Diary

Ah, Tolerance

This story is a couple of days old but since I have only now had the chance to get to it, I want to highlight the latest in respect for speech and differing political opinions:

Nearly 10,000 of the biggest donors to Republican candidates and causes across the country will probably receive a foreboding “warning” letter in the mail next week.

The letter is an opening shot across the bow from an unusual new outside political group on the left that is poised to engage in hardball tactics to prevent similar groups on the right from getting off the ground this fall.

Led by Tom Matzzie, a liberal political operative who has been involved with some prominent left-wing efforts in recent years, 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.

Clearly, responding via ridicule is one of the best ways to give the cyber-one-fingered salute to this thuggish effort at political intimidation. But outrage is called for as well. It has to be emphasized that if you donate to a political group that does not meet with the approval of Accountable America–which is itself nothing more than a political group–you are asking for “legal trouble, public exposure and watchdog groups digging through [your life].” Doubtless, after it finishes threatening people who in its mind are guilty of thought crimes, Accountable America will use its next few breaths to denounce the incipient fascism and loss of political liberties we have suffered over the past seven and a half years and then proclaim itself a vanguard of the effort to roll back the tyranny. The irony, it burns.

In any event, someone really needs to ask the Obama campaign if they favor this kind of goonish approach to politicking. One way or the other, the answer ought to be illuminating. If indeed we find out that the Obama campaign disapproves of groups like Accountable America and their strongarm tactics, the next question to be answered is whether the campaign will try to do anything to help shut such groups down. If not, we will see (anew, perhaps) that when it comes to the Obama campaign, there is a huge gap between words and deeds.