Monday, April 09, 2007

Astroturf Campaign Targets Democratic Freshmen

Driving this morning, I was listening to the radio when I heard the oddest ad. It was an attack ad against Democratic Representative Heath Shuler, for supporting "union bosses" against the will of the people. What was odd, was that it was airing during the Stephanie Miller Show on Air America radio affiliate 880 AM the Revolution. It was an obvious astroturf campaign just from the tone of the ad, and at the end it said it was sponsored by "The Coalition For A Democratic Workplace". Irony is one of the right-wings favorite tools when naming front groups.

Doing a bit of research, I learned that the spokesflack for the group is Todd Harris, who worked in communications for McCain 2002, and for Jeb Bush's re-election campaign in Florida in 2002. His lobbying firm DC Navigators is an all GOP shop.

The industry groups behind the ads are a consortium of those who hate unions. They helpfully provide a list at their website. What ticks me off about the campaign is the dishonesty of course. I respect the free exchange of ideas. This is not what they are attempting to do here. They have dishonest ads, a dishonest name, as if they are ashamed of what they are attempting. Of course they have a very good reason for doing so. Here is the ad they were running in Louisiana.

I would like to draw an analogy first. If you had a country where the top opposition leaders are ruled ineligble to vote, and people from another country are shipped in, allowed to vote before the election would the election be fair? That in a way is what is happening to unions today. Companies will fire union organizers on their staff, and when a union vote is about to occur, they will ship in employees from another unit, for the specific task of voting the union down.

What the card check does is simply say that when 50% plus one of the voters sign a card saying they want a union, there is a union. This astroturf campaign distorts this reality of course.

They say they are for democracy in the workplace. Anybody really believe that? They said on the radio today that Health Shuler was a big tool of union bosses, who hated the sacred right for voters to have privacy. They are liars.

We knew from the start that the entrenched corrupt Republican interests would try to attack vulnerable democratic freshmen. It is only April 2007, and large amounts of money are being spent to attack them, and make them even more weak to a challenge.

Because of this spirit of dishonesty exists, I encourage you to support these brave democrats who did the right thing in the face of the threatened attacks. I am not in any way involved with the Heath Shuler campaign. If you would like to give to another freshman instead, please do so.

To give to Shuler's 2008 campaign, donate here.