Tag Archive: MoveOn

Tea Party and MoveOn.Org: Perfect Together?

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Leonard Lance at Tea Party event Aug. 10, 2011

Last night, I attended a town meeting hosted by the Morris County Tea Party, featuring Congressman Leonard Lance. Yup, I was in the room with Tea Party People–and I survived.  You should try it yourself –it was a lot of fun.

Not only was I there, but nearly half the room was filled with MoveOn.org folks.  Strangely enough, but for widely different reasons, these folks agreed on one thing: they were both upset with Congressman Lance’s yes vote on the debt ceiling deal. One side thought it went way too far; the other side thought it went not far enough.

After a moment of silence for the 31 Navy SEALs who lost their lives last weekend, Lance began his presentation with a PowerPoint display explaining the debt ceiling deal:  How the agreement was to appoint a super committee of 12 members of Congress, six Democrats, six Republicans, six senators and six congressmen. This super committee would be charged with making suggestions of over $1 trillion in cuts by January of 2012.    If, however, this super committee cannot come to an agreement on cuts, then there would be a series of draconian cuts to everything including military spending.  This seems to be the sword of Damocles hanging over the heads of the conservative Republicans to at least try to be reasonable, and come to a good decision about cuts.

After Lance’s presentation, questions came from the standing room only crowd of almost 250. I must say that I was very impressed that the congressman took an equal number of questions from both tea party members and MoveOn.org members–I did not expect that to happen –considering that this was a Morris County Tea Party sponsored event.

 

What happens in Vegas

NetrootsNation

Hello from beautiful, baked Las Vegas and Netroots Nation!

Yesterday was a wash in terms of getting anything out the door. There are 2,000 bloggers and politicians here at the swanky Rio Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, but yesterday so much pull on the bandwidth that it crashed the internet here … for hours.

Everybody here is working on strengthening the progressive movement. It’s a buzzy place.

The first big session of the day yesterday was Primaries Matter: Reclaiming the Democratic Party. Bill Halter the big draw; his narrow loss in the Arkansas Senate Primary last month to incumbent Blanche Lincoln was the kind of galvanizing opportunity that drew in activists from all over the country, showing up to buttress the drive for change of the locals on the ground. Redefining what the Dems are all about via the choice of a forward-thinker over a moderate.

Halter was great, giving credit for making his campaign viable quickly. He outlined how roots groups massed – superquick – to make his run viable. He declared March 1. By end of day March 2, he’d raised $1 million on the strength of asks made by DFA, PCCC & MoveOn. Later, field staff and organizers materialized from all over the country.  

And the drivers of Halter’s soar were the rest of the panel – Arshad Hasan who runs DFA, Adam Green (PCCC), Ilyse Hogue (MoveOn), Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, and the CM for Elaine Marshall’s Senate .

Adam, who used to be the Communications Director of the NJDSC, talked about how progressives were viewed by the Party as rabblerousers, clueless complainers who didn’t realize how much their desire to shift the party progressive was going to cost Democratic seats (a theme echoed in Washington Post’s coverage of the session.

That got big laughs. The room was packed with people who make things happen for candidates the infrastructural party ignores, or opposes. They’re primarying candidates who deserve challenge. The mother of all is Ned Lamont’s meteoric (winning) primary challenge to Joe Lieberman, which gave courage to the entire class of 2006 Dem congressional candidates to come out against the Iraq War.

Halter said the only thing he’d have done differently in his race was getting in earlier – he had only a 77-day window (but lost by only 3 points). Halter’s campaign had the life, the drive, viable $$ (credit netroots) – he was the stronger candidate. (Our old friend Steve Kornacki does a great job explaining why the wrong candidate won this race – at salon.com)But Lincoln’s had the power of incumbency, the infrastructural party (which should have been with Halter, if it was smart) and Bill Clinton who used his considerable powers for her. On this, Adam Green was definitive:

It’s tough to see someone you’ve believed in betray you in a big way. We need to pick our heroes. . . . I think it would be sad if we went through this entire conference without calling out Bill Clinton for what he did.

More later. Met up with Adam L aka clammyc this morning, and we’re hitting up sessions and meetings.  

