|
|
|
The Times
  • Philip Maddocks: Attack campaign stalls after secret donors forget bank account PIN

  • A brand new group calling itself America for Better Americans said its campaign to discredit the president’s Portuguese water dog had stalled after the anonymous donors who are financing the operation forgot the PIN for the group’s bankcard.


     

    • email print
  • A brand new group calling itself America for Better Americans said its campaign to discredit the president’s Portuguese water dog had stalled after the anonymous donors who are financing the operation forgot the PIN for the group’s bankcard.
    “This is just really frustrating,” the secret group of donors wrote in an unsigned statement. “We’re pretty sure it is an alphanumeric password. But after trying variations of everyone’s birthday, pet’s name, first wife’s initials, and prep school football jersey number, we find ourselves at a loss and our cause at a standstill.”
    Before forgetting it’s bank account pin, America for Better Americans had expected to join forces with at least five other anonymous groups – including one calling itself Save Our Future From the Future – to purchase television time for attacks on the Obama family’s dog, who is named Bo. In the ads Bo was to be accused of being out of step with the values of middle America and his fitness to serve as a White House pet and the validity of his birth certificate were also to be called into question.
    “Our argument from the start has been that Bo’s presence in the West Wing has made the United States a weaker country and continues to undermine our international leadership,” America for Better Americans wrote in its statement. “But it is getting progressively more difficult to make this case without the (expletive) pin.”
    The media campaign to scuttle what the group has called the First Dog’s “unseemly ambition” is unmatched in the annals of modern presidential pets and it reflects the continuing effects of the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision, which loosened campaign finance restrictions and was a major reason for the record spending by outside groups in the 2012 election.
    All told, these independent and largely secretly financed groups spent well over $500 million in an attempt to defeat Mr. Obama and his pet dog, a failure that seems all the greater now that America for Better Americans seems unable to avail itself of the large sum of money lying in its secret bank account.
    “We considered putting a call into Justice Scalia,” the group wrote in its statement, “but we’re uncertain that even his great legal mind could find an originalist solution to our pin number dilemma. And we’re also skeptical about what kind of a response we would receive if we asked.”
    While the most recent campaign against Bo (whose party affiliation is not known) was not expected to cost more than a few million dollars, it suggests that the operatives running the independent groups and the donors that finance them -- many of whom are millionaires and billionaires with ideological drive and business agendas that did not go away after the election -- are ready to fight again even if only to enter into combat against a dog.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We were anxious to get back into the battle,” said Simpson Bartholomew, a canine strategist and the founder of the American Greatness Fund, which started as a small, Cayman Island-based political committee and has grown larger since taking a leading role now in advising groups in their fight against Bo. “Post-election we have new battle lines being drawn with the president’s dog; it just made sense for us to go after him.”
    Groups like Mr. Bartholomew’s would have been able to operate freely against Bo even before Citizens United. But the ruling has served to erase what had been traditional fears among donors that their involvement in a fight against a president’s pet might bring unwanted public exposure and ridicule. With the guarantee of anonymity has come the confidence to take on any political foe, even the ones that bark.
    Whatever its chances of success, the blitz against the First Dog is of a sort that has generally been reserved for national elections and some Supreme Court nominations.
     “This is the first big fight since the president was elected,” said a strategist for a conservative group called USA Freedom, whose website, Liberty For All, has been running a steady stream of anti-Bo news articles. “And things have evolved -- or you might say devolved -- in the last few years.”
    Bo, whose Facebook page includes 4,829 likes, seemed to be taking the fight in stride, choosing to focus instead on the two square meals a day he craves and any other food scraps and interesting scents he might find during his walks.
    “We can’t worry about what Bo is thinking,” wrote America for Better Americans. “We just have to take care or our own secret business. We can say this to the causes we bankroll: We aren’t going anywhere and neither -- apparently -- is our money.”
    Philip Maddocks writes a weekly satirical column. He can be reached at pmaddocks@wickedlocal.com.

        calendar