PFAW Says If You Don’t Give Them Money, You Support Mitt Romney

People for the American Way (PFAW) went to bat yesterday for embattled Attorney General Eric Holder and condemned the House Oversight Committee’s political witch hunt. PFAW’s president, Michael Keegan, let them have it: “To be sure, Congress has a legitimate interest in investigating Operation Fast and Furious, but Chairman Issa and Republican majority on the Committee appear to be more interested in scoring political points than in getting to the bottom of what happened.”  That’s good; it made me cheer. The problem is, Michael Keagan didn’t have anything nice to say to thousands of PFAW’s supporters either.

I understand the importance of fundraising. I understand that to continue their work, PFAW needs money, and I understand the critical imbalance between what the Republicans and Democrats have to spend. I write about this stuff daily, after all, and read what my fellow writers have to say.

But there is a right way and a wrong way to do things. This is the fundraising email PFAW is sending out to those who have supported them in the past, a sort of combined guilt-trip and pressure sale predicated, unfortunately, on the very conservative philosophy that “if you’re not with us, you’re against us” (and I mean with “PFAW” literally). Take a look at their pitch:

Dear [insert your name],

It appears that the most unlikely name of all may now be supporting Mitt Romney for president:

[insert your name]

Please give me a moment to explain.

Thanks to the Citizens United decision, corporations now have the same free speech rights as people when it comes to spending money on America’s elections. Every time you pay your bills, buy gas, food, or any other everyday item, some of that money is going directly into Mitt Romney’s campaign budget.

That is why it is so important that you renew your PFAW membership.

If PFAW loses someone as committed to the American Way as you are [name] – to someone like Mitt Romney — either directly or simply by your inaction … our civil rights and liberties as Americans will be absolutely devastated.

In other words, if you don’t give to PFAW, you are a Romney supporter. If you want to eat and drink, if you want your family to eat and drink, you shouldn’t sleep good at night unless you address this imbalance by also giving PFAW money.

Nothing could be more guaranteed to prevent me from supporting an otherwise praiseworthy group like PFAW.

My inaction? Seriously? They seem unaware that there are other ways to oppose Romney and everything he stands for. Just because I am not giving them money doesn’t mean I am not doing anything.

If I could be paid for every letter I write and petition I sign,letters to the editor,  not to mention the phone calls I have made, I could retire. I am sure many of you could say the same. I spend hours every day writing for the liberal cause here at PoliticusUSA and did elsewhere before that, again, without pay, donating my time freely for a cause I believe in very deeply, even though my family has suffered as a result.

In exchange, I endure abuse and insult, as do all, I believe, who write here at PoliticusUSA. I’ve even had anonymous hate mail delivered to my home.  This sort of stress is not good for your health – it is not good for somebody like me who suffers from heart problems; who is forced,  as a consequence, to watch his blood pressure closely. I have been told by my family that I am not always at my most pleasant because of the built-up anger, frustration and even hopelessness of the task in which I am engaged.

But I do it anyway, because I believe in the cause for which we are fighting, as do millions of others who do not give PFAW money.

Yet for all my sacrifices, I am a Romney supporter? I don’t think so. My family doesn’t think so.

I would love to give them money. I would love to give every liberal and progressive group whose cause I believe in money, as well as every environmental and wildlife group. But who can do that? Who can give more than a fraction of what they’d like to be able to give? Nobody can. Including me.

It’s one thing to be insulted by Republicans and fundamentalist Christians. It’s another thing entirely to be insulted by a group that should have your back.

Yes, PFAW fights to defend us against a terrifyingly dystopian future, as their email reminds us:

  • Advancing the War on Women – defunding family planning, denying access to basic birth control, and criminalizing reproductive choices.
  • Packing the Supreme Court with justices like Robert Bork – who Mitt Romney named to co-chair his presidential advisory committee on law, the Constitution and the judiciary.
  • Privatizing Social Security and devastating Medicaid.
  • Slashing federal safeguards for the environment, energy and education.

Yes, they do some very important things, as they also remind us:

  • Organize progressive voters and get them to the polls on Election Day. Get-out-the-vote efforts were essential to our victories in 2006 and 2008, and will be again in 2012.
  • Fight the outrageous lies being propagated by the Republicans and the Tea Partiersto build unfounded fear and resentment for President Obama and Democrats in Congress.
  • Buy airtime and advertisements on television, radio and the internet. We also need funding for phone banking and mail efforts to reach voters directly.
  • Put “boots-on-the-ground.” People For the American Way is placing staff members in key districts to best coordinate our forces.

But they are not the only ones out there. There are the rest of us. There are those who like me, write. There are those who march, those who occupy. There are many unsung heroes of the war which we find ourselves fighting, through no choice of our own but out of necessity – to preserve a sane and sustainable world for our children, our liberty as a people intact.

