Elizabeth Warren vs. the Leprous Amphibians

According to the website of local Boston news station WCBV-TV5:

Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren Thursday had no problems being linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement and stands by her statement that she “created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do.”
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“Yes, I’ve been fighting Wall Street for a very long time,” said Warren on WCVB TV’s political show OTR. “I’m glad to see people push on this issue.”
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Warren’s comments were made on the same day American Crossroads, an independent group associated with political operative Karl Rove, debuted a new ad linking Warren to violent video from the Occupy Wall Street movement…
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American Crossroads is spending $600,000 to run the ad in the Boston, Springfield and Providence television markets for two weeks.
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Sen. Scott Brown did not welcome the ad.
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“Outside groups should stay out of the Massachusetts Senate election. People are hurting. They’ve lost a job, or maybe their homes. Their incomes have declined,” said Brown. “We need to focus on the very real issue of putting people back to work. I wish all these ads from outside groups would be taken down.”

It’s as if Senator Brown suspects that Karl Rove’s ads (“… by the one percent, for the one percent”, thank you Greg Sargent) are going to be less useful to him than her many, many non-Massachusetts-based supporters are going to be to Elizabeth Warren. Further from Greg S. at his Plum Line blog:

… In other words, it’s happening again. When the outside ads really get going, there will be a great deal of media debate about the propriety of spending by these groups. But just as happened last time, virtually no one will focus on the actual content of the ads. Outside of a few fact checkers, few if any media types will care that the discourse is getting saturated by distortions and lies, or bother trying to determine which side is the worse offender in this regard.

Steve Benen at his Washington Monthly Political Animal blog goes after the pollster behind the ad:

A couple of weeks ago, pollster Doug Schoen, the quintessential “Fox News Democrat” — an alleged Dem who’s actively hostile towards the party and its agenda — wrote a Wall Street Journal op-ed trashing Occupy Wall Street protesters. Schoen even urged President Obama to steer clear of these “radical” activists for his own good. (Given that Schoen has already urged the president to drop out of the 2012 race, one might question whether the DINO has Obama’s best interest at heart.)
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To put it mildly, Schoen’s analysis was deeply flawed. To prove his case, Schoen pointed to the results of a poll he conducted in New York’s Zuccotti Park and found that 77% of the activists supported raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans. That wasn’t shocking — 76% of the national population said the same thing
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Schoen made a bogus claim; the claim was debunked with real evidence; and Rove’s operation uses the debunked claim to smear Warren.
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Also note, Dave Weigel highlights a new anti-Occupy ad from the Massachusetts Republican Party, which uses a different Schoen quote to smear both Warren and the protestors. (The GOP ad describes Schoen on screen as a “Democratic pollster,” which is obviously intended to mislead the viewer.)
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As Ari Berman put it, “At this point, it seems like Doug Schoen exists to be quoted in GOP attack ads against Democrats.” Quite right. Any outlet describing Schoen as a “Democrat” without context or asterisks is misleading the public.

And Mr. Pierce at Esquire‘s Political Blog adds a final grace note:

I’d like to point out — futilely, and not for the last time — that it is not necessarily news when some leprous amphibian launches a new ad campaign, and that treating the new ad campaign like a news story per se, without explaining the track record of the leprous amphibian in question is what we in the news game used to call… free advertising. Of course, I am not an executive at a major newspaper who wets himself at the thought that somebody’s going to call him “liberal” on the radio, so there we are.

(Elizabeth Warren’s ActBlue donation page here.)

64 replies
  1. 1
    WereBear says:

    Charles Pierce is so aptly named.

  2. 2
    Auldblackjack says:

    Of course, I am not an executive at a major newspaper who wets himself at the thought that somebody’s going to call him “liberal” on the radio, so there we are.

    Burn the witch! Burn her!

  3. 3

    I wish all these ads from outside groups would be taken down.

    Yeah. Right.

  4. 4
    MikeJ says:

    @Thoughtful Black Co-Citizen: There’s a real chance that he really, really doesn’t want ads running saying she’s going after Wall St. Massachusetts voters might not be as aghast at the prospect as villagers are.

