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Perky Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 04:28 PM
Original message
Obama: "Don't fund independent groups" Fascinating article
From Politico

Senator Barack Obamas campaign is steering the candidates wealthy supporters away from independent Democratic groups, calling into question what had been expected to be the groups central role in this years Democratic offensive against Senator John McCain.

Obamas national finance chairwoman, Chicago hotel mogul Penny Pritzker, told supporters at a national finance committee meeting in Indianapolis May 2, and in other conversations, not to give money to the groups, people familiar with her comments said.

From the beginning of this race Obama has told supporters that if they want to help his effort, they should do so through his campaign, said Obama spokesman Bill Burton, who confirmed that Pritzker has told donors not to give to the groups. And he means exactly what he says.

Most presidential candidates say they don't encourage the outside groups, and donors are accustomed to taking those words with a grain of salt. The candidates' words are typically seen as mere legal defenses against allegations that the campaigns are illicitly coordinating with outside groups.

The donors have been considering entreaties from Progressive Media USA, run by conservative-journalist turned liberal media critic David Brock; from former Clinton aide John Podestas Fund for America; and from America Votes, a group backed by billionaire George Soros that focuses on voter mobilization, among other efforts.

But in recent days, major donors have begun to conclude that Obama is serious in trying to cut off funds to the outside groups.

Its given donors pause, said one prominent Democratic donor of Pritzkers words.

Donors and Democratic activists have been quietly debating Obamas motives: Is he simply interested in keeping his Democratic efforts within his campaign, which is so well funded he doesnt need outside help? Or is he, as some believe, cutting off funds to groups whose leaders Brock and Podesta some Obama aides view as too tightly linked to Clinton?

In either case, Pritzkers words are the latest in Obamas remarkably swift and complete consolidation of Democratic Party power. Its an unprecedented seizure of control that has built him, over the course of a year, the most powerful field organization and the largest financial network in American politics, leaving many existing structures traditional party organizations in many states, the Clintons long-nurtured national network in the dust.

Just last summer, Matt Bais widely accepted analysis identified the billionaires and the bloggers as the key, emergent players in the Democratic Partys infrastructure. But Obama has marginalized both groups. Pritzkers words are part of a move to keep Obamas grip on the sole important funnel of Democratic money this year. And his campaign has largely ignored the existing network of liberal bloggers, and actively opposes their embrace of fierce partisanship.

Obama has created a number of significant infrastructure pieces through his campaign, displacing traditional groups the way he promised he would by signaling the end of the old politics of division and partisanship, the blogger Matt Stoller wrote recently of Obamas consolidation of the party, which he called stunning.

Many of the figures Obama has shut out have, sometimes grudgingly, embraced the sheer effectiveness of his organization, and his potential to create a lasting new Democratic majority. The open question is whether Obamas movement is about something more than the candidate, and whether it will cohere after he wins or loses in November.

Will the Obama movement be a real movement that pushes its leader to keep his promises? Micah Sifry wrote recently on the blog TechPresident. Or will it be more of a personalized movement of followers attracted to a charismatic star?

Obamas campaign has been remarkably effective so far this year at maintaining a coherent message, built around Obamas biography and his appeal for a new kind of politics. Part of his success has been tight message discipline: The campaign has been virtually leak-free, and the line of control from Obama to his chief strategist David Axelrod to campaign manager (and Axelrod business partner) David Plouffe is unchallenged.

Many involved in the independent efforts find it hard to quibble with that success, and may have second thoughts about continuing that work over Obamas explicit objection.

If he were to make a definitive statement, wed have to think hard about it, said one.

The campaigns opposition to the outside groups is, donors and activists said, being felt more sharply by the groups established to attack McCain through television advertising, as the lavishly funded Media Fund attacked Bush in 2004.

Brock, the chairman of Progressive Media USA, declined to comment on Obamas stance.

Martin Frost, the president of America Votes, also suggested that the Obama campaign stance had had more impact on media groups than on ones focused on turnout.

Were continguing with our fundraising and things have been going well for us, he said. You really need to ask someone whos dealing with the media aspect.

But Democrats who support the work of the media 527s say Obamas making a mistake. Progressive Media USA has aired anti-McCain television ads and developed a website intended to be a hub for negative information about McCain.

Obama needs a baseline to the melody of his positive message, said a Democratic strategist who backs the groups aims.

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Captain Hilts Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 04:54 PM
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1. Wow. No responses yet. I wonder why? nt
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 04:58 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. Cause it's busy in here?
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WillYourVoteBCounted Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
2. Obama's campaign learns the laws of each state, unlike groups like "WVWV" who could care less
A dollar given to Obama goes to a well oiled machine.

I have NEVER seen as good a set up to help voters in North Carolina
know the election dates (we have early voting)
help voters find their polling place,
help voters register,


Our own State Board of Elections didn't make it as easy.

Efficient, thats the word.

If he runs the country the way he runs his campaign, we will pull out of this hole
in less than 4 years.

I love that man!
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grantcart Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:00 PM
Response to Original message
4. They want to control the message and continue to establish Obama as
a different brand - if others get into it drags Obama down.

It's not a strictly ethical calculation either - they know that if McCain is forced to accept Obama as 'equals' and run on issues they are doomed. Their only hope is to show that Obama is a) not one of us and b) just like a normal politician McCain has a chance.

Isn't it nice when ethical and strategic are on the same side of the street?
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:01 PM
Response to Original message
5. He isn't omnipotent. Donors will give to whomever they want.
I love the unnamed sources.
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:06 PM
Response to Reply #5
7. Generally for quid pro quo
They're not giving out of the kindness of their heart. They expect something in return.
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redqueen Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:10 PM
Response to Reply #7
8. And this is news to someone?
I have given money. I expect better leadership.

What do Clinton's wealthy donors expect? Besides the ability to write strongly-worded letters to Dem leaders, threatening to choke off funds if they don't say what the wealthy donors want to hear... cause they've got that one wrapped up.
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depakid Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:19 PM
Response to Reply #5
9. It's politico- and so I take it with a HUGE grain of salt
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OzarkDem Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-13-08 05:06 PM
Response to Original message
6. What is he promising these big funders
that convinces them to take his side on these matters? Big, powerful corporate donors don't follow a candidate's wishes just because they like the way he gives speeches.

That's what concern's me most about Obama's candidacy - he appears to be selling access to and control of his administration if he's elected, while his buddies Rahm Emmanuel, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are selling them control of the Democrats in Congress.

Very disturbing.
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