The Crazy World Of Arthur Brown – Fire Video — DNC promises ‘rain of hellfire’ — Republicans steal Barack Obama’s internet campaigning tricks — Michelle Obama on ObamaCare: This is very much a women’s issue — Michelle Obama: US Health Care Is ‘Unacceptable’ Video — Hari Sevugan speaks — Nancy Pelosi Gets Weepy Video — Profile: Hari Sevugan


I am the god of hell fire, and I bring you
Fire, I’ll take you to burn
Fire, I’ll take you to learn
I’ll see you burn

You fought hard and you saved and earned
But all of it’s going to burn
And your mind, your tiny mind
You know you’ve really been so blind
Now ‘s your time, burn your mind
You’re falling far too far behind
Oh no, oh no, oh no, you’re gonna burn

Fire, to destroy all you’ve done
Fire, to end all you’ve become
I’ll feel you burn

You’ve been living like a little girl
In the middle of your little world
And your mind, your tiny mind
You know you’ve really been so blind
Now ‘s your time, burn your mind
You’re falling far too far behind

DNC promises ‘rain of hellfire’

Politico – By MIKE ALLEN | 9/18/09

The increasingly aggressive Democratic National Committee on Friday launched a new “Call ’Em Out” website targeting prominent Republicans for statements they have made about President Barack Obama’s health reform plans.

“Help debunk the outrageous lies and misinformation about health reform,” the site says.

DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan said: “The message to opponents of change who would lie or misrepresent the truth should be clear. We are going to respond forcefully and consistently with the facts, and you will no longer be able to peddle your lies with impunity. Through tools like ‘Call ‘Em Out,’ you will be met with a rain of hellfire from supporters armed with the facts and you will be held to account.”

The website is part of a larger, more aggressive approach taken by the White House through the DNC to push back against smears, distortions and misinformation. It’s taken various forms, including hitting back on Republican Medicare attacks with a TV ad that ran nationally and in 10 targeted members’ districts.

The DNC is focusing more on real-time response, with 18 e-mails on the night of the president’s speech to Congress and 10 real-time responses on White House czars on Wednesday.

“Every Republican that goes on TV or gets on a conference call or steps up to a mic is getting fact-checked,” a Democratic official said.

The new site’s opening target is Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. A button urges visitors to “CALL PAWLENTY,” then gives his office number at the Minnesota Capitol.

One of the tools is a Twitter button that can automatically tweet: “Hey @timpawlenty, quit lying about health reform. … #CallEmOut.”

“Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty recently claimed that health reform will lead to death panels — a claim so thoroughly debunked that [‘Morning Joe’ host] Joe Scarborough called him on his lies,” the site says. “And Pawlenty’s extreme behavior didn’t stop there. Watch the video, then take action to call him out.”

Alex Conant, a Pawlenty adviser, replied: “Seriously, why is the DNC’s attack squad so obsessed with T-Paw recently? The DNC’s attacks are a transparent attempt to avoid a serious discussion with Governor Pawlenty and other Republicans over how to fix health care. Rather than blindly trying to undermine Pawlenty, national Democrats could learn something from his record of balancing budgets and reforming health care without raising taxes.”


Fox News Ad Draws Protests

Republicans steal Barack Obama’s internet campaigning tricks

Since their election disaster, the right has used new media to gather strength, culminating in last weekend’s huge protest, Ed Pilkington, 18 September 2009

Erik Telford remembers all too vividly the dark cloud hanging over him on 5 November 2008, the day after Barack Obama was elected president. For the internet strategist at the rightwing campaign group Americans for Prosperity, election night was a double disaster. Not only had Obama won the votes, he had outwitted his Republican opponents in his use of new media tricks such as email recruiting and social networking.

“The left was far ahead of us. The efforts that Obama put into internet campaigning and what he accomplished were extraordinary,” Telford says.

That cloud hung over the conservative movement for many weeks. A sense of crisis set in, he recalls, with bloggers, strategists and Republican politicians scrambling in different directions.

“There was a real lack of leadership, a lot of confusion.”

But then, almost imperceptibly, something started to happen. Telford noticed Google groups popping up, listserves on which people would send angry emails back and forth. The anger was stimulated by Obama’s $800bn stimulus package that was introduced five days into his presidency.

