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Gearing up: David Brock to launch outside group for 2012

By Greg Sargent

With the White House now signaling it wants outside groups on the left to ramp up for 2012, Media Matters founder David Brock is in discussions to form a new group designed to raise and spend big bucks to counter the right's powerful new infrastructure, a person who's spoken directly with Brock about his plans tells me.

Brock's move represents the first clear sign that lefty Beltway power players will heed the White House's call to arms. It also indicates that they've decided the quasi-collapse of the campaign finance system has left them with no choice but to gear up in order to counter the massive spending of outfits like the U.S Chamber of Commerce and Karl Rove's groups.

"David is on the road right now talking to donors and strategists who would be interested in this," the source tells me, adding that Brock intends to create a 527, which has partial donor disclosure rules. "He's out pitching it right now."

"There's a general sense that in 2010 nothing was done and it cost Democrats," the source continues. "People realize, including in the White House, that something needs to be done in 2012 or progressives will suffer at the ballot box again."

Reached for comment, Media Matters spokesman Ari Rabin-Havt would only say: "No comment."

During the 2008 campaign, Obama famously directed outside liberal groups to close down and let his enormously successful fundraising operation dominate. But as the magnitude of the right's 2010 spending in the wake of the Citizens United decision became apparent, White House senior adviser David Axelrod began quietly signaling a new openness to outside spending on the left.

As Brock's efforts clearly show, the message has been received.


UPDATE, 2:42 p.m.: Brock tried to form a similar group against John McCain in 2008 but it was one of the groups Obama shut down. Things will be different this time around.

By Greg Sargent  | November 10, 2010; 2:23 PM ET
Categories:  2010 elections, 2012, Campaign finance  
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Next: Awkward timing for Democrats

Comments

Leftists have money?
How? We know they can't run a business.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: You don't seem too upset about the partial disclosure?

Posted by: sbj3 | November 10, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Sbj, partial disclosure sure still isn't ideal- but you can't argue it isn't better than the no-disclosure we got out of the Chamber and Crossroads this cycle. I hope not anyway.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | November 10, 2010 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Missile of the Coast of California

I don't like the Pentagon's explanation. They have radar tapes - which means they record all the radar screens on a tape or computer disk.

They should be able to identify which exact planes were in that area at the time (they have the exact time) - and identify the DIRECTIONS of each plane - so they can elimination all planes flying in a different direction.

This plane was flying easterly.

I don't know.

Sure seems to me that one POSSIBILITY is that some country has gotten ahold of an old Russian submarine - and they have fired a missile. Are these considered international waters? Could this be North Korea or Iran? We have to look into it. Obama is in South Korea today for a meeting - that may have something to do with the North Koreas playing games like they usually do - if it is them.


well

It looks like a missile.

It really does not look like a plane. There is a bright light on the object.

If the bright light was the sun reflecting, the sun would be in the west.

Supposedly the picture was taken on the coast, overlooking the ocean - so the sun would be reflecteed WESTWARD, NOT EASTWARD TOWARD THE COAST.


It is a missile -

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 10, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

I think without clear financing rules in the wake of Citizens United, Dems would be smart not to unilaterally disarm. Republicans have laid rules of the field and then folks have no choice but to raise the same way the Repubs do.

I would hope there will be more disclosure, but we didn't make the rules. The Robert Court did that. Dems have no choice but to play by this set of rules or get clobbered everytime.

Posted by: Alex3 | November 10, 2010 2:49 PM | Report abuse

"With the White House now signaling it wants outside groups on the left to ramp up for 2012, Media Matters founder David Brock is in discussions to form a new group designed to raise and spend big bucks to counter the right's powerful new infrastructure"

They will whine much louder about how much Republicans are spending, and how anonymous it is, and still not get any traction.

"People realize, including in the White House, that something needs to be done in 2012 or progressives will suffer at the ballot box again."

I think at the level of campaign spending that goes on now, that's a fantasy. It's like eating everything in sight and thinking the solution is "eat even more!"

