(From CBS News) Democratic insiders and financial backers are becoming increasingly vocal about their lack of faith in the Obama White House’s ability to help the Democratic Party regain the support of voters.
Now, according to reports, they are making plans to rely less on President Obama’s popularity in 2012 and take matters into their own hands. Talks are reportedly underway about creating third-party groups to mobilize the Democratic base and raise cash, much Republican backers did ahead of the 2010 elections.
Longtime Democratic organizer Steve Rosenthal is hosting a meeting Monday with about a dozen prominent Democrats, like former Clinton White House adviser Harold Ickes and labor leader Andy Stern, the Los Angeles Times reports, to discuss bringing outside Democratic groups together to form a new operation to fight back against conservatives in 2012.
In an e-mail invitation for the meeting obtained by the Times, Rosenthal poses questions for the attendees, such as whether Democrats should create a group modeled after the Karl Rove-affiliated American Crossroads, which ran a successful campaign operation this year. The invitation also asks whether the operation would include an entity through which donors could make anonymous gifts (American Crossroads discloses its donors, but the affiliated Crossroads GPS does not), or whether they should also set up a media arm (like Crossroads Media).
Monday’s meeting comes on the heels of a conference this week in Washington held by the Democracy Alliance, a group of wealthy liberals. The participants in the conference repeatedly called on the White House to more aggressively advocate for a liberal agenda, according to reports, and to fight back against Republicans.
The Huffington Post reports that billionaire George Soros said at the meeting that progressives “need to draw a line” after losing in the midterms. “And if this president can’t do what we need, it is time to start looking somewhere else.”
An adviser for Soros told the Huffington Post that Soros did not mean to imply there should be a primary challenge against Mr. Obama, but that progressives must promote their agenda more forcefully on their own. Others at the Democracy Alliance gathering echoed that sentiment.
“There’s a strong feeling among progressives, almost to a person, that we have to fight more,” said Steve Phillips, a San Francisco activist who runs the political advocacy group PowerPAC.org, told the L.A. Times. “Nobody is demoralized; they’re angry.”
The Democrats’ wealthy, ideological donors want to see more action on issues like “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, the Times reports.
Those issues have also proven to be salient among donors at the grassroots level. Groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee have rallied Democratic supporters around these issues in recent weeks, sometimes taking a defiant tone against the president.
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