By my reckoning, I’ve done quite a bit. Sure, I go to sleep at times wishing I could do more. I look at my little boy every day and wonder what kind of world he will inherit. Perhaps I could do more if I had more money or more time and cared less about my family or my own health. Perhaps instead of buying medicine for my son or eating a meal, I could give money to PFAW so they will stop questioning my devotion to our cause, but I’m not going to do that. Guilt trips are not suddenly going to produce more time or money for me to throw around.

I Admire and respect PFAW, and their Right Wing Watch is an invaluable resource. We’re fighting the same battle, after all. But allies shouldn’t accuse allies of being enemies. The simple fact is, we get enough of this with me or against me nonsense from conservatives. This email was not the best idea they ever had, and I suspect if they could go back, they might have chosen a less offensive means of getting our attention.

Now, if they will leave well enough alone (stop accusing us of supporting Romney), I can get back to bashing the people I want to be bashing: the Republicans and fundamentalist Christians who are trying to destroy our country.

15 Replies to “PFAW Says If You Don’t Give Them Money, You Support Mitt Romney”

  1. if I had a nickel for every e-mail I get like that I would be a filthy rich billionaire. All day long I am getting e-mails from the Democratic Party in different names telling me to give them money or else the Republicans are going to take over.

    On the other hand I get some right wing nut job e-mails , such as from the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms. If I don’t send them money I support the removal of guns from every home in America according to them. Obama is always minutes away from personally coming to your house and taking your gun. And that is just one example

    I decided after the 2000 elections that I would never give to a political party again. I give a couple dollars when I do my taxes, and that is it. The money that these people taken to fight each other should be spent for the citizens. I’m sick of the entire system

  2. I’m with you guys. Whatever there was to give, I gave, and nobody had my back. I manage as I can, give when it’s possible, and am not thrilled with guilt trips.

  3. I don’t think I’ll take any of it personally. Should I ever accidently earn a buck, I’ll send it their way. Meanwhile, I’ll just keep plowing ahead:)

    Love PoliticusUSA. Love People for the American Way.

    Let’s not fight amongst ourselves – there’s so much right-wing arse to kick and so little time.

  4. I received one of the PFAW emails last night. It said I support romney, and said thanks. I thought it was some RW spam. I opened it and was from PFAW. I was insulted. I get about 4 or 5 requests per day from a politician or special interest to save the planet, help stop republican over reach, etc. I give some money to those I feel strongly about, but I can’t spend an extra 3-400 dollars a month. Before CU, I hardly ever got any fund requests. I know sending in a little money doesn’t help a Senator much when Karl Rove is spending $10M to defeat him, but I send some if I can. We should all ask the SCOTUS to pay us $400 or so a month for their stupid power grab for the rich.

  5. I had this discussion in the phone yesterday with the DCCC, whom I have asked NOT to call me. I decide what I give, and to whom, and I give to no one over the phone anyway. I am naive enough to believe that we can beat the GOP with our votes and the truth, and we can never match the Koch and Adelson billions anyway. I too am sick of this wasted money…we have crumbling cities and the GOP thinks buying an election is helping America?

  6. They think it’s buying America, which, regardless of what it gave them, is now just another satrapy in their global plutonomy.

    We will never fight them with money. We will fight them with our dedication, our information, or eloquence, the Internet, and the vote.

  7. Hraf, have you let PFAW know your feelings? I agree with what you have said, and using a GOP tactic to raise money by a Liberal organization is not a good way to “conduct business”…despicable comes to mind as a good word to describe the tactic.
    I have found that a great way to get the GOP’s attention and to stop getting their despicable solicitations is to directly contact them via phone or mail.
    I kept on receiving flyers from Joe Wilson, the goon Congressmen for my district (sic…you know…the fool that yelled out “You Lie” to the President of the United States in a State of the Union address) so I contacted their local headquarters via phone and politely requested they remove my address from their mailing list. The person on the other end of the phone was very understanding and said she would, but that there were still a few already out there that I would receive.
    The problem we face is that most of the moderate or liberal organizations have been drowned out by the GOP and the Fundies, they are a hell of a lot louder then we seem to be. I make no excuse for the PFAW and their tactic, but I guess that if it works for the GOP and the Fundies, it should work for us. We need to let them know that that is NOT the way to raise funds.
    Like you, I can’t give much, but I do donate, to the ACLU, The Southern Poverty Law Center and a few others, but I usually only give about 5 bucks, that’s all I can really afford, but send me a email like you got, and they will get an earful of why I won’t give them nada until they reconsider their fund raising strategy.
    Let us know if you told them what you have written here and what their response may be, I think we all would be interested in their response.