You can't run a campaign without money, but there's a point where it does you no good, and may even be counterproductive (see Meg Whitman). If they don't want to suffer at the ballot box, they need to keep Obama popular and they need to be seen as taking the policy fight to the Republicans, not being reactive or letting the Republicans set the agenda (which they've clearly done re: the Bush tax cuts, which is not a minor thing in a floundering economy).

While the left has never learned it about economic or social ills (nor has the political right, actually): throwing money at problems does not make them go away like magic. Just throwing money at elections isn't going to change *anything*. It might actually help in state legislature races, where there's very little money being spent at the outset, so additional exposure could really help. But it's not going to turn the tide in senate or gubernatorial races. If it was, California would have a governor Whitman and Nevada would have a senator Angle. ;)

However, I expect this sort of one-upmanship, on both sides, to continue. Next time the Republicans lose big, they'll regroup, new think tanks and PACs and whatnot will be formed, new ways of funneling money will be created, etc. Then, the Democrats will lose, and decide they need more of that Republican style infrastructure. And then the cycle starts again.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 2:50 PM | Report abuse

"They will whine much louder about how much Republicans are spending, and how anonymous it is, and still not get any traction."

You're assuming it was only a short term goal of changing the electorates vote. It could have been a longer term strategy, increase donations, etc.

I'd like to see these outside groups go right to the heart of the problem, the activist right wing led Supreme Court.

Take them to task. Make the public aware of their partisan participation. Turn up the heat.

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 10, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

"And then the cycle starts again."

But you support Republicans who oppose disclosure! You want to change the cycle? Stop voting for Republicans. Simple as that. Or vote for Republicans who support full disclosure. Anything less is just whining on your part.

For the record, I've made my view on campaign financing and independent groups abundantly clear -- I support public financing and if not then full disclosure by all groups -- and I vote accordingly.

I'm sick of hearing Republicans cry about this topic and then turn around and vote for the people who do the most damage to our electoral system.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 10, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

"I'd like to see these outside groups go right to the heart of the problem, the activist right wing led Supreme Court."

Anyone who thinks there is no difference between voting for Democrats or Republicans, examine the Supreme Court. Case closed.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 3:09 PM | Report abuse

Let's be CLEAR

Obama shut down the democratic outside groups because he wanted to directly control the spending of the money -

It was Obama's ego and meglomania which guided the policy on this - NOT any attempt to have a level-playing-field or to have a genuine campaign finance reform or improvement.


.

Posted by: OrangeForces | November 10, 2010 3:11 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: "I support... full disclosure by all groups -- and I vote accordingly."

Well 2012 should turn out to be a head-exploding time for you then, as even the 527 mentioned in this post would only partially disclose.

Posted by: sbj3 | November 10, 2010 3:19 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the leftists are aiming to buy election, 2012. They seem to think they lost because they didn't spend enough propaganda bucks this year. Not very likely.

The American people were plenty riled over the ruinous ways of Barack and the Pelosites. The money coming in from conservative groups just managed to egg 'em on a little.

The Obamanation shocked the bejeebers out of mainstream Americans. We have never seen the likes of B.H. Obama and we want to see him no more.

He will be cast out in 2012.

Or maybe not. Who really knows at this point. I have a friend at my place of employment who claims Obama is the anti-Christ.

Food for thought there.

Posted by: battleground51 | November 10, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

"...2012 should turn out to be a head-exploding time for you then..."

See, that wouldn't happen if big government's "war on drugs" hadn't taken away our right to keep and bear pseudoephedrine.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 3:29 PM | Report abuse

@sbj: "Well 2012 should turn out to be a head-exploding time for you then, as even the 527 mentioned in this post would only partially disclose."

Fight fire with fire as long as it is legal.

I support full disclosure and all of the candidates I vote for do as well.

Don't you support full disclosure too?

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 10, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

"Or maybe not. Who really knows at this point. I have a friend at my place of employment who claims Obama is the anti-Christ."

lol

Posted by: mikefromArlington | November 10, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

@mikefromarlington: "You're assuming it was only a short term goal of changing the electorates vote. It could have been a longer term strategy, increase donations, etc."