What happens in Vegas

NetrootsNation

Hello from beautiful, baked Las Vegas and Netroots Nation!

Yesterday was a wash in terms of getting anything out the door. There are 2,000 bloggers and politicians here at the swanky Rio Las Vegas Hotel & Casino, but yesterday so much pull on the bandwidth that it crashed the internet here … for hours.

Everybody here is working on strengthening the progressive movement. It’s a buzzy place.

The first big session of the day yesterday was Primaries Matter: Reclaiming the Democratic Party. Bill Halter the big draw; his narrow loss in the Arkansas Senate Primary last month to incumbent Blanche Lincoln was the kind of galvanizing opportunity that drew in activists from all over the country, showing up to buttress the drive for change of the locals on the ground. Redefining what the Dems are all about via the choice of a forward-thinker over a moderate.

Halter was great, giving credit for making his campaign viable quickly. He outlined how roots groups massed – like lightning – to make his run viable. He declared March 1. By end of day March 2, he’d raised $1 million on the strength of asks made by DFA, PCCC & MoveOn. Later, field staff and organizers materialized from all over the country.  

And the drivers of Halter’s soar were the rest of the panel – Arshad Hasan who runs DFA, Adam Green (PCCC), Ilyse Hogue (MoveOn), Markos Moulitsas of DailyKos, and the CM for Elaine Marshall’s Senate .

Adam, who used to be the Communications Director of the NJDSC, talked about how progressives were viewed by the Party as rabblerousers, clueless complainers who didn’t realize how much their desire to shift the party progressive was going to cost Democratic seats (a theme echoed in Washington Post’s coverage of the session.

That got big laughs. The room was packed with people who make things happen for candidates the infrastructural party ignores, or opposes. They’re primarying candidates who deserve challenge. The mother of all is Ned Lamont’s meteoric (winning) primary challenge to Joe Lieberman, which gave courage to the entire class of 2006 Dem congressional candidates to come out against the Iraq War.

Halter said the only thing he’d have done differently in his race was getting in earlier – he had only a 77-day window (but lost by only 3 points). Halter’s campaign had the life, the drive, viable $$ (credit netroots) – he was the stronger candidate. (Our old friend Steve Kornacki does a great job explaining why the wrong candidate won this race – at salon.com)But Lincoln’s had the power of incumbency, the infrastructural party (which should have been with Halter, if it was smart) and Bill Clinton who used his considerable powers for her. On this, Adam Green was definitive:

It’s tough to see someone you’ve believed in betray you in a big way. We need to pick our heroes. . . . I think it would be sad if we went through this entire conference without calling out Bill Clinton for what he did.

DCCC Targets Lance for the first time

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Radio ads targeting 28 Republican congressmen – including freshman Leonard Lance – hit the airwaves tomorrow morning, courtesy of Rep. Chris Van Hollen and the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee. The ads call out some of vulnerable representatives who voted against President Obama’s economic recovery plan, which got zero votes from House Republicans but passed anyway – 244 to 188. Credit the House’s Democratic majority for that.

Lance’s vote – siding with his party in a big, splashy show of unity against more responsible efforts to solve the country’s problems – could absolutely have been predicted. And it’s a damned shame that the same DCCC didn’t see that coming and help Linda Stender drive the point home that Lance was likely to vote with the GOP against forward movement, which he now has. But I digress…

The published text of the ads is rough stuff, calling out the congressmen by name on stations that serve their Districts, and accusing each of prioritizing things DCCC thinks will resonate with voters, over needed components in the economic recovery plan.  Choosing to bail out banks but opposing tax breaks for the bulk of American voters. Backing expenditures for new schools in Iraq, but failing to support the plan’s spending on schools at home. Benefitting themselves from healthcare at taxpayers’ expense, while children go uninsured. The ad targetting Lance and 9 of his colleagues is about job creation:

Did you know Congressman [Leonard Lance] voted against economic recovery to immediately create and save over [insert number here] [New Jersey] jobs? Times are tough, tell [Leonard Lance] to put families before politics.

