Freedom's Watch, the billionaire-fueled and highly-connected conservative attack machine, has begun its promised push to recruit membership -- to become "a conservative answer to MoveOn
." But they're doing it in a funny way.
In a mailing that the group has sent to an unknown number of people, a four-page fundraising pitch (which is addressed, "Dear Fellow Patriot") is packaged with a two-page "Citizens Census." The "CONFIDENTIAL CENSUS DOCUMENT," as it's described in the letter, is actually a list of questions about core conservative issues, such as "Should we give our troops everything they need to fight our enemies?" with "Yes," "No," or "Undecided" as the offered responses. The questions are under the heading "FREEDOM'S WATCH CITIZENS CENSUS QUESTIONS."
When I asked Freedom's Watch spokesman Jake Suski whether the mailing was misleading, he strongly disagreed. "It doesn't even have the qualities of an official document," he argued, adding that the survey itself has multiple references to Freedom's Watch (true), that the fundraising pitch is written on Freedom's Watch letterhead (also true), and that the envelope itself says "Freedom's Watch" on it (true, on the back - see above for the front). "There's just no confusion about it. I think it's all in your head."
the letter and "census" and here's
the envelope it came in. Decide for yourself. It certainly reminds me of another fundraising pitch with an official aura: the "voter audit" letter from the Republican National Committee we reported on last August
Suski, who was until last summer
John McCain's Western finance director, wouldn't disclose how many such letters the group sent out or to whom it had been targeted. He would only say that "the response has been tremendous."
The letter, which is signed by the group's president Bradley Blakeman (a former Bush administration official), warns against what "MoveOn.org, Big Labor bosses, gun-grabbers" and others behind the "Clinton/Obama/Reid/Pelosi liberal agenda" are plotting and urges "you, a leading conservative activist in your area, to stand with us to stop their liberal agenda from becoming the law of the land."
(TPM Reader DA, who forwarded us the letter, told me he is far from a "leading conservative activist" -- he's not even a registered Republican.)
It's clear from the letter, however, that Freedom's Watch, which reportedly plans to spend $250 million in the '08 elections, is thinking big:
Your 2008 Citizens Census is being conducted by Freedom's Watch as a first step in taking back our nation....
Active in at least 40 Congressional Districts and 10 states, we plan to spend tens of millions of dollars to educate citizens through television, radio, and direct mail campaigns about the conservative choice we offer....
With your Census answers and financial support, we will:
1. Put together our BLUEPRINT for the future of our conservative movement, using 2008 Citizens Census rseults from dedicated patriots nationwide;
2. Run targeted, hard-hitting ad campaigns in key media markets, calling on politicians by name to renounce their support of amnesty, socialism, and submission to our enemies, and;
3. Educate and mobilize millions of Americansto to the polls in November with a multi-million dollar voter education program and an unprecedented effort to expose the radical left's real agenda.