Will the Grassroots Drop their Anti-Blue Dog Campaigns?

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On Friday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid laid the smackdown on progressive grassroots groups that are marshaling their efforts against a group of conservative Democrats. But did the grassroots get the message?

It’s becoming difficult not to conclude just that. When reports of Reid’s statements broke, I put out calls to some of the more high-profile groups–including Campaign for America’s Future (CAF), MoveOn, and Americans United for Change (AUC)–and the response has been…telling.AUC has been running ads in the states of conservative Democrats urging constituents to “call congress” and “tell them to support President Obama’s budget”. Late Friday, they sent me a statement saying, “we agree with Senator Reid that Democrats should not be impeded from moving forward on this transformative budget and this is not a fight between Democrats.” But the meat of Reid’s remarks were anything but conciliatory. “These groups should leave [the “Moderate Dem Working Group] alone,” Reid said. “It’s not helpful to me. It’s not helpful to the Democratic Caucus.”

CAF, meanwhile, declines to comment on Reid’s remarks altogether. Last week, the group featured their “Dog the Blue Dogs” campaign prominently on their website’s home page, but today it’s nowhere to be seen.

For their part, MoveOn did not respond to a request for comment. They’ve been running similar ads in many of the same districts as AUC, though MoveOn calls out the targeted senators and congressmen by name.

Two key questions are how long the campaigns will last and what, if anything, will take their place once they’ve run their course. I’ve put it to the groups, and will report back if and when they respond.

Late Update: The Americans United for Change ads expire tomorrow. A source there says a second wave might run at a “strategic” time, but the message has yet to be determined….

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Brian Beutler is TPM's senior congressional reporter. Since 2009, he's led coverage of health care reform, Wall Street reform, taxes, the GOP budget, the government shutdown fight and the debt limit fight. He can be reached at brian@talkingpointsmemo.com
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