  5. 5
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    “Leprous amphibians” is a perfect descriptor for Rove and his ilk. How does Charles Pierce come up with these dead-on, pithy, unfailingly accurate and hysterically funny phrases every day? The man’s a national treasure, up there in the Molly Ivins pantheon.

  6. 6

    I’m sure Scott Brown really hates these groups’ influence over elections. If only he were in a position to do something about it.

    /eyeroll

    Ah well. Happy Veterans Day, everyone. Today is also my birthday! Here’s my round up of good news from around the web, BTW.

  7. 7
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Happy birthday, SB! I hope the day continues with more good news than you can handle!

  8. 8
    ctwinder says:

    Calling Rove a leprous amphibian is an insult to sick frogs everwhere.

  9. 9

    Sorry, Scott, but Karl needs Occupy Wall Street as a conservative wedge issue a hell of a lot more than he needs to help you in your Quixotic mission to resist the Matriarch of Mayhem. Shut up and help the cause by losing disgracefully, and maybe there will be some nice think tank perch Rove can toss your way later.

  10. 10
    Ben Cisco says:

    I think Mr. Macho Truck Drivin’ Man is about to find out the meaning of the terms “expendable”and “acceptable losses” the hard way.

  11. 11

    @MikeJ: Perhaps. I think there’s a far better chance he’s happy to let someone else foot the bill for attack ads while he wistfully expresses a desire for civility. (No need to go so far as to say the ads aren’t true, mind you.)

  12. 12
    russell says:

    Brown gets to have it both ways here.

    He gets to benefit from crap attack ads run by Rove et al, and he gets to be ‘above it all’.

    He even gets to stand up for the little guy.

    So, win/win all around for Brown, IMO.

    I’m sending Warren some money.

  13. 13
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ben Cisco: Ah fin’ it real innerresstin’, as some guy used to say, to think about the game the parties are going to play. I’m sure Rove is willing to throw Brown to the wolves in order to spend money in Missouri, Virginia, etc. Scottie’s symbolic value is about spent, I think. Will the Democrats cut off Ben Nelson to help shore up those races, or Wisconsin (that’s a ’12 race, no?). I am not optimistic.

  14. 14
    WereBear says:

    The Tea Party brand is completely ignorant that it is long past its sell-by date and huge chunks of odoriferous glop are floating to the surface and getting elected to Congress.

    The best thing for humans everywhere was when they lost their cloaking devices after Bush the Lesser got elected the first time. It was all “up yers libtards” and they let their Inner Wingnut hang from the trees and masturbate.

    The Citizens United decision is just more of that “000 – Licensed to Shill” thinking; let it run out its string. The more the mask slips; the less people like it.

    Perhaps this Peak of Power thing will work for us. I sure hope so.

  15. 15
    Kirbster says:

    @Southern Beale: Happy Birthday, SB! It’s also eleventy day, which only comes around once a century. Give a little cheer at 11:11:11 on 11/11/11!

  16. 16
    Halcyan says:

    I really really like the idea of Elizabeth Warren in the seat that belonged to the Lion of the Senate. Fitting. Scott Brown is going to be simply one of the next victims of the Anti-2010 backlash.

  17. 17
    Steve says:

    They are just terrified of the little lady from Oklahoma, aren’t they? How about that!

  18. 18
    Ben Cisco says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: Dealing with Nelson is a lose-lose. If you cut him off and don’t get enough of the other seats, his replacement (almost certainly a NeoConfederate) gums everything up. If you don’t, and don’t get enough of the other seats, Nelson gums everything up.
    __
    I guess the trick is to get enough of the other seats. Someone should look into that.

  19. 19
    Gozer says:

    @Steve: Bless their hearts.

  20. 20
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    I can’t figure out if this group is even real or a joke but in any case the American Mustache Institute has withdrawn their Herman Cain endorsement.

    Geez, you’d think a group with a name like that would be more understanding.

  21. 21
    debit says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: I saw what you did there.

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    Conservatives continue to resist the attempt by all these sluts to defame a businessman.

