Wednesday, April 14, 2010


Here's an ad I saw at Fox Nation yesterday, for the newest Republican gubernatorial candidate in Florida:

Wow -- "conservative outsider." A guy who was a business partner to a future president of the United States (he and George W. Bush were among the owners of the Texas Rangers). A guy who was also a partner of Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist's brother in the hospital company HCA. A guy who's given more than $63,000 to Republican candidates in recent years, including $30,000 to John McCain.

Teabaggers? This guy has already Astroturfed your supposedly grassroots movement. If his massive amounts of money allows him to craft a campaign that makes you fall for the notion that he's an "outsider," then you really are the stupidest, most easily gulled people on earth.

(I won't even mention the $1.7 billion fine his company paid for Medicare fraud because -- for all your chants of "Hands off my Medicare!" -- I know you love businessmen and would be angrier about the fine than about the fraud.)


But teabaggers are getting used to being literally owned by fat cats and slicksters. Politico reports:

Just days after the first widespread tea party demonstrators hit the streets a year ago Thursday, Joe Wierzbicki, a Republican political consultant with the Sacramento firm Russo Marsh + Rogers, made a proposal to his colleagues that he said could "give a boost to our PAC and position us as a growing-force/leading-force as the 2010 elections come into focus."

The proposal, obtained by POLITICO, was for a nation-wide tea party bus tour, to be called the Tea Party Express, which over the past seven months has become among the most identifiable brands of the tea party movement.

... the political action committee run by Wierzbicki, Russo Marsh founder Sal Russo, and a handful of other Republican operatives has also emerged as among the prolific fundraising vehicles under the tea party banner. Known as Our Country Deserves Better when it was founded during the 2008 election as a vehicle to oppose Barack Obama's campaign for president, the PAC saw its fundraising more than quadruple after it took the Tea Party Express public in July, raising nearly $2.7 million in roughly the following six months, compared to less than $600,000 in the preceding six months, according to Federal Election Commission filings....

So, teabaggers, you thought that bus represented a new, idealistic, independent movement?

Har har har. MM+R is a cynical gang of GOP opportunists, and that's been true for years. In the Bush years, MM+R's Move America Forward group sent right-wing talkers on a "Truth Tour" of Iraq; the trip was partly sponsored by the taxpayer-funded Office of Media Outreach at the Defense Department. Beyond that, as Sourcewatch notes,

One of [Move America Forward's] first high-profiled efforts was a campaign launched against the showing of Fahrenheit 9/11 ... in movie theaters....

The WWW.CENSURECARTER.COM website, the product of Move America Forward, was created for the swiftboating of President Jimmy Carter....

In July 2005,
O'Dwyers PR Daily reported that "the Kurdistan Regional Government has hired Republican lobby firm Russo Marsh & Rogers to get 'free media' to promote the interests of the Kurds in the post-Saddam Hussein Iraq."...

"The 'Defend Reagan Committee' was formed to defend the Reagan Legacy from a smear campaign waged by the creators, producers, writers and actors involved in the CBS miniseries 'The Reagans'" ...

All this allows MM+R to Hoover up e-mail addresses and (of course) money, either from clients or from ordinary wingnuts. As does the Tea Party Express.

Getting mainstream journalists to embed with the Express also helps in that money-making effort, especially when they crank out press releases disguised as journalism.

You're owned, teabaggers. Deal with it.

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