Thursday :: Feb 24, 2005

Democrats Launch $50 Million Umbrella Group To Fight Bush On Social Security


by Steve

The Democrats have finally geared up an umbrella organization of their own to fight the Bush privatization cabal. And we here at The Left Coaster can pat ourselves on the back, because the concept behind it has been talked about here for almost two years.

At the urging of Democratic leaders in Congress, a few political campaign veterans have formed Americans United to Protect Social Security. The nonprofit organization with close ties to organized labor plans to raise $25 million to $50 million to pressure lawmakers to vote against Bush's proposal.
The American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees provided seed money of nearly $1 million. Other major players in the coalition include the AFL-CIO; USAction, a grass-roots issues network; and the Campaign for America's Future, an activist group that pushes issues from the perspective of the political left.
Americans United to Protect Social Security will be run by two longtime advisers to Senate Democrats. Its campaign manager is Paul Tewes, the former political director of the DSCC. Its general consultant is Steve Hildebrand, who ran the unsuccessful reelection campaign last year of Thomas A. Daschle (D-S.D.), the former Senate minority leader.
The group plans to work closely with the Democratic leaders in the House and Senate to fight Bush's Social Security drive. Democratic lawmakers intend to help raise funds for it, according to a person close to the new group.
About 200 organizations will coordinate their efforts through the new group. The Media Fund, which raised and spent millions of dollars on anti-Bush advertisements last year, is considering joining, according to one of its principals, Harold Ickes, a former deputy chief of staff to President Bill Clinton.

The AARP will be kept separate from this effort, as it appears that the Democrats on the Hill 1) want the AARP to fight its own battles; 2) still have lingering resentments over the AARP’s sell-out to Bush on the Medicare drug benefit fiasco; and 3) probably feel that the campaign will be even more effective with two major groups shooting at Bush rather than one.

Note the presence of the Media Fund in this effort, which took the Truth Squad idea we championed back in 2003 and fine-tuned it into an effective tool against Bush road shows last year during the campaign. This, plus the fine work done so far by the Campaign for America’s Future, USAction, and the AFL-CIO means that we will have a high-powered campaign to push back against the Corporate America juggernaut whose intent is to destroy the seniors' safety net in this country so that they can line their pockets further.

In fact, Americans United to Protect Social Security will be set up as a 501 (c) (4) group, which will allow it to accept contributions to fight the battle, and the group will be following Bush around the country to conduct Truth Squad activities to debunk his lies and pressure GOP House members to withhold their support for privatization. In other words, they’ll be doing what we have been advocating.

Steve :: 11:00 PM :: Comments (2) :: Digg It!