With very little leadership, the Google groups began to co-ordinate their response. People took on the onerous job of poring over the bill’s hundreds of pages of small print in search of wasteful spending, following the Wikipedia model of crowd-sourcing.

They began to uncover items that looked suspicious or ridiculous: electric golf carts, snow machines, a crime museum in Las Vegas. They passed the examples on to mainstream media outlets, notably the new face of the right, snake-tongued Glenn Beck of Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel, who used it as ammunition to attack the young administration. The anger grew. When Americans for Prosperity put up its own petition against the bill on its website, it had 500,000 signatures within days.

“It was a huge wake-up call to all of us,” Telford says. “On the right, people had known new media was important but they were still hesitant about it. After the stimulus experience, no one was left in any doubt about its power.”

Less than eight months later, the seed planted in those anti-Obama Google groups has burst into flower on the streets of Washington. Tens – or even perhaps hundreds – of thousands of livid demonstrators filled the capital, brandishing banners saying “Don’t tread on me!” and “Obamunism” – a reference to the president’s perceived socialist or even communist tendencies. “Liar! Liar!”they shouted, echoing the outburst of a Republican congressman to Obama’s face last week.

The noise of that startling crowd could be heard rumbling on throughout this week. Democrats rushed to dismiss the display of rightwing force as the work of mavericks and extremists. Jimmy Carter upped the ante by suggesting the vitriol was racist: many people in America, he said, believed a black man should not be president.

For Telford, though, dismissing the eruption as extremist or racist was to miss the point. For him, the 9/12 rally marked the moment at which conservative America finally embraced the new world and recovered its confidence. He believes the movement is now close to catching up with the Democrats in terms of internet savviness; in some ways he contends it has even surpassed them, particularly on Twitter, where much of the heavy lifting behind the so-called “tea parties” against Obama’s tax and other policies is being done.

Matt Kibbe, who heads FreedomWorks, a national conservative group that led the push behind last Saturday’s rally, goes further. He says that the movement has stolen from Obama the techniques he used to such effect last year and is now redeploying them as a stick with which to beat the president.

When Obama beat Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primaries, FreedomWorks studied how he did it and then copied him. They set up a ning site, a Facebook-like platform that allows members to talk to each other without having to go through the parent body. The result was explosive…

…Just how far the movement can go to lift the Republican party out of its doldrums and re-energise it in Congress will become clear next year with the first major electoral test of the Obama presidency: the mid-term elections. According to Peter Brown, a pollster at Quinnipiac University, Republicans tend to turn out in higher numbers in off-year elections, which makes the tea parties highly relevant. “Enthusiasm matters: the more angry people are, the more likely they are to vote. All this activism and demonstrating is not necessarily the end for Obama, but it’s certainly not good news.”

The historical parallel on everybody’s mind is 1994, when Clinton’s young presidency was bloodied by Republicans taking over the House of Representatives for the first time in 40 years. It is perhaps no coincidence that the most popular conservative on Twitter, with almost a million followers, is Newt Gingrich, architect of that same revolution.

All of which makes Kibbe think that those Democrats who try to pigeonhole the tea parties as a crank phenomenon are playing into the anti-Obama movement’s hands. “The Democrats who want to marginalise this movement are making a big mistake. They are insulting the people who they should be courting, and every time they do that our numbers seem to double in size.”


Michelle Obama on ObamaCare: This is very much a women’s issue

Hot Air:  by Allahpundit, September 18, 2009

“The status quo is unacceptable,” she says, ignoring the fact that a near-majority thinks the status quo is very much acceptable indeed when the alternative is ObamaCare. Ah well. This is, as predicted, the “soccer-mom sell,” aimed squarely at women who might otherwise balk at the plan’s pricetag and/or their suspicions that their families will do worse with universal health care than without it. And yes, before you ask, of course there was a heartwarming anecdote about children to cement the emotional appeal. Less heartwarming is her prior involvement in “patient dumping” when she advised a hospital in Chicago. America’s forgotten but the boss hasn’t:

While a top executive at the hospital, Mrs. Obama helped engineer the plan to offload low-income patients with non-urgent health needs. Under the Orwellian banner of an “Urban Health Initiative,” Mrs. Obama sold the scheme to outsource low-income care to other facilities as a way to “dramatically improve health care for thousands of South Side residents.” The program guaranteed “free” shuttle rides to and from the outside clinics.

