Media Matters' dishonest attack on Maine Senator Susan Collins

Netroots smear attempt meets same fate as electoral antics

During Senator Collins’ reelection campaign, Maine saw the unwelcome intrusion of the so-called ‘netroots’: fringe Left-wing online activists led by MoveOn.org and the notoriously foul-mouthed and anti-semitic website DailyKos.

DailyKos founder Markos Moulitsas adopted the Maine race as a personal battle, and helped raise funds online for Collins’ opponent. MoveOn.org and other ‘netroots’ groups showed up in Maine, held
protests, harassed Senator Collins in public, put on disguises to sneak into events, and screamed at her in crowds outside of debates.

Unfortunately for Marcos, MoveOn and the rest of the gang, their efforts in Maine were swiftly rejected by the general public, the press, and the electorate.

Now the Netroots are back at it again. Perhaps they are bored now that we’re out of cycle, or perhaps continuing to rage against something, anything, is the only thing that can keep this gang happy. This time
around, the netroots crowd is taking part in an orchestrated attempt to claim Senator Collins’ work on the stimulus bill somehow caused the current Swine Flu outbreak.

This wave of netroots nonsense is being led by Media Matters, the George Soros-funded organization started by notorious journalistic hitman David Brock, perhaps best know as the author of books attacking
the personal lives of Anita Hill and Bill Clinton. Brock’s group is circulating a video which attempts to connect Senator Collins with the Swine Flu outbreak. Brock and his netroots cohorts are claiming the removal of flu preparedness money from the stimulus package somehow relates to the current scare. Here are the facts:
– Senator Collins was one of nearly 20 Senators, Democrats and Republicans, who negotiated the final stimulus package. All of them agreed that this funding should go through the regular appropriations
process and that it did not meet the standards of “stimulus spending,” including Senator Schumer who spoke about the “porky” projects that were eliminated.
– The stimulus package was passed with overwhelming Democratic support and without complaint that this research money was not included.

And, in a statement from Collins’ office yesterday, spokesman Kevin Kelley points out that “There is no evidence that federal efforts to address the swine flu outbreak have been hampered by a lack of funds.”

As a matter of fact, even if these funds HAD been included in the stimulus bill, they still wouldn’t have had any impact on the current scare. This is all very crass political maneuvering, par for the course for this group of fringe malcontents. And one of the most ridiculous aspects of these attacks is that, at a time when Democrats control both houses of congress and the White House, they would blame a Republican for something like this. The fact is the Democrats in Congress overwhelming supported the Stimulus bill as it passed, without this funding. If this was such a big deal, why did Democrats
support it?

Why did the President sign it?

If this money was such a priority, and needed to be included in the first available funding mechanism, as the netroots are trying to say now, then why wasn’t it included in the TARP bill?

Only now, after Media Matters and others concocted this controversy, are Democrats starting to talk about putting the funding into the upcoming War Supplemental.

Everyone knows this money had no place in the stimulus bill, including President Obama, democrats in congress, and even these netroots maniacs trying to make hay from this. They are simply following Obama
Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel’s orders:
“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. What I mean by that is it’s an opportunity to do things you couldn’t do before.”

Gross opportunism has always been the name of the came for Brock and company. When it was advantageous for Brock to be a Republican and attack Clinton and others, that’s what he did. When it became advantageous for him to flip ideologies and work for George Soros attacking Republicans, he did.

What these groups are doing is brazenly dishonest, and if their aim was to cause some kind of political damage to Susan Collins, they’ve once again fallen short.

In today’s Portland Press Herald, the state’s largest paper editorializes in favor of Collins’ actions. It recognizes her work over the years to make sure this country was prepared for an outbreak like this, and it applauds her from removing the funding from the stimulus bill and instead seeking more appropriate vehicles for funding.

Media Matters is a terrible, terrible institution. It is an organization whose sole purpose is to personally destroy public figures who take contrary policy positions, and in this case they seem to be spearheading an effort to scare moderates into full compliance with the Administration. This does not seem to be a very intelligent tack to take, especially against a Senator whose support among Independents and Democrats in an extremely blue state led her to a 24 point margin of victory last fall.