Dems launch $125M health campaign - Mike Allen - POLITICO.com
For me, the most notable part of this is that almost every (if not every) part of this could have been implemented prior to the SC's decision in Citizens United. This just drives home the absurdity of the argument that that decision would taint our pure-as-driven-snow electoral system. Money has always flooded our political system, and this election cycle will be no better or worse than it would have been if that decision had gone the other way.Former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Victoria Kennedy — widow of Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.) — are expected to be named co-chairmen of a $125 million campaign that White House allies are rolling out to defend health care reform amid growing signs Democrats are failing to get political traction on the issue.
The extraordinary campaign, which could provide an unprecedented amount of cover for a White House in a policy debate, reflects urgency among Democrats to explain, defend and depoliticize health care reform now that people are beginning to feel the new law’s effects. The Health Information Center is being started by Andrew Grossman, a veteran Democratic operative who founded Wal-Mart Watch, a labor-backed group to challenge the world’s largest retailer on employee relations and other fronts. Grossman told POLITICO that the lessons of Wal-Mart Watch will be helpful on health reform. “When you treat people with respect and try to understand how they interact with businesses and politics, you can move them,” he explained.
The estimated budget is $25 million a year for five years. And Grossman has already begun raising money from unions, foundations and corporations.
Even on the margins, where Citizens United expanded the types of language that advocacy groups could use, the results are somewhat amusing:
After the Supreme Court handed down its now-infamous Citizens United decision in January, many legal and political observers warned the ruling would unleash a torrent of corporate cash into American elections. President Barack Obama decried the decision as "a major victory for big oil, Wall Street banks, health insurance companies and the other powerful interests that marshal their power every day in Washington to drown out the voices of everyday Americans." Just as predicted, campaign ads that would previously have been illegal are now airing in key midterm election races. But the players funding those ads aren’t the ones you might expect. It turns out that some of the first groups to exploit Citizens United aren't corporations, but labor unions.