Web Letters | The Nation

Web Letter

Christopher Hayes bravely tries to show how moveon.org remains relevant, but if the best it can do is bring out people like "Sandy Tracy in the streets with a bullhorn," we're not going to move on to a progressive future very quickly, I'm afraid.

Moveon just appealed for funds for an MTV ad tagged "Brain on Hope," intended to counteract a new McCain MTC ad. It's about as vapid and content-free as any political spot I've ever seen.

Moveon has been effective in connecting people and energizing them politically (they have energized me to learn more and occasionally take action), but by advocating at the lowest common denominator of progressivism, moveon is unable to describe where to move on to. I find them in danger of parodying themselves and becoming runon.org.

On the other hand, their new video "29 Guesses" hits hard, scrolling through the names and affiliations of twenty-nine lobbyists supposedly affiliated with John McCain. Opening with an offshore drilling rig, it shows how McCain voted on key measures of interest to the fluid energy lobby.

I think moveon, by acting as a middleman for issue-based and partisan media makers, does perform a valuable service. I wish they would lean toward more gritty content and give their members more say in what videos they decide to promote.

Geoff Dutton

Belmont, MA

Jul 29 2008 - 8:22am

Web Letter

MoveOn and other liberal/progressive organizations will have very limited long-term success until they come to accept that the Deomcratic Party leadership is almost as ethically corrupt as the party of big business. As a tidal wave of resentment over the Bush-Cheney administration's epic damage to our nation rolls forward, with public disdain for those "deciders" approaching 80 percent, the Democratic Party leadership has adopted a historically unique strategy to solidify its position as the alternative to the party of the rich and greedy. It should be summed up with the ever-so-catchy slogan: "Hey, we're not quite as corporatist as they are!"

Kind of makes you wanna just jump off the couch and conduct a voter registration rally, doesn't it? After all, the Party's designated standard-bearer, Sen. Obama, and Congressional leadership, especially representatives Pelosi and Hoyer, appear united on the following corporatist-cozy issues:

• Retroactive immunity for bloated near-monopoly telecom corporations which knowingly committed warrantless domestic spying felonies on US citizens at the behest of Bush-Cheney

• Perpetuating the absurdly fictitious notion of "safe nuclear energy" and "clean-burning coal" as global warming solutions

• Taking supposedly "divisive" Bush-Cheney impeachment "off the table"

• Managing not to indict a single Bush Administration official for contempt of Congress for refusals to testify or for perjury based on false Congressional testimony

• Perpetual corporate usury on consumer loan and other interest rates

• Refusal to cut off Iraq War funding, enabling ongoing military-industrial profiteering by Bush-Cheney corporate cronies like Halliburton

• Allowing ongoing felony torture interrogation tactics by the CIA and others with apparent impunity

The putative party of progressives may go on to win a large majority in upcoming Congressional elections, but it will only be due to the abysmally embarrassing odor of the "Republican Brand." The "Democratic Brand" actually emits an odor just as foul, one that raises the question, "Why is the funeral so overdue?"

It would appear that the soul of the Democratic Party can be saved only by something as unlikely as FDR emerging from the grave to give Pelosi, Hoyer, Reid, both Clintons and Obama the public tongue-lashing of their lives.

The USA's status as a narcissistic empire on economic and ethical life support in the critical care unit of the world's democratic republics probably needs to suffer even further for the country's own long-term health and recovery. It's no less than foolish and borderline delusional to continually hope that devout closet corporatists at the helm of the supposed party of compassionate insight will somehow "see the light" after just a little more electoral success.

Unless the party's more conscientious leaders--like Feingold, Kucinich, Wexler, Boxer, Murray, Dorgan, Harkin and Durbin--find a way to shame their fellow Democratic office-holders into being accountable to their non-corporate constituents, they should take steps to abandon what is no longer a party of the people and come together to form a more conscience-imbued, courageous party--call it Greens, Progressive, Laborers, anything but something it's not, like Democratic.

In the meantime, this lifetime supporter of Democratic ideals--and I suspect many other like-minded persons--will be giving not another penny to the national party, donating only to individual candidates whose positions of conscience merit support, such as Cindy Sheehan.

Robert A. Ethington

Spokane, WA

Jul 27 2008 - 3:29pm

Web Letter

It's hard to see that Moveon.org has moved the ball even an inch in ten years. We have moved relentlessly forward towards fascism with only mild media dustups to show as any kind of resistance.

Moveon.org simply fails to make the connection that the two parties are--under the blankets--just one party wearing two different-colored jerseys. If the betrayals of the Democratic Party leadership after the 2006 elections doesn't amply demonstrate this, nothing will.

Protesting on websites and in e-mails has proved to be a pointless exercise, and did not fulfill the promise of the 'net being a democratizing agent. It is, rather, simply a funnel to get more money into the same old tired hands of Donkeys and Elephants.

If Moveon.org could have accomplished something meaningful in the ten years, we would now have three or four candidates in the presidential election, not two more of the same old, same old.

Mark Deneen

Ferndale, CA

Jul 19 2008 - 10:03am

Web Letter

Move On is closest to an "independent" progressive political organizing alternative we have now, not counting the Green Party and various other ineffective left/progressive pseudo-organizations. I think its success is both due to the ability to secure financial resources and attract progressives not comfortable with any of the "isms" out there; and these two aspects are probably related. It has walked a fine line between supporting Democrats and criticizing them when it finds itself at odds with them on certain policies. It has made good use of the Internet in organizing for/against issues. But what is not clear is how it is playing in Peoria!

One of the problems progressives have not figured out is what to do with the vast majority of regular folks who remain faithful to the kind of lifestyle/ideology Senator Obama referred to once (and got beat up for it), an objective economic, social, cultural and political reality. These are the folks who, even with the historically low approval rating of George Bush, are giving McCain the kind of support he is getting, and may yet cause problem for Obama in November.

It would be interesting to see how Move On approaches, if it does so at all, perhaps the most difficult challenge for the progressive, i.e., making inroads into the vast hinterland and not just the metropolitan areas of the two coasts.

M. Siddique

Chevy Chase, MD

Jul 18 2008 - 12:22pm

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