[Posted by Karl]
While we were having a good laugh over the Lefty bloggers whining for their share of interest group boodle, another tasty tidbit from Ben Smith was getting largely overlooked:
The latest in a series of new, low-profile efforts to coordinate the unusually focused progressive coalition backing the White House’s goals is a quiet weekly meeting run by a new group called the Common Purpose Project.
The Common Purpose meeting every Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol Hilton brings together the top officials from a range of left-leaning organizations, from labor groups like Change to Win to activists like MoveOn.org, all in support of the White House’s agenda. The group has an overlapping membership with a daily 8:45 a.m. call run by the Center for American Progress’ and Media Matters’ political arms; with the new field-oriented coalition Unity ’09; and with the groups that allied to back the budget as the Campaign to Rebuild and Renew America Now.
Unlike those other groups, however, the Common Purpose meeting has involved a White House official, communications director Ellen Moran, two sources familiar with the meeting said. It’s aimed, said one, at “providing a way for the White House to manage its relationships with some of these independent groups.”
The group’s founder, political consultant and former Gephardt aide Erik Smith, described it in general terms after others had confirmed its existence. (Emphasis added.)
However, Jane Hamsher let slip who is really behind Common Purpose, calling it “one of the many groups Rahm Emanuel has set up to coordinate messaging among liberal interest groups”:
There are a variety of vehicles through which this is done — the 8:45 am call, Unity 09, Campaign to Rebuild and Renew America — and they’ve been extremely successful. When the banks told the White House they wouldn’t cooperate with the PPIP plan unless they got their bonuses, and the administration made the decision to “ratchet down their rhetoric,” the call went out to the liberal interest groups to stay silent too…and silent they remain.
There’s a big problem right now with the traditional liberal interest groups sitting on the sidelines around major issues because they don’t want to buck the White House for fear of getting cut out of the dialogue, or having their funding slashed. Someone picks up a phone, calls a big donor, and the next thing you know…the money is gone. It’s already happened. Because that’s the way Rahm plays.
To sum up: Lefty bloggers beg for (and receive) funding from the Lefty interest groups to carry their message. The Sorosphere organizes the echo chamber meetings for the interest groups. The interest groups fear that going off-message will bring reprisals — financial or otherwise — directed from the White House. “Because that’s the way Rahm plays.”
That’s the Chicago way.