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Liberal Blackmail

Lefties threatening to reveal anonymous donations to conservative groups.

By Hobbes  |  August 12, 2008

We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing each other down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It is the poison that we must purge from our politics; the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late.

 - Barack Obama

It's a great relief to hear that one of Barack Obama's trademark "Changes we can Believe In" is to purge lies, fear, and hate from politics.

Admittedly, he has set himself not merely a noble but a Herculean task.  Given that politics is, by definition, the way in which national public disagreements are aired, and that disagreements on matters far less weighty than affairs of state can often lead to hate, this is an endeavor fully worthy of a political messiah, no less.  It may be hard for practical-minded voters to imagine exactly how this is to be accomplished.

But never mind reality.  Have faith!  Obama is not alone on his quest to purge politics from the baser human frailties.  The New York Times brings us word of a new political group that shares the same shining goal.

...The newly formed nonprofit group, Accountable America, is planning to confront donors to conservative groups, hoping to create a chilling effect that will dry up contributions.  "We want to stop the Swift Boating before it gets off the ground," said Mr. Matzzie, who described his effort as "going for the jugular."  The warning letter is intended as a first step, alerting donors who might be considering giving to right-wing groups to a variety of potential dangers, including legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through their lives.

John Kerry's 2004 defeat is generally credited to the TV ads sponsored by "Swift Boat Veterans for Truth," (SBVT) in which members of the military who had served in Vietnam with Kerry specifically refuted his claims of heroism and patriotism during his time abroad.  The ads weren't pretty, but they surely were effective.

SBVT was, as required by law, a completely independent organization that had nothing whatsoever to do with the Bush campaign.  It was paid for by private donors and run by independent staff.  From that day to this, the left has tried to use the term "Swift-Boating" to refer to scurrilous smears against a candidate by a private organization, completely ignoring the fact that, as far as anyone can tell after forty years, the stories told by the Swift Boat Veterans were true.

The Democrats don't want anything like that to happen this time around.  Considering the mud that Barack Obama has managed to accumulate without anyone actually throwing it at him - Rev. Wright, Bill Ayers, Tony Rezko, the list goes on - their fears are well founded.

After all, since he's obviously the perfect candidate, any attacks on His Holiness the Obamessiah could only be motivated by fear, hate, or racism, right?  At least that's what the media constantly tell us.  Anything good-hearted and virtuous lefties do to stamp out right-wing hate is OK, or so they say.

Thus it is that we find Accountable America, having somehow obtained a list of the wealthiest donors to conservative causes, taking it upon themselves to kindly warn Republicans of the potential consequences of their actions.  Michelle Malkin has obtained a copy of one of their letters.

Among other things, it paints a dreadful picture of IRS audits, public exposure of the donation, and all manner of other threats.  The clear goal is to frighten people into not giving money to the conservative causes they wish to support.  In other words, to combat supposed lies, fear, and hate on the Right, the Left is using... genuine lies, fear, hate, and blackmail.

The key element doesn't so much seem to be threatening the donors with prison, everybody knows that doesn't happen and couldn't be arranged by any private pressure group no matter how well funded.  The idea seems to be that donors to political organizations would prefer not to have their names and donation amounts aired in public.  In fact, 501(c)(4) groups have their donor lists protected by law; they can't legally be forced to cough them up.

That means that Accountable America is threatening private individuals with publicly revealing information they would rather be kept secret (their name and donation info), unless they take a specific action (stop giving.)

Accountable America is a liberal blackmailers organization.

Yes, that's right.  The dictionary defines "blackmail" as "to force or coerce into a particular action, statement, etc."  That's precisely the purpose of the letter.  Mr. Matzzie, the group's founder, even had the gall to brag about his blackmailing intent to the New York Times!  When was the last time you saw a blackmailer issue a press release?

Which gives right-wing donors an opportunity for sweet, sweet revenge.  As noted, it is exceedingly rare for donors to political organizations to wind up behind bars as a result of their donations.  Blackmail, though, is another matter.  To prosecute for blackmail, you don't have to divulge the information you were threatened with - just prove that you were threatened.

A more perfect proof could hardly be imagined than a signed letter.  Whoever gets one of these letters in the mail simply needs to walk down to their local police station and swear out a warrant for Mr. Matzzie's arrest.  Voila!

With a little coordination, we can watch the amusing spectacle of all 57 states in the Union fighting over which one gets to extradite him.  Tune in next week to hear Barack Obama intone, "This wasn't the Mr. Matzzie I knew!" as two loud thumps come from under his campaign bus.

Or maybe Mr. Obama won't subvehicularize him after all.  Maybe Mr. Matzzie is doing just what Mr. Obama wants done.

To hear the MSM tell it, political sins are only committed by Republicans; Mr. Edwards' proven philandering has yet to make the front page, whereas the New York Times routinely finds Page One appropriate for accusations against McCain that are demonstrably false.  Blackmail must be OK when liberals do it - their motto seems to be "If our guys do it, it's not illegal."

Alas, not much of a change after all; we've heard that song quite enough already.