Good point. It can definitely motivate the base (always important) and get donations. And that money can definitely be deployed in elections where not much money is normally spent. A little advertising is definitely more effective (almost always) than no advertising.

"But you support Republicans who oppose disclosure!"

Well, I don't support the opposition of disclosure. I support full disclosure, and, given the choice between a Republican who didn't and a conservative Democrat who did, I might well vote for the conservadem.

"You want to change the cycle? Stop voting for Republicans."

I'm not making any promises, but who knows what the next election cycle will bring?

"Anything less is just whining on your part."

Now, that's a fair criticism.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | November 10, 2010 3:41 PM | Report abuse

As much as I'd like to think otherwise, the Left can never compete with the money that the Right secretly has to throw around. To get past the SCOTUS with full disclosure would take legislation, and like public financing of elections, it's against the self interest of Congress to ever pass anything that would change the SOP.
The Left can only win elections the old fashioned way - have a simple coherent message, walking the precincts and educating the voters against the GOP lies, and make sure to get people to the polls on election day.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 10, 2010 3:51 PM | Report abuse

@ethan: "I support full disclosure and all of the candidates I vote for do as well."

You do understand that the 527 discussed here as well as others yet to be created will be using only partially disclosed money to support your candidates and advertise against their opponents?

"Don't you support full disclosure too?"

To paraphrase ethan: "I support what is legal."

Posted by: sbj3 | November 10, 2010 4:04 PM | Report abuse

"The Left can only win elections the old fashioned way - have a simple coherent message..."

Uh-oh. No wonder we can't win. Moderates have a simple coherent message 'keep hoping for change,' the right has a simple coherent message, 'government bad, rich people good.' The left can't run on 'eat the rich,' or 'big government will save America,' or 'poor people are people too.' We're screwed.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 4:15 PM | Report abuse

If whatever organization Brock forms doesn't have full disclosure, then other than ideology, how is this any different than what Rove does? I know you have to "fight fire with fire," but with only partial disclosure how does Brock convince the MSM that they are any different from the GOP?
I think that one of the biggest Populist cudgels Obama can bring to 2012 is saying how the GOP is secretly funded by domestic and foreign companies that have been systematically destroying the working and middle class of this country for the last 30 years. This ought to be the Democrat's mantra going into 2012.
What Brock is going to do is take the sting out of that message.

Posted by: filmnoia | November 10, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

@SBJ: "To paraphrase ethan: 'I support what is legal.'"

I'll take that as a No. Pathetic.

Posted by: Ethan2010 | November 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

All, my take on the new report from Obama's fiscal commission:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/11/bad_timing_for_democrats.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | November 10, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

I, too, am for full disclosure, and that goes for both sides.

There is no rule that organizations like this can't voluntarily disclose their donors. Hopefully Brock will keep that in mind.

Posted by: nisleib | November 10, 2010 4:22 PM | Report abuse

"The left can't run on 'eat the rich,'"

The 18th century French had ir right, just put their heads on a pike. Works wonders:-)

Posted by: filmnoia | November 10, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

Halibut cheeks taste good, but I suffer thinking about cramming Limbaugh's down my throat, even with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. Maybe make sausage out them, yeah that's the ticket.

Posted by: shrink2 | November 10, 2010 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Funny how many on the Left assume that it's only Republican sources spending big money behind the scenes.

Guess who spent the most behind the scenes in the 2004, 2006, 2008, and likely the 2010 election?

George Soros? No, he was only #4 on the list.

The Big Spenders Behind the Scenes
http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2010/10/big-spenders-behind-scenes.html

Then there are all those sham groups run by Craig Varoga.

A Fake Tea Party Group Appears in Nevada
http://soquelbythecreek.blogspot.com/2010/10/fake-tea-party-group-appears-in-nevada.html

How about watching ALL the sham money in politics? It's not isolated to just the Republicans or the Conservatives.

