Steve Benen at Washington Monthly has a post up calling attention to a recent targeted ad campaign run by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The message, running in the districts of 19 GOP Congressmen, calls them out for finding plenty of money to give away in the form of tax cuts for the wealthy, while proposing sweeping tax cuts which would gut everything from education and health care to food inspection and public broadcasting.
Like many in the progressive community, I have steadfastly refused to give any funding to the DCCC when they call, telling them pointedly that I will not support an organization whose support is going to supposed Democratic candidates who wind up voting against party initiatives and in support of GOP measures designed to delay or kill them.
However, in this case, the DCCC ads are targeted at the blatant hypocrisy of the GOP's support for the rich and desire to destroy essential government programs and services. According to Benen, the messages have already been having an impact in the districts where they have run.
Which brings us back to the DCCC ad campaign that made some in the GOP nervous a couple of weeks ago. I can't help but wonder how Republicans in competitive districts will respond when ads tell their constituents, "Representative So-and-so voted for massive tax breaks for the wealthy, right before voting to slash education spending, aid for pregnant women, and safeguards that keep our food supply safe. He said we could afford massive giveaways to billionaires, but we can't afford student loans, better roads, and clean air."
Republicans are convinced the public will reward them for gutting the budget, cutting services, and putting more Americans out of work. I have a hunch their confidence is misplaced.
To my mind, this is an effort all progressives can and should support and in large enough numbers that the DCCC can expand their ad campaign to every GOP district.
Benen makes another very important and related point in an earlier post at WaMo. Many voters who blithely voted for TeaParty candidates last fall really had no clue as to the role government and government programs play in their lives:
I often think of this piece from Matt Taibbi, who attended a Tea Party rally over the summer.
After Palin wraps up, I race to the parking lot in search of departing Medicare-motor-scooter conservatives. I come upon an elderly couple, Janice and David Wheelock, who are fairly itching to share their views.
"I'm anti-spending and anti-government," crows David, as scooter-bound Janice looks on. "The welfare state is out of control."
"OK," I say. "And what do you do for a living?"
"Me?" he says proudly. "Oh, I'm a property appraiser. Have been my whole life."
I frown. "Are either of you on Medicare?"
Silence: Then Janice, a nice enough woman, it seems, slowly raises her hand, offering a faint smile, as if to say, You got me!
"Let me get this straight," I say to David. "You've been picking up a check from the government for decades, as a tax assessor, and your wife is on Medicare. How can you complain about the welfare state?"
"Well," he says, "there's a lot of people on welfare who don't deserve it. Too many people are living off the government."
"But," I protest, "you live off the government. And have been your whole life!"
"Yeah," he says, "but I don't make very much."
The point is that congressional Republicans are desperate to make devastating, job-killing cuts to the budget, and think they're on safe political ground because voters say they support spending cuts. GOP officials might be surprised to learn just how many Americans rely on government spending, and want to keep the benefits that apply to them.
The beauty of the DCCC ad campaign is that it converts the dialogue over what is happening from Teabag claims of "cutting massive government spending" to cutting funding for programs and services they know are important to them, their children and their businesses.
I am going to make a contribution to DCCC myself with a stipulation that the funding go towards continuation and expansion of this particular campaign. I encourage other progressives to do likewise as soon as possible and to spread the word throughout the blogosphere.