Thursday, May 15, 2008

Obama shutting down the progressive infrastructure - How dangerous is he?

Obama is attempting to take control of the progressive infrastructure built over the last 15 years. Ben Smith reports that Obama is seeking to essentially shutdown outside progressive groups and funnel their funding to his campaign:

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

Obama’s 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.”

"..... after what many progressives saw as an attempted coup d’├ętat by movement conservatives against President Clinton, the left began building its own infrastructure to counter the Rush Limbaugh/American Spectator magazine/Newt Gingrich assault on our first progressive president in a generation. MoveOn.org was born as a muscular defensive of Clinton in a era where the left consisted of stale periodically like The Nation and Mother Jones.
Now Obama is seeking to use the fragile progressive infrastructure for his own electoral gain":
But in recent days, major donors have begun to conclude that Obama is serious in trying to cut off funds to the outside groups.

“It’s given donors pause,” said one prominent Democratic donor of Pritzker’s words.

Obama’s remarkably swift and complete consolidation of Democratic Party power. It’s 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.
Some liberal activists argue that Obama is making a big mistake by consolidating all the power and money into his campaign. If Republican 527 groups take him down in the end, sobeit-maybe it's what's best if he's the candidate for the Democratic Party.
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