Posted by: SoquelCreek | November 10, 2010 8:43 PM | Report abuse

With all the TAX FREE republican organizations contributing to republicans in the last election the Democrats should have no trouble forming their own TAX FREE organizations. After all if the republicans can get away with it, why can't the Democrats. Regardless of the party affiliation, I still think the name of every single contributor should be made available to the public on request.

Posted by: msealock | November 11, 2010 9:28 AM | Report abuse

Bout time. I would like finance reform, big time, but the Robert's Court took care of that. I certainly hope they spend big bucks in 2011 educating the American public. It needs to be loud, catchy and visual. It needs to touch people in their pocketbooks and in their hearts. Obama and his surrogates talk long and make explanations far too complicated Time to borrow from the MSM and people like Rachel Maddow who have explained the big issues succinctly and in ways most people who are finishing dinner and putting the kids to bed can understand.

Posted by: tarryh | November 11, 2010 11:06 AM | Report abuse

Gee that's great news. Where was this Primadonna tow or three months ago.

Posted by: Finnegen | November 11, 2010 11:55 AM | Report abuse

msealock: There were Many Americans that contributed to the last election that were sick of the Obama regime and its overreach of people's lives. You called it tax free contributions. Do you realize ALL the organizations(mostly thru Soros)& foreign monies that came into Obama's campaign, that was HIDDEN & NOT disclosed? Now, you think Repubs 'are getting away w/something?
ALL PEOPLE RUNNING FOR OFFICE SHOULD HAVE IT'S FUNDS INVESTIGATED/TRANSPARENT.

Recall, when Obama wasn't going to take outside money-that is, until he got McCAin to commit, then Obama did the ole"bait & switch" and collected MILLIONS from all over the world/& Soros' HIDDEN ORGS.

The Dems used Acorn to collect names for Obama & Monies, so look into this corrupt regime honestly if you can, before you ONLY
want to use the rhetoric from them against
anyone else. Obama is running NOW for 2010
& Soros will be working hard to KEEP HIS PUPPET, OBAMA IN OFFICE.

YOU, SHOULD CARE ABOUT THE DIRECTION THAT THEY TOGETHER ARE TRYING TO PUT AMERICA INTO: "A ONE WORLD ORDER", as they bankrupt
America, make them answerable to the UN & Int'l Law, & Make us pay for the "Faux Global Warming to 3rd world countries that don't have the money"...It's called:
"Redistribution of Wealth"...you know? Soros & Obama's Marxist Ideology, where THEY GET TO PLAY GOD TO THE REST OF THE WORLD. IT'S THE ELITIST DREAM.

WATCH GLENN BECK ALL THIS WK.ON SOROS, THEN
COME BACK HERE & LET US KNOW IF YOU THINK HE IS TRYING TO "BRING AMERICA DOWN(as he's
been trying for many, many years)

Educate yourself, before you post nonsense,
and do the Progressive/Dems' bidding, because they 'conned you and many others'

Posted by: ItsJoI | November 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

Post should have read: Obama is running for
2012 Now, He is in Constant Campaign Mode.

Posted by: ItsJoI | November 11, 2010 12:01 PM | Report abuse

hey shrink2, does gates have enough money for ya?

Posted by: moleif | November 11, 2010 1:46 PM | Report abuse

David Brock's 2012 group will probably have as much influence as Media Matters which is to say none.

Posted by: Bob65 | November 11, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"Things will be different this time around."

Gee, I wonder how Greg knows so surely why Brock, an outed gaylord, has in inside track, after Media Mutters has prove as inaccurate as The Plum Line on the entire 2010 election cycle.

Posted by: djman1141 | November 11, 2010 5:44 PM | Report abuse

ItsJoI (November 11, 2010 11:57 AM) thinks people can "educate" themselves by listening to Glenn Beck every day.
That pathetic mindless fool?
Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha.
(My laugh for the day.)
Glenn Beck, Rush Limberger and all those other propagandists are what is wrong with this country.
Educate anyone?
The weepy Beck didn't even get through high school.
What a laugh.

Posted by: Judy-in-TX | November 13, 2010 7:07 PM | Report abuse

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