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Iowa CCI Went After Wasserman Schultz, Too

Democratic-allied groups are sure getting a lot of mileage out of Mitt Romney’s comment that corporations are people. Because it’s a template that can be applied to any Republican, there’s sure to be a “corporations are people” attack ad in the general election even if Romney isn’t the nominee. Every Republican who has been asked the question since has backed Romney up. The video that Chuck Schumer sent around over the weekend included Sarah Palin’s Romney-affirming comments in it. Schumer wrote in an email to supporters, “This video is so important because it so clearly shows the contrast between Democrats and Republicans.”

When confronted with the information that the activist group which questioned Romney and led to the comment, Iowa CCI, puts principle before party and has criticized President Obama and the Democrats for failing to stand strong for Social Security, the same Democrats using the Romney footage kind of grumble to themselves and walk away. They don’t want to engage with the implications of that. They don’t want to acknowledge that progressives may have a point.

David Atkins did a great piece showing how Iowa CCI produced more value than every Democratic strategist who ever sat in an MSNBC green room:

These are the sorts of activists who are persistent and get things done. They’re the sorts of activists who will be there on behalf of Democratic principles come rain or shine, come Republican or Democratic Administrations. All the Democratic Party needs to do is have their back, and they can make magic happen. Iowa CCI just did more for the Obama re-election campaign than $50 million of advertising dollars could ever hope to do, against the candidate whom all the polls show would likely be Obama’s most formidable opponent in the general election.

The truth is that Iowa CCI isn’t stabbing the President or the Democratic Party in the back through their criticism of the Grand Bargain. If anything, the President and the Party are stabbing them in the back, even as they continue to do the sort of work that helps get Democrats elected–even if that work doesn’t necessarily come in the form of phonebanking or door-to-door canvassing.

In fact, Iowa CCI did confront DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz at the Iowa State Fair, in an exchange that didn’t get the same kind of play in liberal circles. The activists shouted, “Obama put Medicare on the chopping block, Debbie,” and Wasserman Schultz responded by wrapping up her soapbox speech early and leaving the stage.

As Wasserman Schultz left the stage, she was pursued by a liberal activist wearing a Catholic Worker T-shirt who also interrogated her about the debt-deal compromise. The man said to her, “Your actions don’t back up your thoughts.… Obama was the one who put cutting Social Security and Medicare on the table,” to which Wasserman Schultz responded, “That is not true and you know it.”

Whatever the timeline, it’s undeniable that the President endorsed cuts – or “modest adjustments” – to Social Security and Medicare. He’s done so publicly. Iowa CCI is the kind of group that will say that out loud.

And yet they continue to run circles around Democratic strategists in terms of providing valuable soundbites that show candidates off as the corporate stooges they are.

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David Dayen

David Dayen