Just in case you weren’t convinced that the White House’s “anonymous foreign donors” scare-mongering during the midterm campaigns last year was a complete fabrication, the Los Angeles Times provides all the evidence you need:
Democrats putting together new independent political organizations for the 2012 campaign are embracing a model that will allow them to conceal their donors — the very tactic for which they criticized Republicans in 2010.
Two former Obama White House officials, Bill Burton and Sean Sweeney, are behind the planning of one of these groups, which will lend support to the president’s reelection bid. “As a spokesman for Obama, Burton repeatedly hammered Republican groups for their lack of transparency in 2010,” the Times reports.
“This is stunning in its hypocrisy,” said Jonathan Collegio, spokesman for American Crossroads.
But it’s not just hypocrisy. Democrats had no problem taking money from undisclosed donors in the past, and even did so during the midterms—in between criticizing Republicans for the same thing, of course. And after all of the unfounded attacks on the Chamber of Commerce, the dark insinuations about the GOP’s reliance upon “anonymous foreign donors,” and the phony posturing about transparency, the Democrats’ decision to ramp up their fundraising from undisclosed donors further illustrates the political cynicism of the White House’s strategy last fall.
Listen to Obama adviser David Axelrod on State of the Nation last October:
They say, trust us, trust us, everything is cool, everything is kosher, don’t worry about it, but we’re not going to disclose. Let me tell you something: people don’t disclose, there’s a reason. Ask these folks why they feel it’s necessary to keep these funds secret. We tried to make them public, even the Democratic funds, Democratic-leaning funds. We don’t think anybody should keep these things secret.
The White House should be kicking itself for its strategy. If Obama ends up taking a significant amount of money from these groups, assertions like Axelrod’s will undoubtedly come back to haunt him.
House Democrats, who voted in caucus today to oppose the tax deal, are in essence at war with the Clinton years — with Obama in the middle.
Barack Obama swept to power promising a new day and a new way, and he brought with him a cadre of top aides forged in the fire of the presidential campaign and the politics of Chicago.
The most visible Clinton alum, Rahm Emanuel, returned to Chicago to run for mayor.
But an array of other Clinton vets has stepped up to handle the sales job on taxes on the Hill and in town. Key names include: Lawrence Summers, Gene Sperling, Ron Klain, Jack Lew and John Podesta. Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, is an early Obama advisor, but he’s philosophically in tune with the economic views of the Clinton types.
Meanwhile, campaign honchos David Axelrod and Jim Messina — two Obama Originals — will soon be headed back to Chicago to lay the groundwork for the president’s 2012 campaign.
The significance of this staff shift is beyond the operational. The Clinton-era alums, by outlook and experience, represent a centrist, pragmatic, pro-business “wealth-creation” wing of the Democratic Party that flourished during the Clinton presidency in the 1990s. Story continues below Advertisement
For tactical and substantive reasons, Barack Obama ran for president largely ignoring the economic record of Clinton’s time. Obama, after all, was running against Sen. Hillary Clinton, and he also admired the game-changing sweep of the Reagan presidency.
But now the president finds himself in the same kind of environment that Clinton — as governor — encountered (and learned to thrive in) during his rise in the 1980s. It is one in which conservative Republicans control the terms of debate, if not all the levers of power.
It is therefore not surprising that Obama would turn to the Clintonites to sell some $800 billion worth of tax cuts to his fellow Democrats.
The Clinton people share certain traits: they are brilliant, like a lot of the Obama folks, but they also are cold-blooded and now have many years’ experience at the intersection of money and power.
Attention has focused on Vice President Joe Biden’s role as the new “enforcer,” but the key to that operation is his chief of staff, Ron Klain, who once ran the Senate Judiciary Committee staff and who then served as chief of staff for Vice President Al Gore.
(Klain could become Obama’s chief of staff if interim chief Pete Rouse doesn’t want the job.)
Much of the substantive sales spin has been handled by Gene Sperling — who began his career in the Clinton campaign war room and who essentially did the same job in the Clinton White House — and Jack Lew, who was working for Hillary at the State Department before coming back to the White House to head the Office of Management and Budget, an upgraded version of the budget work what he did in the Clinton administration.
Of course there is also Obama’s chief economic adviser, Dr. Larry Summers — who is essentially playing the Dick Cheney role of scaring the bejeezus out of anyone who dares oppose the president.
Summers was a Clinton Treasury Secretary.
Outside the White House per se, the president is getting key support from John Podesta, whose Center for American Progress has placed dozens of staffers in key positions inside the administration.
CAP supports the tax-cut deal, perhaps not surprising given that Podesta was once Bill Clinton’s highly regarded chief of staff.
And what about Obama Interim Chief of Staff Rouse? He’s an Obama guy. Before becoming Obama’s top Senate aide in 2005, he’d spent much of his career with then-Sen. Tom Daschle, the South Dakota Democrat who was the party’s skilled leader in the Senate.
Rouse is a popular consensus builder, and several cabinet members have told the president that they want Rouse to get the job permanently. They include, according to a cabinet member who declined to be named, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and Labor Secretary Hilda Solis. “Pete has made a big effort to involve the cabinet and many of us want him to agree to stay on.”
No one has worked for Obama longer in an official governmental capacity, and he is well liked — even adored — by the Obama originals.
But it is not clear that Rouse, 64, wants the job on a permanent basis.
If he doesn’t, it’s not clear which Obama original could or would step in.
This is the change?