John Cole dissents:
The Chamber of Commerce is spending 100 million dollars this election, who knows how much of it from foreign funding because they refuse to say, all of it to attack Democrats. And in Sully’s world, it is the Democrats to blame for pointing this out. “Ignore those attacks, Obama! Be above it all!”
No. My point is that this shouldn't be a major focus of their message, sounds like whining, and because they have a stronger story to tell. But, as far as the Dish can tell, the Chamber of Commerce's foreign funding which Think Progress is still yelling about is no different than the foreign funding of other groups. Here's Jacob Sullum spelling it out:
Obama was referring to a ThinkProgress blog post reporting that the Chamber of Commerce receives revenue from affiliates in other countries. But as The New York Times noted, so do many other American organizations that are active in domestic political debates, "from liberal ones like the A.F.L.-C.I.O. and the Sierra Club to conservative groups like the National Rifle Association."
All these groups are legally required to keep such funds segregated from money they use to pay for political advocacy. The White House admitted it had no evidence that the Chamber of Commerce, which says "foreign money" represents 0.05 percent of its $200 million budget, has broken this rule.
"The president was not suggesting any illegality," insisted White House Counsel Bob Bauer. In other words, when Obama said "one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign sources," he was not implying any connection between the ads and the money. He was just stringing sounds together randomly.
Sullum thinks the Democratic attack on the Chamber Of Commerce is xenophobic. Greenwald wants more funding transparency but nevertheless believes that the Democrats are being hypocritical. John Cole is upset that, in his words, the "Democrats are just supposed to sit around and get beat on, and if they fight back, they are out of bounds." But setting the hypocrisy and xenophobia charges aside for a second it's not at all clear that this line of attack is even effective. Here's one of Ben Smith's readers:
I'm not quite sure what the Democrats hope to gain by demonizing these folks, the money is not going to stop and the Democrats' attacks make for pretty bad optics, unless one is simply very anti-business. I guess they will lock up the G20 protesters' votes.
I don't have any idea whether the overall White House and Dem attack is working or not. But it seems questionable for folks to conclude already that it's a failure, especially since there isn't any empirical evidence to support that claim.
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