The Move On Debate

The Nation's Chris Hayes's article on Move On has sparked a healthy debate on what exactly Move On is doing and whether it is effective. John Stauber critiques:

[Move On is] an important organization that is tremendously successful as a fundraiser, cheerleader and marketer for liberal Democratic causes, MoveOn. I have praise for MoveOn in what they have accomplished, but their limitations are becoming more and more glaring and in the case of the continued Democratic funding of the war in Iraq, problematic.

I criticize MoveOn for what they are not doing, and that is empowering a bottom-up, democratic, progressive movement for fundamental social and political change. I am certainly not trying to reform MoveOn, that would be impossible because they are a tightly controlled organization and there is no access from the outside to change their modus operandi. Rather, I think we all should learn from MoveOn and focus on how we can use the MoveOn style, which has now been copied by thousands of groups and candidates, to actually empower a movement.

Matt Stoller defends Move On:

Moveon is constrained, fundamentally, by what their members click on, and by the demands of relative transparency. It is also constrained by a legacy situation known as 'America'.

Moveon's members have been told for thirty years that Democrats are anti-military, that Democrat = progressive, that our politicians are good people, that NPR is a good media outlet, that Republicans are the problem, that criticism of Democrats from the left is why Democrats lose, that Karl Rove is the master of the universe, and that Democrats losing is the biggest problem in the whole world. That's all nonsense, but it is hard to unlearn lessons that have been pounded into your skull by witnessing Walter Mondale get the crap kicked out of him. Ergo, Moveon is organizing a very risk-averse group of activists. That's a legacy problem that critics of Moveon don't have to deal with and don't see. Critics can turn on a dime, Moveon has to listen to 3 million middle-aged liberal white people before they do so, and their members often don't like it when Moveon goes out on a limb in the wrong direction.

(Emphasis supplied.) Hmmm. Not much of a defense. And for that matter, it does not make much sense either. If Move On is so "risk averse," perhaps Stoller can explain the single stupidest ad by any group in recent memory - the "General Betrayus" ad. Perhaps the most famous act by Move On of all time, not only was that "General Betrayus" ad not risk averse, its was positively idiotic, reckless and deeply harmful.

Stoller includes an unintentionally funny aside:

You might ask why I'm so dismissive of criticism of Moveon. It's not that I think they do everything well, it's mostly because I think the Moveon brand is an unfair target, and not just for the right.

I do not wonder why Stoller is "dismissive" of criticism of Move On. It is what I expect from him. I am not a big fan of his political judgment. Consider his defense of Move On's "General Betray Us" ad:

[L]et's take Moveon's 'worst' moment, the Betray Us ad. In a larger context, let's remember that David Petraeus going outside the chain of command to the political sector to secure a promotion and then promoting war policies in uniform is extraordinarily threatening to the American republic. Yet there was not a peep of a response from any Democrat or progressive group. Moveon might have screwed up their ad (though I don't know that they screwed up the politics or the message), but they at least had the guts to do something. Did anyone else? Were there hearings on the politicization of the military? No. They just let this political hack in uniform trash the nonpartisan honor code of the military, in silence.

This analysis is wrong six ways to Sunday. The reason no one went after Petraeus, was precisely because the so called "risk averse" Move On used the most outrageous, offensive and stupid ad imaginable. They helped make criticism of Petraeus, on almost any terms, impossible. That is what Move On accomplished. And Stoller thinks "at least they did something." I wish they had done nothing, just like they (like Matt Stoller by the way) chose to do nothing to criticize Nancy Pelosi and Co. for their capitulation on Iraq funding.

At this point, Move On is perceived as a "crazy Left wing group" because of actions like the General Betray Us ad. And yet they want to be a DC Democratic Party player. This is the worst of both worlds -- Move On defines the Far "Left" in the public mind but acts like a conventional middle brow left leaning Democratic partisan advocacy group. They have moved the Overton Window of advocacy - to the Right.

In my view, Move On is a textbook example of how not to do online activism. As John Stauber writes, Move On provides important lessons on what NOT to do.