    Poll: Cain tops 3-way race with Romney, Gingrich
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    In the Republican race for the presidential nomination, Newt Gingrich’s support continues to slowly grow, and he is now tied with Mitt Romney for second place, while Herman Cain just edges both of them out for the top spot. Both Cain and Romney have lost support since late October.
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    In a new CBS News Poll, 61 percent of Republican primary voters say the sexual harassment accusations against Cain won’t make any difference in their vote, but 30 percent say the charges make them less likely to back him, and that rises to 38 percent among women. Cain has lost support among women since last month – from 28 percent in October to 15 percent now. He has lost ground with conservatives and Tea Party supporters as well.
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    But the race could still change; seven in 10 Republican primary voters say it is still too early to say for sure which candidate they will support.
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    The field of Republican candidates now has three candidates within striking distance of each other at the top of the list: with 18 percent, Herman Cain is in the top spot, followed by Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich with 15% each.
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    Support for both Cain and Romney has declined since late last month, and Gingrich is the only one of the top three whose support is steadily – if slowly – on the upswing.

  23. 23
    WereBear says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim: When you’ve lost the ‘stache, you’ve lost America.

  24. 24
    amk says:

    So MA’ians will prove to be idjits once again ?

  25. 25
    birthmarker says:

    A simple web ad for the DNC–scroll the names of the Citizens United type orgs while “By the One Percent, For the One Percent” flashes on the screen.

    Also, if you haven’t seen Hot Coffee, it’s really good. It’s available from Netflix now.

  26. 26
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @WereBear: “Show me on the mustache where Herman Cain offered you a job”

  27. 27
    ned says:

    Now we’ve got the Pierce linky, but where’s the political cartoon from your yahoo account?

    AL, you don’t seem to be taking (your style of) blogging seriously anymore.

  28. 28
    ericblair says:

    Elizabeth Warren turned me into a newt.

    I’m thinking the fallout from Citizens United might not be as bad as expected, considering the unhinged sources of this money. Having the Koch brothers run ads warning about Warren stealing precious bodily fluids and eating babies and trumpeting Scott Brown as a real tea partier who hates him some unions might have a bit of blowback on planet Earth.

  29. 29
  30. 30
    Jeffro says:

    O/T, but David Brooks is actually quite funny today. Stopped clocks and all that.

  31. 31
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:
    I hear they discovered his upper lip is covered with some kind of “theater-quality” impostor.

  32. 32
    El Tiburon says:

    How about this: Warren wins then she replaces Biden as VP?

  33. 33
    JGabriel says:

    WCBV-TV5 Boston:

    Sen. Scott Brown did not welcome the ad.

    Southern Beale:

    I’m sure Scott Brown really hates these groups’ influence over elections.

    In general, no. But for this specific ad / campaign?

    If Brown has half a brain, then of course he hates it. People in Massachusettes are going to see that and think, “Wow, rich people with money to buy political ads more than a year before the elections really, really hate Elizabeth Warren. Because she fights against them. They’re not even subtle about it. I should vote for her.”

    I am not being contrarian here. I’m dead serious. That ad specifically amplifies Warren’s message and campaign themes: the economy is rigged for the rich and I will fight them for you.

    So of course Brown hates it. Brown may not be anyone’s idea of a genius, but he at least understands Massachusettes’ voters better than the people who created that ad and financed its broadcast airings.

    .

  34. 34
    WereBear says:

    @Amir Khalid: I never cared for the Cesar-Romero-playing-a-gigolo style, anyway.

  35. 35
    JGabriel says:

    @Ben Cisco:

    Dealing with Nelson is a lose-lose. If you cut him off and don’t get enough of the other seats, his replacement (almost certainly a NeoConfederate) gums everything up. If you don’t, and don’t get enough of the other seats, Nelson gums everything up.

    It’s a choice between Evil and Heinously Evil.

    .

  36. 36
    Murphoney says:

    Karl is flirting. He’s hoping Warren will stop sending the flowers back.

  37. 37
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @WereBear:

    It’s worth watching just for the awesome disclaimer at the end. Read every word.

  38. 38
    Kristine says:

    @Southern Beale: Happy Birthday–have a great one!

  39. 39
    numbskull says:

    @JGabriel: Actually, it seems like an opportunity to me, but not one that Reid or the others will take. Imagine if Senate leadership very publicly dinged Nelson and the DSC very publicly said that they’re shopping for a replacement. Either Nelson would get in line, or he’d be run over. Since it’s questionable whether Nelson will hold his seat anyway in the general, I’m not sure that there’s a downside to this approach. It certainly would put the other blue dogs on notice, probably encouraging better behavior.

