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Monday night Rachel Maddow expanded on her Friday report about the weird ad running in opposition to Chuck Hagel's nomination. The group running the ad calls themselves "Use Your Mandate" and claims to be a group of liberals -- gay liberals, even -- who are afraid to come out into the light for fear of White House retribution.
Because this White House has been so bitterly retributive, don't you know? When I first heard about it I thought it was bull too, because liberals tend to oppose nominations loudly and without any guise of secrecy. In fact, I can't think of a time where any liberal group I've had contact with has been secretive about who they are and why they're running an ad. That seems to be the province of the US Chamber of Commerce and Koch-funded front groups..
Rachel's instinct seems to be right on the money. As she reports, "Use Your Mandate" used a media buyer in San Diego to place the ad by the name of Del Cielo Media, LLC*. Del Cielo Media is the company name for Sarah Linden, who is the west coast media director for Smart Media Group.
DelCielo Media's website is a splash page and a link to a map now, but as Rachel reports, one of Linden's clients is the Emergency Committee for Israel, a relatively new neocon group whose directors include Bill Kristol, Gary Bauer, and Michael Goldfarb. Michael Goldfarb is an advisor to Liz Cheney's neocon message machine, Keep America Safe, where Kristol also serves as a director.
The other firm Rachel mentions is Tusk Strategies. Michael Tusk was Michael Bloomberg's campaign director in 2009 and now has his own New York PR firm. Tusk's client list boasts of relationships with Michelle Rhee's StudentsFirst and Education Reform Now, two groups which call themselves liberal but which are not, by any stretch of the imagination, liberal.
Tusk also served as deputy governor of Illinois from 2003-2006, during Rod Blagojevich's term, and testified against him about Blago's attempted shakedown of Rahm Emanuel.
All of the objections to Chuck Hagel's nomination seem to emanate from the fact that he isn't interested in blowing up the world on Israel's behalf. They word them in different ways, but that's the gist of things.
You be the jury. Based on Rachel's report and the information here, I'd say the odds of the anti-Hagel ad coming from a liberal group shaking in their boots over Obama's reprisals is the same as that of being struck by lightning three times in the same day.
- American Future Fund: American Future Fund is the Iowa astroturf organization, funded in part by the Wellspring Committee.
- Americans For a Strong Defense: This is a new front group. According to their website, two of their board members are Brian Hook and Mauricio Claver-Carone. Hook is a Bushie who served in the White House from 2003-2008, dealing with matters of Homeland Security, and then went to the Department of State to serve as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from October, 2008 to January 20, 2009 when Barack Obama took over. Claver-Carone is an ardent anti-Castro advocate who sits on the board of Cuba Democracy Advocates, a non-profit organization which shares the goal of spreading democracy around the world, and in particular, to Cuba. It appears to be aligned philosophically with neocon goals.
- AIPAC: Well, not directly as far as anyone knows. But as this writer points out, they've got a former lobbyist roaming at large who is free to undertake whatever campaigns someone might want to finance. Bibi Netanyahu isn't pleased, I'm sure, with the Hagel nomination. According to that article, AIPAC is fond of using "cutouts" (what we would call astroturf) to advance Bibi's particular agenda wherever necessary.
Opposition to Chuck Hagel's nomination is unprecedented. I believe that it is as likely to come from the US Chamber of Commerce as it is AIPAC, given that Hagel's nomination will spell the beginning of the end of corporate defense complex dominance in favor of other industries. It shifts the center of thought around defense and its role from one of aggressor to one where the United States stops throwing its weight around the world and starts tending to other business. This does not please those who profit from perpetual war.
What I can say with a high degree of certainty, however, is that "Use Your Mandate" is neither liberal nor gay.
*Del Cielo is the name of Ronald Reagan's Santa Barbara ranch.