americans for Jobs, Health Care & Progressive Values, spent months organizing scathing ads without disclosing who was paying for them.

Gibbsy’s pals are best remembered as the sweethearts who savaged Dean as someone who could not stand up to Osama bin Laden:

As Moody recounts, the ad was widely credited with crippling Dean’s campaign. If Barack Obama thinks these types of ads are “really hijacking our democracy,” what must he think of his current flack?

Obama almost certainly does not care about about the hypocrisy of putting Gibbs out there like a modern-day Capt. Renault. He cares much more about having something to discuss other than the dismal economy and his unpopular legislative record. And he cares about having yet more boogeymen to blame for his failures (even after the midterms). However, those boogeymen are about as mythical as the one used to scare kids, as The Hotline’s Josh Kraushaar explains:

Democrats have portrayed the influx of GOP outside money into the political process as sinister, raising the unsubstantiated specter of foreign influence into the political process. But money chases momentum — not the other way around. There’s a simple reason for all of the cash flooding against Democrats this year — voters are sending a clear message to Washington with their pocketbooks.

Money doesn’t get raised in a vacuum. If the political environment weren’t as poor as it is for Democrats, and if the House and Senate weren’t in play, there wouldn’t be as much interest in donating to outside groups like American Crossroads. In 2008, outside organizations with high-profile GOP connections such as Freedom’s Watch were unable to raise enough money to have an impact.

That’s all changed, thanks to the Obama administration’s aggressive first-term agenda, which has expanded the scope of government and alienated a large swath of the electorate, according to national polling. Wall Street, which closely split its donations between Republicans and Democrats in 2008, has now doled out most of its cash to Republican groups and candidates, out of concern about the administration’s regulatory policies. The Chamber of Commerce initially backed Obama on the stimulus. But now, outraged over White House policies on health care and climate change — and what it views as the administration’s anti-business rhetoric — the Chamber is focusing its efforts primarily on electing Republicans.

And while Republicans and their allies are winning support from the well-heeled, the untold story is the GOP’s small-donor base — not all that different from the one that allowed Obama to set fundraising records in his 2008 presidential campaign.

Obama compounded the Democrats’ woes in other ways. In 2008, the Obama campaign actively discouraged independent expenditures from liberal groups, because Obama wanted control over the campaign’s message. Pres. Obama and his claque, by demonizing Supreme Court decisions upholding free speech, further discouraged lefties from getting into the indie spending game this year. But it is the lousy economy and the Democrats’ unpopular agenda that best explain why shadowy leftist billionaire George Soros doesn’t want to be “standing in the way of an avalanche” this year.