Groundswell — the group email list and weekly meeting sponsored by “a balance of social conservatives, national security conservatives, and constitutional conservatives” (and, notably, not fiscal conservatives) — was established to attack liberals and progressives, stymy President Barack Obama’s agenda and push Republican leaders to hew more closely to a more conservative agenda, David Corn at Mother Jones revealed today. But, perhaps luckily for some progressives and Republicans alike, their proposed methods (and grammar) leave a bit to be desired.
One of the influential conservatives guiding the group is Virginia “Ginni” Thomas, a columnist for the Daily Caller and a tea party consultant and lobbyist. Other Groundswell members include John Bolton, the former UN ambassador; Frank Gaffney, the president of the Center for Security Policy; Ken Blackwell and Jerry Boykin of the Family Research Council; Tom Fitton, the president of Judicial Watch; Gayle Trotter, a fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum; Catherine Engelbrecht and Anita MonCrief of True the Vote; Allen West, the former GOP House member; Sue Myrick, also a former House GOPer; Diana Banister of the influential Shirley and Banister PR firm; and Max Pappas, a top aide to Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas).
The group, which meets at Judicial Watch headquarters at the same time as a longer-standing conservative meeting chaired by fiscally conservative Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Norquist — who is deemed by some members of Groundswell as being insufficiently opposed to LGBT rights and insufficiently Islamophobic — has also incorporated folks from Breitbart News (including chairman Steve Bannon and reporters Matthew Boyle and Mike Flynn), a Fox News contributor, several senior Republican Congressional aides and a former member of ALEC.
With all that conservative supposed thought leadership, one might expect their efforts to derail a progressive agenda and curtail the power of movement Republicans to surpass the banal. One would be sorely mistaken. Below, a short sampling of the more laughable ideas bandied about by group members in the documents leaked to David Corn.
1. “At its weekly meetings, the group aims to strengthen the right’s messaging by crafting Twitter hashtags.”
2. Defeat the nomination of Labor Secretary nominee Thomas Perez by convincing people that he is “is extremely antagonistic toward whites.”
3. Convince Americans that John Kerry cannot be trusted as Secretary of State because “Kerry’s son in law is an Iranian American with extensive family still in Iran.”
4. “If we were all gay illegal aliens, the party likes [sic] us.”
5. Re-brand efforts to restrict access to the polls through voter ID programs and strict scrutiny of minority voters as a “Voter Rights” campaign.
6. Win the hearts and minds of “minorities” by re-positioning themselves as “Fredrick Douglas[sic] Republican[s],” instead of tea partiers or conservatives.
7. Refer to immigration reform as “OBAMAGRATION”
9. “A 15 sec internet [YouTube ad] featuring ethnically diverse children on a merry-go-round [soft music]… Nuclear explosion.”
10. “Write articles on [sic] 4th grade level!”
[Image of John Bolton at CPAC via Gage Skidmore on Flickr, Creative Commons licensed]