By Kenric Ward | Watchdog.org
ALEXANDRIA — MoveOn.org is whipping up its followers to make the most of the congressional gridlock in Washington, D.C., and rustle up a few bucks.
“The (government) shutdown — while terrible for America — is a big opportunity to go on offense and send the tea party into permanent decline,” the liberal group declared in an email blast Sunday.
“Our plan is to start by putting targeted web ads on Facebook and other websites targeting the most vulnerable Republicans facing re-election next year,” the email stated.
Borrowing a phrase that Leon Trotsky made famous, MoveOn declares: “If we play our cards right, 2013 could become known as the year the tea party relegated itself to the dustbin of history.”
The strategy memo is accompanied by a plea for money.
“Time is of the essence — we need to raise $200,000 in the next 24 hours to power our rapid response campaigning and give us the ad budget we need to hold the Republicans accountable. Can you chip in $3 today?”
The email said MoveOn’s “rapid response” will include a campaign to “push PBS stations to air ‘Citizen Koch,’ the thus-far censored documentary exposing the Koch Brothers as the tea party’s 1 percent financiers.”
Tea partiers fired back, and blamed the administration’s insistence on implementing Obamacare while granting delays and waivers to big businesses and labor unions.
Amy Kremer, chairwoman of the national group, Tea Party Express, told Watchdog.org:
“The blame game is a good fundraiser, but the truth is that the Republican-controlled House has passed a Continuing Resolution two times now to keep the government running … and at deficit spending levels. You’re welcome, Barack Obama.
“Regardless, we would have ended up having legislation volley back and forth between the two chambers over the amount of spending, so the fact that Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee have forced the conversation about Obamacare is a good thing. Unfortunately, the Democrats don’t want to have that conversation because there is nothing good about Obamacare.”
Mark Daughterty, chairman of the Virginia Tea Party Patriots Federation, said the gnashing of teeth over a government shutdown is overblown.
“The sun will rise on Oct. 1, the mail will be delivered, the U.S. military will operate, Social Security, Medicare, Homeland Security, will all be open for business to serve the American people.”
But, Daughterty added, “Americans are experiencing first-hand the toxic effects of Obamacare with double-digit health insurance premium increases, loss of full-time hours, loss of coverage, and loss of some doctors. The tea party asks the U.S. Senate to help stop the Obamacare train wreck today.”
As for the tea movement itself, Rick Buchanan, vice chairman of the VTPP Federation, told Watchdog:
“We find it interesting how we have gone from a small fringe group of extremists to the largest force in the Republican Party. Move over, Rush Limbaugh.”
Danita Kilcullen, chairwoman of Tea Party Fort Lauderdale, the oldest tea group in Florida, noted, “It’s time for Saul Alinsky‘s ‘Rules for Radicals.’ Here they are telling us exactly what they plan to do and the tactics they will use. Can we fight their fire with our fire?”
Kenric Ward is a national reporter and Virginia Bureau Chief for Watchdog. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (571) 319-9824. @Kenricward