Obama Consolidating Netroots Support

MoveOn.org will endorse Barack Obama after their members picked him over Hillary Clinton by a margin of 70.4% to 29.6%. [MoveOn email]:

Something big is clearly happening. A few weeks ago, MoveOn members we surveyed were split. But with John Edwards bowing out, progressives are coming together. […]

To be clear, we won’t always agree with all of Obama’s positions. And MoveOn members said overwhelmingly that, regardless of who wins the Democratic nomination, we’ll work hard to win the White House in 2008. Whatever happens in the primary, we’ll push the Democratic nominee to campaign progressively and then we’ll push them to fulfill their promises after they win.

MoveOn tells Blue Jersey that they have over 88,000 members in New Jersey alone.

Standing Against The Best In Our Tradition

“There are those who are seeking to equate dissent with disloyalty.  It’s a dark day in our nation when high level authorities will seek to use every method to silence dissent.  Something is happening and people are not going to be silent.  The truth must be told.  And I say that those who are seeking to make it appear that anyone who opposes the war…is a fool or a traitor or an enemy of our soldiers is a person who has taken a stand against the best in our tradition.” 
       – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s sermon, “Why I Oppose the Vietnam War”

Two weeks ago, MoveOn.Org placed an ad in the New York Times that questioned the ability of General David Petraeus to give an honest and accurate accounting of the war in Iraq to Congress and to the American people.  By using a word play based on the General’s name, the ad sought to put the fact of the matter in no uncertain terms.  A person can either pursue the war in Iraq by falling into line with President Bush’s failed policies, or they can take a courageous stand against the noise machine of the Republican Party.  MoveOn.Org decided to take that stand.

The reaction from the right was as quick as it was predictable.  Unable to counter any of the fact-based claims in the text of the ad, Republicans began claiming that MoveOn.Org was attacking the character of Bush’s General.  Having run ads in 2004 that attacked the character and sacrifice brave Democratic candidates who served with honor and dignity in Vietnam, the Republican Party lashed out at MoveOn.Org for character assassination and accused them of undermining our soldiers abroad.  In a move that must have made Karl Rove smile from his armchair, they then attacked every Democrat in Congress for supporting MoveOn.Org.

There are two honorable actions to take when attacked – defend yourself or counter-attack.  Congressional Democrats chose neither.  Instead, their leadership allowed a Republican amendment to be introduced, debated, and passed that attacked MoveOn.Org for speaking the truth to power.  The reasons for doing so are easy enough to understand – they wanted political cover; they wanted to make a shield for election year attacks.  Given the option of standing tall and fighting for the will of the American people and the lives of our soldiers or capitulating to a weak and corrupt minority party, Democrats caved in.  They proved Republicans were right to call them “weak-willed” and to say “Democrats stand for nothing”.

Here in New Jersey, both of our Senators stood up and were counted.  In the House, only Congressmen Pallone, Holt, and Payne did so.  Congressmen Andrews, Pascrell, Rothman, and Sires all cowered under the threat of the Republican noise machine and voted to censure MoveOn.Org for telling the truth.  It’s a sad day when Democrats vote against free speech and truth.  The even sadder truth is that none of these Democrats is vulnerable to attack from Republicans.  But their actions have made sure that MoveOn.Org cannot be as effective a weapon for building a broader and stronger Democratic majority during the next election cycle.  They have not only exposed their own cowardice, but have hamstrung one of their greatest allies.

These Democrats must understand that they were not elected to capitulate.  They were not elected to sell out our values.  They certainly weren’t elected to assist the Republican death machine in its inexorable march to annihilate innocent Iraqis and to leave American soldiers to die as their life’s blood stains the streets of Bagdad.  They must understand that this is a stain against their name that will not easily be erased.  They must understand that, when they come to us with their hat in their hands, they will be asked to account for their actions.  And they must understand that no easy apology or mea culpa will suffice.

They must understand that we are in a war, and they must choose sides.  MoveOn.Org was courageous enough to do so.  Today, we stand up for them and with them.  And we heap shame and scorn upon those too reticent, too moderate, or just plain too chicken to do the same.

“Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’ Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’- Vanity asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’- But, conscience asks the question, ‘Is it right?’  And there comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but one must take it because one’s conscience tells one that it is right.”
       – Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.