The move is on to vilify those who support President Bush's Social Security reform package. The New York Times recently demonized the group USA Next as Republican operatives -- with, gasp, ties to some of the same lobbyists as the Swift Boat Vets. Last week, Lizz Winsted and Rachel Maddow, hosts of Air America radio’s Unfiltered morning program, followed the same template. However, what they omitted said as much about Air America as their demagogic attack.
Like the NYT, the leftist hosts tied USA Next to the Swift Boaters (the Left's worst nightmare). According to them, there is a plethora of evil Republican and corporate interests involved with USA Next. They said CEO Charlie Jarvis is linked to the Republican Party and that USA Next is using the same advertising and PR consultants used by the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth.
So outraged were Winsted and Maddow that they asked listeners to sign a petition organized by the left-wing group Democracy for America, which will be sent to all the TV stations that dared to broadcast the Swiftboat ads, demanding that these stations deny first amendment rights to USA Next.
What Winsted and Maddow did not tell you is that while there may be tenuous links between USA Next and the Republican Party, there are much stronger links between Democracy for America and the Democratic Party.
For one thing, Democracy for America was founded by current DNC Chairman Howard Dean. While they mentioned this fact, they said he is no longer with the organization. What Liz and Rachel did not say is that Democracy for America’s Chairman is Howard Dean’s brother, James H. Dean. The group's website states:
As the chair of Democracy for America, Jim Dean is dedicated to carrying on what his brother, Governor Howard Dean, started - strengthening the grassroots movement and electing fiscally responsible and socially progressive candidates to all levels of government. This will be achieved through supporting the efforts of over 360 Meetup groups across America, coordinating with over 100 DFA volunteer coalition groups, and fundraising.
This is not Democracy for America’s only Democratic Party link. Quoting the DFA's website:
Tom Hughes, Executive Director…is a DFA Democrat. Promoted to executive director of Democracy for America in February 2005, he oversees the committee's endorsement process, the agenda for over 360 Meetups which gather monthly across the country, and the coordination of the DFA coalition of more than 100 volunteer organizations. He works closely with DFA Chair Jim Dean on framing, messaging and fundraising….Hughes managed former Vermont Lt. Gov. Doug Racine's gubernatorial race in 2002. In 2000, he was the deputy finance director and an advance team member for the Gore-Lieberman campaign…a member of Vice President Gore's advance staff from 1995-2000…During his tenure as executive director of the Vermont Democratic Party in 1998, he helped re-elect then-Gov. Dean and a state legislature that went on to pass Vermont's historic civil unions legislation. Tom got his start in politics as an advance staffer for Sen. Lloyd Bentsen after volunteering for the Dukakis campaign in 1988.
Lizz and Rachel did not say that Democracy for America actively opposes Social Security reform. Democracy for America’s lists a "Blog for America." This blog has "Social Security 101," which states:
With all of the clever framing and political grandstanding surrounding President Bush's plan to dismantle the Social Security system, it's easy to get caught up in the hype and forget the reality of this long-standing institution. Social Security helps keep elderly and disabled people out of poverty—these people are our grandmothers, our fathers and our aunts…To learn more about the real facts behind this imagined crisis, visit the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities' article on the subject. And to learn the real stories behind the facts, ask someone who depends on Social Security.
Lizz and Rachel did not say that Democracy for America received $250,000 from George Soros, the billionaire convicted of insider trading.
Liz and Rachel did not say that Democracy for America received $100,000 from the leftist Service Employees International Union (SEIU) – while Andrew Stern, President of the SEIU, was a guest on their show the same day.
Lizz and Rachel did not say that Air America was financed by Democratic National Committee advisor Mark Walsh.
Lizz and Rachel did not say that Rob Glaser is the Chairman of the Board of Air America or that the billionaire creator of Real Networks donated millions to anti-Bush organizations.
These two leftists accused USA Next of being a Republican Party front group shilling for President Bush’s Social Security reform plan, and they steered their listeners to a transparent Democratic Party front. Can you say hypocrisy?