In truth, it was old-fashioned cost-cutting and favor-trading repackaged as minority aid. Clearing out the poor freed up room for insured (i.e., more lucrative) patients. If a Republican had proposed the very same program and recruited black civic leaders to front it, Michelle Obama and her grievance-mongering friends would be screaming “RAAAAAAAAACISM!” at the top of their lungs…

Following the Adams incident, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) blasted Mrs. Obama and Mr. Axelrod’s grand plan. The group released a statement expressing “grave concerns that the University of Chicago’s policy toward emergency patients is dangerously close to ‘patient dumping,’ a practice made illegal by the Emergency Medical Labor and Treatment Act (EMTALA)” – signed by President Reagan, by the way – “and reflected an effort to ‘cherry pick’ wealthy patients over poor.”

Hari Sevugan speaks

Powerline: Posted by Scott, August 8, 2009

Americans of all stripes are asking legitimate questions about the Democrats’ move toward an unprecedented takeover of our health care system. Despite the peaceful expressions of resistance to the takeover occurring around the country, the Obama administration and its congressional supporters such as Nancy Pelosi have used their offices to stigmatize citizens exercising their right to petition their elected representatives.

Condemning these citizens as mobs, the Obama administration apparently seek to prepare the public for the cracking of heads we have seen by administration supporters at townhall events this week. While Obama supporters dispatched union thugs to act like brownshirts of yore, Obama’s minions at the DNC released a statement yesterday announcing its “REACTION [sic] to the [purported] use of Nazi symbolism from the right wing.” Among the alleged malefactors accused by the DNC of fomenting Nazism was House Minority Whip Eric Cantor, the House’s only Jewish Republican.

Thus speaks DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan: “It’s disgusting that rather than condemning this hate filled symbolism and mob activity, the highest echelons of the Republican party from Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck on down, are encouraging it — and that the likes of Michael Steele and Eric Cantor are fanning the flames of this is reprehensible.” Sevugan alleges that Rep. Cantor et al. are responsible for the “repeated use of Nazi symbolism at community meetings by the Republican incited mob…” What a crock, all the way around.

Sevugan’s expertise in Nazi symbolism, incidentally, does not extend to Hitler’s first name. He misspells it “Adolph.”

We sought a response to the DNC statement from Rep. Cantor, but it turns out he could not be reached for comment. He was touring the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem at the same moment that the DNC was defaming him at home. If there is anyone with a sense of decency among the powers that be among the Democrats, he should secure an apology from the DNC to Rep. Cantor.

UPDATE: One sign of Sevugan’s project in the press release is the treatment he accords Rush Limbaugh. Sevugan singles out Rush as the de facto leader of the Republican Party. I should have noted that Rush Limbaugh responded to the crock peddled by Sevugan and other Obama minions on his show yesterday. Jonah Goldberg apably dispatched Pelosi’s version of the party line yesterday as well, and Mark Steyn gets a piece of the action today.

Hari Sevugan

Current Position: National Press Secretary and head of rapid response at the Democratic National Committee (since March 2009)

Sevugan was born in Madras, India in 1974. Two years later, his parents moved to Glendale Heights, Ill., a western suburb of Chicago, where his father worked in marketing and his mother was a small-business owner. He went to the University of Illinois in Champaign, Ill., and studied political science. But when he graduated, Sevugan didn’t immediately enter politics. Instead, he worked as a middle-school teacher in New York.

Sevugan said he loved teaching middle school because the students were old enough to have developed personalities but young enough to be gullible and fun to joke around with. He once dyed his hair blond in front of the entire school after losing a bet with his students. “It was very rewarding,” Sevugan said. But after two years, he became frustrated with the bureaucracy outside of the classroom. “I thought a greater way to make a difference would be through a policy role,” Sevugan interview with Hari Sevugan on March 26, 2009

He changed course and attended Northwestern University Law School. After graduation, he worked for a few years for the law firm of Neal, Gerber and Eisenberg in Chicago.. In 2004, Sevugan was recruited to work on his first political campaign: Illinois Comptroller Daniel Hynes’ unsuccessful run against Barack Obama in the 2004 Democratic primary during for Senate.