  40. 40
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    @Southern Beale: Happy Birthday!

  41. 41
    TK-421 says:

    Democratic Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren Thursday had no problems being linked to the Occupy Wall Street movement and stands by her statement that she “created much of the intellectual foundation for what they do.” “Yes, I’ve been fighting Wall Street for a very long time,” said Warren on WCVB TV’s political show OTR. “I’m glad to see people push on this issue.”

    Contrast this unapologetic, unafraid response to a “scandal” with anyone’s response to Breitbart/O’Keefe shenanigans. Tom Vilsack, I’m looking at you.

    This contrast is one reason why OMG MANIC PROGRESSIVES love her. Even though she’s not “savvy,” her political instincts are far, far better than the professional Dem class. And gee what a coincidence, she’s going to succeed.

    You mean honestly and fearlessly defending your beliefs and the people who stand with you will benefit you politically?!?!? Huh, imagine that.

  42. 42
    Steve says:

    @JGabriel: Much as we might wish it were true, the vast majority of people who see political ads do not sit there and analyze the subtext. They just don’t.

  43. 43
    gbear says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:

    Charles Pierce come up with these dead-on, pithy, unfailingly accurate and hysterically funny phrases every day?

    He used to be a sports writer. Sports writers are allowed to be nasty.

  44. 44
    gf120581 says:

    It’s not everyday you see Scott Brown, who by all accounts is one of the real dim bulbs in the Senate, have more sense than Karl Rove. But then, Brown knows his state far better than Turd Blossom does.

    I’ve never understood why Rove is considered some kind of a genius mastermind. He isn’t. He’s a thug who’s success comes from his willingness to sink as low as possible to win. But genius? I stopped believing that when he nearly blew the 2000 election by spending all that time trying to win California, allowing Gore to secure his hold on the Midwest states and push Florida into a deadheat. And need we remember his haughty “I have THE math” declaration right before the GOP got whiped out in 2006?

    No, Rove is no genius. He’s just an attack dog who’s one approach is smearing, even in states where his attack approach is laughable. And against someone like Warren, who doesn’t back down an inch, the attacks are not only fruitless, but can actually benefit her.

  45. 45

    Kabuki theater.

    Rove’s group runs ads and Brown condemns them looking like Mr. Nice guy.

  46. 46
    Yutsano says:

    @Southern Beale: So does this mean at 11:11 you turn into a superhero or something? :)

    Joyeux Anniversaire!

  47. 47
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @El Cid:

    Cain epitomizes the “let’s piss the liberals off” concept that seems to be one of the driving forces behind the entire conservetard mindset.

    Well, since the story was broken by the ultra lefties of Politico, this all makes perfect sense.

  48. 48
    Mnemosyne says:

    @gf120581:

    It’s not everyday you see Scott Brown, who by all accounts is one of the real dim bulbs in the Senate, have more sense than Karl Rove. But then, Brown knows his state far better than Turd Blossom does.

    Rove knows his donors better than Brown does, and the 1% will be emptying their pockets and sending it all to American Crossroads after that ad.

    If Brown ends up losing his seat so Rove can have millions and millions of dollars funneled to his organization, well, them’s the breaks, Scotty.

  49. 49
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @TK-421:

    ven though she’s not “savvy,” her political instincts are far, far better than the professional Dem class.

    You mean utter morons like Donna Brazille and Marc Penn? Not to mention idiots who sleep with apprentices to Darth Cheney like that quisling Carville?

  50. 50
    pete says:

    @Mnemosyne: Good point. It’s also not too farfetched to think that Rove has written off Massachusetts and this ad is essentially a head-fake designed to get people to send him cash he will spend on winnable races. Pace small, carnivorous mammals everywhere, he’s a devious little weasel.

  51. 51
    Joel says:

    @El Cid: I was thinking about this last night: To the wingnut mind, Cain could be their Bill Clinton. They probably see liberals going after his sexual harassment cases as the height of hypocrisy.

  52. 52
    ...now I try to be amused says:

    @gbear:

    [Charles Pierce] used to be a sports writer. Sports writers are allowed to be nasty.

