Let the Swiftboating Begin!

Mary Katharine Ham
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Posted: Nov 12, 2007 9:00 AM
Much to the consternation of campaign finance reformers, citizens can still say plenty during the election cycle through the relatively unregulated 527s. Despite their moral outrage at the Swiftboat Veterans for Truth's audacity to, umm, tell the truth, about John Kerry, the Left is not gonna miss out on this part of the game.

To wit (Roll Call, $):
Prominent liberal activists last week laid the cornerstone for a network of unregulated Democratic-leaning political groups that are expected to dump perhaps $100 million or more into media buys and voter outreach in the run-up to the 2008 elections.
 
John Podesta, chief of staff in the Clinton White House and now president of the liberal Center for American Progress, Anna Burger, chairwoman of the labor coalition Change to Win, and Taco Bell heir-turned philanthropist Rob McKay filed paperwork with the Internal Revenue Service for The Fund for America, a group registered under section 527 of the federal tax code.
 
Representatives for Podesta, Burger and McKay all declined Roll Call’s request to discuss the new group, but several knowledgeable Democratic strategists confirmed that the The Fund for America will become a clearinghouse for soft money political contributions, limit-free gifts that are known for bankrolling television spots such as the “Swift Boat” television advertisements that during the 2004 presidential campaign questioned Sen. John Kerry’s (D-Mass.) Vietnam War service.
The group may fund the historically impoverished demographic of...Hollywood executives? Seems an odd choice, but I won't argue.
The source confirmed that one possible recipient of the group’s funds could be First Tuesday Media, a group first unearthed by washingtonpost.com in September. The group is a collective of prominent Hollywood television and film executives.
And, the capper: A sentence to make McCain's and Feingold's blood boil:
“This group creates at least an appearance that we’re headed for the same types of activities in 2008 that the FEC found illegal in 2004, but it did it so late and with such relatively small fines that [the fines] appeared to be the cost of doing business,” Wertheimer said.
The Left's 527 campaigns will likely be better funded and more dastardly than anything the Swiftboat Vets ever began to imagine putting together and their moral outrage at attacks from the Right will be as disproportionate as it was in 2004. But it's a free speech world, a market of ideas, and the relatively low-funded Swiftboaters made a difference in the 2004 elections that Soros' bag of tricks and bigger money couldn't.

It happened because they had the freedom to band together, raise money, and get an effective message to voters that they felt needed to be circulated. It worked because Americans heard that message, heard the message of Americans Coming Together and the Media Fund and other lefty groups, and decided that the Swiftboat message was more relevant to the campaign.

Here's to another round.