Were I the type to make insulting puns about political players with whom I took issue, I would dub the Center for American Progress the “Center for Administration Propaganda.”
You may have followed the Democrats' latest little bit of anti-big-business posturing, insinuating that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is laundering foreign corporate money to help Republicans and thus hurting our Democracy.
They're stealing our democracy. Spending Millions from secret donors to elect Republicans to do their bidding in Congress. It appears they're even taking secret foreign money to influence our elections. It's incredible, Republicans benefiting from secret foreign money. Tell the Bush Crowd and the Chamber of Commerce – stop stealing our democracy.
The President himself trotted out this canard:
just this week, we learned that one of the largest groups paying for these ads regularly takes in money from foreign corporations…. Groups that receive foreign money are spending huge sums to influence American elections, and they won’t tell you where the money for their ads come from.
And today, on TV, David Axelrod beat the drum again, with this highlight to the exchange:
BOB SCHIEFFER: Mr. Axelrod. do you have any evidence that it’s anything other than peanuts?
AXELROD: Well, do you have any evidence that it’s not, Bob?
As my colleague Dave Freddoso has shown today, there has been plenty of refutation of this little slur, and so it's worth examining the source. No surprise, the White House and the DNC are taking talking points from the Center for American Progress, also known as the non-profit arm of the Obama administration.
CAP's ties to the Obama administration are very close. CAP chief John Podesta was the transition director for the Obama administration, and his name shows up in White House visitor logs more than any other. At least 10 former lobbyists for CAP now work in senior administration positions.
I remember the first time I saw CAP produce similar propaganda (yes, I think that's the right word for dishonest material intended to feed to politicians). It was August 2008, when Obama released an ad claiming John McCain was pushing $5 billion in tax cuts for “Big Oil” while Big Oil was funding McCain's campaign.
In a Clintonian way, these CAP claims were true, but in essence they were lies.
First, McCain's proposed tax cuts were reductions in the corporate tax rate. So these tax cuts would apply to all corporations, not just big oil. Also Obama has since proposed the same exact policy — cutting corporate rates — that his campaign was attacking here.
Second, Obama actually raised more money from those five “Big Oil” companies he said were filling McCain's campaign coffers.
This whole misleading Obama ad was based on a “study” by CAP.
So this is a big part of what CAP does: produce misleading “studies” that Obama then adopts to smear his political opponents. Propaganda seems the right word.