    Also, since Americans pay more attention to sports than they do to politics, sports writers can’t spout lazy-ass bullshit without getting called on it. Maybe sports writing builds good habits.

  53. 53
    David Hunt says:

    @JGabriel:

    It’s a choice between Evil and Heinously Evil

    I remember that I used to see mock campaign buttons that said “Cthulu for President: When you’re tired of choosing the lesser of two evils.” Unfortunately, I haven’t seen one of those in quite some time. The last I saw was a Cthulu/Yoggoth 2000 button. I guess joke kinda lost its kick after they won…

  54. 54
    handy says:

    @Joel:

    I had that same thought too this morning. We could go on ad infinitum how liberals are not going after Cain the way conservatives and their beltway buddies did Clinton, and the allegations against Clinton were not harassment. But to a tribal-minded person none of this matters, just that liberals are now conveniently using a sex scandal against one of their own.

  55. 55
    Catsy says:

    @Ben Cisco: I don’t necessarily disagree, but here’s how I look at it.

    Option 1: take a hard line with Nelson, and if he survives he votes with the Republicans on most issues, including cloture.

    Option 2: give Nelson a free pass, and if he survives he votes with the Republicans on most issues, including cloture.

    This is indeed a lose-lose scenario. But there is a significant difference between them in one respect.

    If we make an example of Nelson, it sends a message to other DINOs and Blue Dogs who keep voting against their party on procedural votes: this could happen to you.

    If we give him a free pass, then it sends a message to those DINOs and Blue Dogs: screw your party as much as you want; there are no consequences for doing so.

    If we are damned if we do and damned if we don’t, we might as well do it and get some benefit from being damned. Democrats can vote their conscience on most things; I’m not blind to the different districts and constituents in which they live. But there is no excuse for voting against the party on procedural issues like cloture. None. And the longer we give these assholes a free pass for screwing us, the longer they’ll keep doing it.

  56. 56
    John Weiss says:

    @SiubhanDuinne: Charles Pierce is a national treasure. Not quit as fine as the late and lamented Ivens, though.

    I think that ‘toad’ would fill the bill. Except that would be an insult to a beautiful creature.

    Maybe turd?

  57. 57
    John Weiss says:

    @Southern Beale: Happy birthday SB.

  58. 58
    John Weiss says:

    @…now I try to be amused: “Maybe sports writing builds good habits.”

    Interesting observation. Probably true.

  59. 59
    jayjaybear says:

    @gbear: Sports writers and sport broadcasters. Example #1, Keith Olbermann.

  60. 60
    McJulie says:

    @gf120581: After 2006 I theorized that Rove was like one of those “business geniuses” who’s always getting profiled in the MSM — like the CEOs of Enron.

    He doesn’t really have a secret plan. The secret plan is to act like there’s a secret plan. Then when you win, everybody thinks it’s because of the secret plan. But really it’s because you’re running a con, or gotten lucky so far, or both.

    Luck runs out. Cons eventually collapse. Rove doesn’t know anything special. He has one technique, go as low as possible, and if that doesn’t work, he’s out of options.

  61. 61
    Quaker in a Basement says:

    Shorter Scott Brown: “Uh…stop ‘helping’ me, Karl.”

  62. 62
    nepat says:

    @TK-421:

    Easy does it. She hasn’t won anything yet. The election’s not for another year.

  63. 63
    Jenny says:

    @TK-421:

    And gee what a coincidence, she’s going to succeed.

    Really? What make you say that.

    You guys stuck in a self-reinforcing echo chamber are convinced it’s gonna be a “cake walk”. Far from it. It’s going to be an uphill fight.

    Brown will have a ton of more money. He has the advantage of being an incumbent. He’s good in debates. The Kock Bros.’s super pac will probably spend $100 million to defeat her. Brown will have the media on his side, if only because they hate Warren. They’ll going to try to swift-boat her. And to top it off, the PUMAs and Firebaggers hate her because she’s an Obot.

    So yeah, it’s way to early to hang the “Mission Accomplished” sign.

  64. 64
    Jebediah says:

    @Jenny:

    So yeah, it’s way to early to hang the “Mission Accomplished” sign.

    Maybe so, but I’m gonna do it anyway. I am too emotionally invested in the idea of my home state coming to their senses and replacing a bad doofus with the excellent Warren.

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