Democrats are looking to make political hay — and at least in one case, raise campaign cash — out of several recent remarks made by prominent Republicans.
In an email to supporters titled “Bizarre,” the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee (DSCC) calls attention to statements made at last weekend’s Tea Party Convention in Nashville, Tenn.
“Did you hear about last weekend’s National Tea Party Convention? We could laugh it off as the lunatic fringe, but that would miss the point,” says the email from DSCC Executive Director J.B. Poersch. “The ascendancy of this right-wing, angry, populist movement isn’t funny — it’s dangerous. And these activists have their eyes on the Senate.”
The Democrats’ Senate campaign arm, the DSCC says it hopes to raise $248,461 by Feb. 28 “in order to stop the tea partiers.”
Poersch’s email says that Tea Party Convention keynote speaker Sarah Palin is funding multiple candidates through her political action committee.
“‘Mainstream’ Republican Senate candidates are saying and doing bizarre things to earn tea party support,” Poersch’s email says. “If these candidates win, it’s game over for progress.”
From the Tea Party meeting, Poersch cites:
Meanwhile, in a separate email, the chairman of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) is calling out his Republican counterpart for saying that “after taxes, a million dollars is not a lot of money.”
Steele made the comment during a debate in Arkansas, criticizing President Obama’s plan to let Bush-era tax cuts expire for those making more than $250,000 annually.
Steele’s opponent in that debate, Democrat Harold Ford, reportedly asked the audience, “Who in here makes a million dollars a year?” No one raised their hand.
DNC Chairman Tim Kaine calls Steele’s comment “crazy talk.”
“But it’s no surprise coming from the head of a party that prefers favors for Wall Street to jobs on Main Street,” Kaine says.
Kaine’s email highlights an online calculator that enables users to earn $1 million.
The average American household makes $52,000 per year, Kaine says. Only 2 percent make more than $250,000 — and millions are out of work in a recovering economy, the former Virginia governor adds.
“But while arguing to extend the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy last Thursday at the University of Arkansas, Steele let slip that he thinks a million is ‘not a lot.’ It’s outrageous — but sadly, not surprising,” Kaine says. “Greed and excess on Wall Street nearly brought down our economy, health care costs are drowning families, but the GOP is fighting to protect big banks and block health reform while proposing more and more tax cuts for the rich.
“What’s worse, the leading Republican on the House Budget Committee just proposed a budget that privatizes Social Security and shreds Medicare — two programs that millions of middle-class Americans rely upon,” Kaine adds.
In his email, Kaine asks supporters to write a letter to the editor “exposing the GOP’s agenda.”
“Republicans are going all out to be seen as defenders of the ‘little guy’ this election season. But Chairman Steele’s comment last week made it clear they’re not. We need to make sure every American hears about it,” Kaine says. “Use our calculator to figure out how long it would take you to earn ‘not a lot of money’ — then use our easy letter-to-the-editor tool, your own story, and our helpful tips to expose the GOP on the widely-read letters page of your local paper …”
Publisher of the news site On The Hill, Scott Nance has covered Congress and the federal government for more than a decade.