Wednesday, March 02, 2005

The MoveOn Touch.

Rolling Stone reveals how shockingly unsuccessful MoveOn.org can be when they put their mind to it. Read the entire article, but here are a few paragraphs I thought important.
They signed up 500,000 supporters with an Internet petition -- but Bill Clinton still got impeached. They organized 6,000 candlelight vigils worldwide -- but the U.S. still invaded Iraq. They raised $60 million from 500,000 donors to air countless ads and get out the vote in the battle-ground states -- but George Bush still whupped John Kerry. A gambler with a string of bets this bad might call it a night. But MoveOn.org just keeps doubling down.

But many party insiders worry that an Internet insurgency working hand in hand with a former Vermont governor will only succeed in pushing the party so far to the left that it can't compete in the red states. "It's electoral suicide," says Dan Gerstein, a former strategist for Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign. MoveOn committed a series of costly blunders last fall: It failed to remove two entries that compared Bush to Hitler from its online ad contest, and its expensive television spots barely registered in the campaign. One conservative commentator, alluding to MoveOn's breathless promotion of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, branded the group the "MooreOn" wing of the party. All of which leaves political veterans wondering: As MoveOn becomes a vital part of the Democratic establishment, will its take-no-prisoners attitude marginalize the party and strengthen the Republican stranglehold on power?

Boyd [MoveOn co-founder] is a whip-smart man with a deep passion for populist democracy. But speaking to him about MoveOn's constituency is like speaking to someone who spends all day in an Internet chat room and assumes the rest of the world is as psyched as he and his online compatriots are about, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He seems to conflate MoveOn with the rest of America. "We see ourselves as a broad American public," he says. "We assume that things that resonate with our base resonate with America."

So who is MoveOn? Consider this: Howard Dean finished first in the MoveOn primary. Number Two wasn't John Kerry or John Edwards -- it was Dennis Kucinich. Listing the issues that resonate most with their membership, Boyd and Blades cite the environment, the Iraq War, campaign-finance reform, media reform, voting reform and corporate reform. Somewhere after freedom, opportunity and responsibility comes "the overlay of security concerns that everybody shares." Terrorism as a specific concern is notably absent. As are jobs. As is health care. As is education.
Can you say "echo-chamber?" As suspected, swimming only in a pool of like-minded dimwits and agressively pursuing a strategy of remaining unchallenged and oblivious to what's happening outside the Bay Area, MoveOn can continue their decent into irrelevancy without pause.

I think one of a couple things will ultimately happen. MoveOn claims to own the party and in small part, they do. The most visible party players side like Kennedy, Dean, Boxer and Shumer side with MoveOn's radical positions and even have a tendency to use "Hitler," "evil," "Halliburton," and "Bush LIED" in ways that satisfy MoveOn. The party will eith go ever further left, or like the petulent children they are, withdraw support from the Democrats, back 3rd party whack-jobs out of protest and finally determine they, too, haven't been "effective enough getting their message out," paying no attention to the reality that no matter how you package a tird, it's still a tird.

Giving to MoveOn is like giving money to a crack head. You really hope they'll do something good with it, but you can be pretty sure they won't.

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