Wednesday, March 02, 2005


RollingStone did an interesting piece on MoveOn's stregnths and weaknesses. A couple of graf's stood out to me:
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.

Now that Howard Dean has been named chair of the Democratic National Committee -- an ascension that MoveOn helped to engineer -- the Internet activist group is placing another high-stakes wager. It's betting that its 3 million grass-roots revolutionaries can seize the reins of the party and establish the group as a lasting political force. "It's our Party," MoveOn's twenty-four-year-old executive director, Eli Pariser, declared in an e-mail. "We bought it, we own it and we're going to take it back." The group's new goal is sweeping in its ambition: To make 2006 a watershed year for liberal Democrats in Congress, in the same way that Newt Gingrich led a Republican revolution in 1994.

For one thing, Bush didn't "whoop" Kerry, but we'll let that go. But, at this point, despite the sheer power MoveOn has, its failed to make a huge difference, in what it's sought to do. The true test will be the Dean as DNC head. I support him, and think the Dems need a change in ideas and direction, but I'm not 100% comfortable with MoveOn running the party. The change in direction/ideas is going to take some time, and since the 2004 Presidential election, I think that Senator Reid and Minority Leader Pelosi get that changes need to be made. MoveOn's voice needs to be heard, but what if the voice isn't the right one? For example:
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.

That isn't going to win elections. All of MoveOn's issues need to be addressed (voting/media/campaign/reform etc.), but are they going to sway the voters the Dems need to win? No way. If Jobs and Health care are absent, so are many moderate voters. Kerry lost Ohio/Iowa/NM because of moderate Catholic voters who are swayed by morality issues. Those are the people to appeal to. MoveOn should play a major part as organizer of events and getting the anti-GOP message out, but handing over the reins to them may be a disaster. Let them keep working at their message/direction, but don't blindly support.


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