From there, Sevugan hit the road, heading from campaign to campaign. He was recruited to work as research and policy director for Kentucky Governor Daniel Mongiardo’s (D) 2004 run against Sen. Jim Bunning (R-Ky.). Sevugan said that was a fun, intense campaign because they were on a shoestring budget in the  Republican state. The Democratic challenger had  no direct mail and aired just two television ads. The small staff allowed Sevugan to work on all facets of the campaign. Mongiardo lost, but closed the gap in the final few months of the campaign.

Sevugan had better luck when he joined  Lt. Gov. Tim Kaine’s (D-Va.) successful 2005 gubernatorial campaign
as policy director. It was the opposite of Mongiardo’s campaign: high-profile, national attention and well-funded. After Kaine’s victory, Sevugan went north to Maryland where he served as communications director for then-Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D) in his successful run for Maryland governor, scoring another high-profile race.

Dodd and Obama Presidential Campaigns

From there, Sevugan joined the presidential campaign of Sen. Christopher J. Dodd (D-Conn.), another relatively underfunded enterprise in which the senator was a distinct underdog. But Dodd got some attention for moving to Iowa, home of the first-in-the-nation caucuses, and ran a cyber-savvy effort  that utilized Twitter, YouTube and blogs. But Dodd’s campaign never gained traction and the lawmaker pulled out of the race shortly after losing the Iowa caucuses.

When Dodd dropped out, Sevugan, who is a big Cubs fan and cites Bill Simmons as his favorite writer, returned to  Chicago, where he joined Barack Obama’s presidential campaign. Initially, he received the “Hillary Clinton Account,” and was in charge of rapid response against the former first lady. After the primary, he took aim at GOP nominee and vice presidential candidate Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Alaska Gov.Sarah Palin (R).

After Obama won, Sevugan continued to press the Democratic political agenda as national press secretary for the DNC. “You’re still trying to accomplish the same thing, which is get your message out and explain to people why it’s better to listen to us,” Sevugan said. “The way I always ran my policy shops was I felt policy was very much a tool for communicating your message.”

“In a news cycle that’s as fast-paced as the one we’re currently living in, getting your message out as quickly as possible is critical,” Sevugan interview with Hari Sevugan on March 26, 2009 Sevugan works with a large DNC team dedicated to getting out the message of the day, or in many cases the message of the hour.

On Sevugan’s first day with the 2008 Obama presidentialcampaign, the Tennessee Republican Party released a video highlighting Michelle Obama’s comments that she was proud of America “for the first time in my adult life.” The video became a rallying cry for Republicans who accused the future first lady of being unpatriotic.

Almost immediately, Sevugan called the video “shameful,” saying the GOP’s “smear tactics” would fail and challenging the GOP to take on Obama, not his wife.Mooney, Alexander, “Michelle Obama takes heat from Tennessee GOP,”, May 15, 2008 Nonetheless, the first lady seemed to tone down her rhetoric following the misstep and began to emphasize issues like outreach to veterans’ wives.

New Media

Rapid response often involves more than a creative quote or perfect jab. The press team at the DNC closely monitors the cable news channels and YouTube videos and is ready to blast clips to reporters and blogs, the go-to outlets for rapid response teams. Within an hour after Republicans released their proposed budget for 2009, for instance, Sevugan had released a statement hitting the budget for containing no numbers. He  also sent out a video clip of a reporter questioning the budget for its lack of numerical heft.

Sevugan is familiar with new media in campaign settings (when Sevugan was his communications director, Dodd was using Twitter to promote his presidential campaign back in 2007) and has a good relationship with bloggers. In fact, in 2009, the DNC expanded its regional press offices to include new media and bloggers, which they consider an important part of the rapidly-changing media landscape.


Related Links:

Fox Video:  The Players: Hari Sevugan

CBS News:  Unplugged: Are Town Hall Protests “Manufactured”?

Facebook:  Hari Sevugan

Hot Air: Video: Obama WH “biggest bunch of crybabies”

The Strata-Sphere:  Riots Break Out, Proving Pelosi Fears

Redstate:  Hari Sevugan and the DNC are Fools or Liars


Michelle Malkin:  One woman Michelle Obama will not mention