  8. I decided to let this be my response, figuring that I would be far from alone in feeling this way (I already knew one other person who was insulted by this email).

    I have told the Democrats that I will support the individual Democrats who are worthy of support rather than giving them money they will give to people who side with the Republicans.

    Not being a Republican, I am not willing to vote against my self interest.

  9. I’m glad you wrote about this Hraf. As is usually the case, there is a draft of a similar article sitting in my doc. file I didn’t finish. The email insulted me and I unsubscribed. As you eloquently noted, we take a world of grief for our work and for PFAW to claim our inaction supports Willard was too much and sad that they don’t trust their supporters commitment or intelligence.

  10. In our “under 2000 sq ft/2B/2B” dwelling, the discussion has been over the fact that we are, in some ways, pushed up against the wall to give money to the politicos BECAUSE of the “but for/if we don’t…” scenario.

    Greed is running over and above the real goals of providing a level playing field for all “the people”. Americans want a chance on at least some level to play on of the democratically-driven ideals of our society, aka “the American Dream”(education, equal opportunity in the work place, decent housing, medical care…).

    But, greed has over-powered the playing field.

    There is no “resentment” that our funds are needed by politicos such as PFAAW, but it that our personal funds could be better spent on the truly NEEDY, not the political greedy…

    We’re all being held “ransomed” to keep democracy alive; our innocent “Little Nell” is homeless (Snidely held the mortgage), she’s out of work (Snidely bought the local business and shut them down) and Dudley Do-Right cannot save her unless he wins a card game stacked against him by Snidely Whiplash…it’s pony up or else!

  11. Sally
    You hit on something I have been saying for awhile now. All of this money in politics only works if people are going to believe everything they hear. There are plenty of “liberal progressive elite” that help to get the right info to the people.

    Boots on the ground, telephone banks there are plenty of ways to fight the millions. From the recent Bloomberg poll it seems the money is NOT working. How blatant can people be to think they can buy an election? Do they think the majority is that stupid? yes they do, because they judge the majority by the actions of their own base. Major mistake when you consider over 90 million voters out there.

  12. Bash the Supreme Court for bring us Citizen’s United with unlimited funds that support voter suppression while we the Taxpayer need to pay to undo this suppression of voters rights. It’s all about money, Corporations are buying our Democracy, so quit being a cry baby, give what you can when you can’t don’t give anymore. This letter from the PFAW shows just how desperate things have gotten for them as well as others trying to fight back the tide of becoming a ‘third world’, we as a country are headed to becoming a Plutocracy/theocracy in this Republican wing nut world.

  13. Goog grief! I work for a large progressive faith organization! We are always on the thin edge financially because we don’t promise heaven and don’t threaten hell.

    If I’d known this PFAW tactic would WORK on progressives I’d say “Support (my organization) or YOU SUPPORT SATAN.”

    Wait. Where are you going? Aren’t you ashamed? Hey – come back! C’mon pay up! Don’t walk away! Gosh. Won’t you contribute a LITTLE? Huh? Pleeeeeeeze???


  14. I think most of you are way too forgiving in your comments. THIS: is a BIG FAIL. As for conservatives and how well it works: they tend to be less educated; limited in being able to see the overall picture; there-by focus better on single/simple issues And highly reactive to fear tactics; and contribute,responding the next day to a single but different threat. The reverse tends to be true for progressive, critical thinkers; educ.+, whole pict., not as easily manipulated. Also compassionate and forgiving; the only thing that might save this PFAW fund raising attempt. (It’s also an insult to our intelligence) NOW: It should probably be pointed out to PFAW that for every Person that leaves, decides to stop giving or not giving this time;gives less than intended <<<<all due to this letter's offensive tone; then, the Romney campaign sends a big old "THANKS" for the help, keep it up. Another issue for later,..maybe, Sr. staff salaries.

  15. Absolutely add my name to this list. I too was a recipient of this over-the-top strong-arm ‘demand’ (I was going to say ‘request’, but it wasn’t). I was infuriated at the tone. When I saw the header in my inbox, I expected some sort of snark or satire, but it sure didn’t come across that way!! I can’t donate to anyone – I have no job and no money. That means NONE. It’s a real adventure just to put food on the table around here. So no matter how many hundreds of donation requests I receive via email, snail mail or phone, they will of necessity ALL go unfilled. I can tell them this til the cows come home, and the letters continue unabated. But NONE of them ever left me feeling the way this one did, and like some others here, this solidified my resolve to NEVER donate to PFAW, if I ever do have money to share. Yes, they do seem to be a good organization – I just hope they haven’t managed to completely alienate all of their supporters (an apology for this might be a start). Meanwhile, I will continue to do what I can, which is mostly to shoot my mouth off and do whatever possible to spread the truth in the process. PFAW? Don’t knock on MY door.

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