Monday, August 31, 2009

The Big Money Behind the Teabaggers Launches Anti-Tax Ads in Michigan

The astroturfers who have the crazies all riled up with their lies about health care are pulling out the bucks to run anti-tax ads in Detroit, Grand Rapids and Lansing against any sort tax increase, because God forbid you should pay an extra penny on a bottle of beer to save early childhood education.

Americans for Prosperity started a limited $50,000 commercial buy in Detroit, Lansing and Grand Rapids markets. The 30-second spot shows Granholm making a promise during her 2008 State of the State address not to raise taxes followed by people-on-the-street interviews urging the governor to keep that promise and closing with: "Tell your legislator to help the governor keep her promise and vote no on her proposed tax increases."

Little reminder on just who the "Americans For Prosperity" are comes to us from SourceWatch:

AFP was one of the lead organizations behind the Tax Day Tea Party protests April 15, 2009. Its Director is Art Pope, an ex-legislator who has been called "The Knight of the Right" and "North Carolina's Karl Rove."

In mid 2009, Americans for Prosperity launched an advertising and advocacy campaign opposing U.S. health care reform named Patients United Now.

You can go read how they have championed the interests of the tobacco companies and big oil at the link, but for our purposes let's take a look at what they have done for the recent health care reform debate:

Along with The 912 Project, Americans for Prosperity is one of the conservative groups involved in organizing "town hall protests" and "recess rallies" where participants oppose health care reform by rambunctiously shouting down members of Congress while they are holding public meetings to inform the public about the proposals. AFP started a group called "Patients First" to oppose health care. Patients First conducts bus tours around the country to create opposition to health care reform. Americans for Prosperity/Patients First visit cities and speaks to rally people and encourage them to oppose health care reform by bringing up frightening prospect like "death orders" and "death sentences." Speakers typically liken Democratically-proposed health care reform to the regimes of Mugabe, Hitler, Stalin, and Pol Pot. The speaker typically repeats the discredited conservative idea that Democratic health care reform will mandate physician-assisted suicide or death for older members of society. "Adolf Hitler issued six million end of life orders -- he called his program the final solution. I kind of wonder what we're going to call ours," one speaker said. The speaker further advises audience to "go to offices of members of Congress and put the fear of god in them."

They are using the same sort of tactic in the commercials, featuring "people on the street" who are going to lose their homes and jobs if we slap a tiny tax on their Faygo. Disingenuous at best, flat-out lies at the worst. Is this the kind of group that deserves a seat at the table when it comes to either health care reform or our state budget issues?

Granholm has already said that she won't shoot for any general tax increases - a stance she took some heat for when she uttered it a long time ago, but, given the behavior of Democrats as a whole when it comes to standing up against the lies and fighting for the things that are important to our quality of life, you start to understand why she said it. Liz Boyd reiterates that very same fact.

"The governor has said all along that she does not support a general tax increase and there is no will for a general tax increase. So this is singing to the choir."

In the end, it all comes down to what the House Democrats are willing to vote for, are willing to fight for. Let's hope they have the strength to stand up to the teabaggers and the big money lobbyists, and all the money spent for these ads goes for nothing.