A White House effort to undermine conservative critics is generating a backlash on Capitol Hill — and not just from Republicans.
“It’s a mistake,” said Rep. Jason Altmire, a moderate Democrat from western Pennsylvania. “I think it’s beneath the White House to get into a tit for tat with news organizations.”
Altmire was talking about the Obama administration’s efforts to undercut Fox News. But he said his remarks applied just the same to White House efforts to marginalize the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a powerful business lobby targeted for its opposition to climate change legislation.
“There’s no reason to gratuitously piss off all those companies,” added another Democrat, Rep. Jim Moran of Virginia. “The Chamber isn’t an opponent.”
POLITICO reported earlier this week on an all-fronts push by the White House to cut the legs out from under its toughest critics, whether it’s the Chamber, radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh or Glenn Beck and the rest of the Fox News operation.
White House Communications Director Anita Dunn has defended the push, saying the administration made “a fundamental decision that we needed to be more aggressive in both protecting our position and in delineating our differences with those who were attacking us.”
Congressional Republicans counterattacked Thursday. House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) said the administration was “targeting those who don’t immediately fall in line” with “Chicago-style politics” aimed at “shutting the American people out and demonizing their opponents.”
Boehner’s No. 2, Minority Whip Eric Cantor (R-Va.) complained that the nation’s problems are growing while the White House “bickers with a cable news network.”
Liberal Democrats have little heartburn over the administration’s attacks on Fox and Limbaugh. But the attacks make moderates uneasy — especially when they extend to the Chamber of Commerce.
While Limbaugh and Fox commentators like Beck make no secret of their dislike for Democrats, the Chamber’s Republican lean is partially counteracted by nominal and financial support for pro-business Democrats who need to win votes from pro-business Republicans. The campaign websites of moderate Democrats from across the country are filled with endorsements from the Chamber of Commerce.
Rep. Brad Ellsworth of Indiana, for example, has this testimonial from a Chamber official on his site: “On issues ranging from lowering taxes to increasing trade, Indiana’s businesses and workers have no better friend than Brad Ellsworth.”...
quit worrying! it's not a nixonian enemies list. obama's just doing what he said he'd do: calling out those who misrepresent his plan!
and anyway, FOX=666!