The left’s anti-filibuster astroturf campaign

Sometimes in Washington, D.C., the irony is laughable. A new coalition formed to fight the filibuster and eliminate secret holds in the Senate is hiding behind the veil of secrecy. I’m not making this up.

A coalition of mostly anonymous liberal interest groups recently announced the formation of Fix the Senate Now — an umbrella organization with an eight-point platform for revolutionizing the world's greatest deliberative body. The coalition consists of more than a dozen liberal groups, yet only three are willing to attach their name to the effort.

They include Common Cause, Communications Workers of America and the Sierra Club. All three are reliably liberal and, not surprisingly, inclined to make it easier for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) to carry out a their agenda in the 112th Congress.

The coalition is making a strong push for the Senate to enact a series of rules changes on Jan. 5, the date Congress convenes for its new session. Liberals argue that the Senate’s filibuster is unconstitutional and are preparing for a simple majority of 51 to exterminate it.

Conservatives have yet to grasp the significance of the left’s assault on the filibuster — and now time is running out.

The Senate filibuster protects the right of extended debate. Without a filibuster, liberals could have enacted global warming legislation, the DISCLOSE Act and card check without any opportunity for senators to extend debate on these controversial issues.

For more than a year liberals, led by the George Soros-funded Center for American Progress, have been wooing Democratic senators. It appears to be paying off. A recent segment on Rachel Maddow’s MSNBC show included clips of numerous Democrats who support changing Senate rules. Maddow herself is one of the left’s champions of the idea.

The launch of a new coalition with a well-designed website, Facebook page and Twitter account is a typical tactic in the lobbying business.

In this case, 'Fix the Senate Now' could easily be mistaken for one of David Alexrod’s astroturf campaigns. Prior to joining the White House as a senior adviser, Axelrod was a described as a “master of Astroturfing” while working at ASK Public Strategies.

Astroturfing gives the impression of grassroots support, leading politicians and media to believe an issue or cause is more important than it really is.

Fix the Senate Now has no “about” page and its contact page is simply a form to send an email with no physical mailing address. I submitted a media inquiry, but have yet to hear back.

Given the secrecy surrounding the coalition — even its website domain owner is private — it’s unclear who exactly is funding the anti-filibuster movement. Regardless, it poses a serious threat to the Senate. It’s time for conservatives to take note.

Beltway Confidentialrachel maddowU.S. SenateUS

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