Dover Bitch

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

McCain: Vote for me, wackos

Atrios spots a killer Obama ad that takes McCain to task for failing to hold Ralph Reed accountable for his involvment in the Abramoff scandal -- and then for using Reed to raise campaign funds.

I pray that when the McCain surrogates respond and defend Reed, the Obama camp is prepared and brings out the details of Reed's role in the scandal:

Reed is also an evangelical Christian, although his writings suggest that politics have always been his true religion. In his book, Active Faith, Reed describes his political epiphany--the moment when he comprehended the electoral potential of the religious right--far more vividly than his spiritual conversion. After he and Abramoff earned their stripes by rejuvenating the College Republicans in the 1980s, Reed joined Pat Robertson's crusade to shape Christian conservatives into a potent political movement. As the director of the Christian Coalition, Reed attracted attention for his political talents more than his ideological fervor; he was a gifted orchestrator of grassroots campaigns. Now, in his new private sector incarnation, Reed effectively rented out his conservative Christian networks to Century Strategies' various clients, for sums that Abramoff described as "chump change."

Scanlon outlined Reed's pivotal role in an October 2001 memo to the Louisiana Coushatta tribe, explaining how the Christian right's abhorrence of gambling could be harnessed to protect the Coushatta's casino business. For $575,000, Scanlon promised to engineer floods of letters and phone calls from Christian conservatives to political representatives, protesting the operations of the Coushatta's competition. He also promised to have Christian leaders condemn rival operations in radio ads and in letters to key political figures. "Simply put we want to bring out the wackos to vote against something and make sure the rest of the public lets the whole thing slip past them," Scanlon wrote. "The wackos get their information from the Christian right, Christian radio, the internet and telephone trees." In another memo to the Coushatta, Scanlon noted that the quality of Reed's databases and connections would create a "political effort that truly resembles a people's movement" without the telltale marks of a "paid political operation."

I wonder how the "wackos" will feel about suddenly-incredibly-devout McCain using Reed's databases and connections. Christians already have doubts about McCain. When the McCain camp defends Reed, Obama surrogates should remind everybody how he plainly he exploited people's faith for votes and money and ask why McCain thinks that's just fine.

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