Friday, August 8, 2008

Tom Matzzie to Muzzle the Opposition

Readers may recall my essay from earlier this year, "Anti-McCain Mobilization Rooted in Hardline Anti-Iraq Constituencies."

The piece covered
Tom Matzzie's failed antiwar media efforts, especially the collapse of Matzzie's "Fund For America," a failed financial front group for the radical left.

It turns out now that with
Matzzie's own antiwar message failing miserably, he's turning his efforts to squelch the more successful efforts of conservative interest groups:

Nearly 10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes across the country will probably receive a foreboding “warning” letter in the mail next week.

The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, the newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.

“We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground,” said Mr. Matzzie, who described his effort as “going for the jugular.”

The warning letter is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.

The group is also hoping to be able to respond if an outside conservative group broadcasts a television advertisement attacking Senator Barack Obama, or another Democratic candidate, by running commercials exposing the donors behind the advertisements.

Judd Legum, who was the research director for Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign, has signed on to play the same role for Accountable America.

The group has raised only $200,000, but Mr. Matzzie said he expected to collect more than $500,000 by next week, with an ultimate goal of $2 million.

Mr. Matzzie said he had decided to focus exclusively on conservative donors because such an effort could be done cheaply.

“It’s targeted,” Mr. Matzzie said. “We don’t need $25 million.”

Mr. Matzzie recently served as one of the leaders of Progressive Media U.S.A., a group that was intended to lead a left-wing media effort in the presidential election, but the group folded several months ago after it failed to raise enough money, partly because of signals from the Obama campaign that donors should not give to outside groups.

Mr. Obama and other Democratic officials have issued warnings about possible activities by outside groups like the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, which helped sink Senator John Kerry’s presidential bid in 2004. But activity among outside conservative groups has been decidedly low-level.

Still, Accountable America has singled out some major Republican donors, including Sheldon Adelson, a billionaire casino mogul, and Mel Sembler, a former ambassador and real estate magnate, both major donors to Freedom’s Watch, a conservative group.
Captain Ed comments on all of this, with the headline, "How to Anger Conservatives Into Action":
This sounds like another one of Mattzie’s ill-considered ventures. He blew $12 million in funding for his anti-war group last year, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and showed nothing for his efforts. He also was involved in MoveOn’s preposterous General Betray-Us ad last September. The biggest surprise is that Mattzie still finds fools with money that need parting.
Jammie Wearing Fool takes it further:

These schmucks can only blame themselves when Obama loses, but of course they'll never do that. Instead, they'll blame some sinister forces that somehow managed to outsmart them.
Yeah, probably all of those backyard Nazis and pseudo-fascists, who think it's better to stay mum on plans to assassinate Barack Obama.