By Big Tent Democrat, speaking for me only

< Amnesty Int'l: Weds is Protest Day for China's Internet Censorship | The VP Choice: Do No Harm >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    You nailed that one (5.00 / 0) (#2)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:32:40 AM EST
    Move On moved right along from attempting to be helpful to the party to being somewhat destructive to the party. When the name of the group becomes synonymous with radical, and their message gets lost in the surrounding debate of "that crazy left wing group", can they be effective?

    No they can not (none / 0) (#29)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:10:09 AM EST
    Move On is a useless, if not harmful organization now.

    The best thing would be for it to disband.


    Disband? (none / 0) (#49)
    by Truth Sayer on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:43:59 AM EST
    You are a funny guy sometimes even if unintentionally so.

    You don't disband what took a decade to build. If things are broken you fix but not toss them aside. Your proposition is counter-productive and as yesterday you off critique but no way forward.

    If I were at the helm of MoveOn I would look to reorganize, reidentify, repurpose, and realize the strengths and limitations on online advocacy.

    I'd also come to the realization that even though MoveOn takes polls of their members that it is the management of MoveOn who is the major part of the problem. People get caught up with power. The management of MoveOn is no less susceptible to that than are Pols in DC or even frontpage bloggers accross the Net. If anything what MoveOn needs after repurposing etc, as I suggested above,  is to bring new faces and ideas in to shake up management. A good consulting firm would be a good start to breakup the group-think that is no doubt clouding MoveOn's leaderships collective mind.

    Personally I'd start with throwing out what has lead MoveOn astray IMO and that is 'advocacy for advocacy's sake'. Sometimes, well often really, advocacy groups and just individual blogs feel compelled to advocate 24/7 even if there is not an appropriate issue at the time or to over-advocate just to have something to do. This is what I think has led MoveOn astray with the General Betrayus ads and such.

    Simply put MoveOn has lost direction and needs a shakeup at the top. But disband? That really is a silly and not tot forward looking idea.


    The problem is that those in charge at (5.00 / 1) (#58)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:58:40 AM EST
    MoveOn are still so in love with their vision that they don't realize it isn't really accomplishing anything; the fact that they keep touting the size of their membership list, instead of their actual accomplishments, should tell you something.

    All the repurposing and reorganizing in the world would not change the brand the rest of the world has decided that MoveOn represents, and that is the reason why the only way to "repurpose" is to disband and start over.

    But - and this is a big "but" - before repurposing, there has to be a recognition that whatever MoveOn started out to be is not what it has become, a recognition that it is not "moving" at all and has become little more than a mirror in which those in charge can indulge their vanity.

    The only way that recognition comes is if the membership evaporates - perhaps when or if an alternative organization comes into being which serves the purpose MoveOn failed to.


    Perhaps (none / 0) (#75)
    by Truth Sayer on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:35:07 AM EST
    a name change is appropriate. I won't judge that for now because their has been many a brand the was rehabilitated through reorganization and good PR. In fact it is sometimes better to rehabilitate a brand name to show the public that you realize that you have gone astray and were willing to recognize that and move forward with new purpose and vigor. Again a new face in the management team could go a long way to accomplishing that. This is probably a fantasy of an example but can you imagine what an Al Gore and similar types sitting on the board or at least an advisory board would do for a repurposed and revitalized MoveOn?

    On the flip side you can't disband, i.e throw away your list of membership. And if all you do is change your name, even with a repurposed mission, people will say it is the same old organization with the same team at the helm. That would not accomplish much. So my first inclination would be to keep the name and rehabilitate it thought new focus on positive and less radical actions and a good PR outreach. An easy task? No. A worthy one? Yes. Especially when you are talking about the core of the organization being 3 million plus people with the mission of forwarding Progressive ideas. That is something you do not want to lose contact with and given that people have a right to  privacy with their email addresses to disband would dictate to toss the list. That is really unthinkable IMO.


    The D-party has moved on right (5.00 / 4) (#4)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:42:17 AM EST
    not left. With Sen. Obama at its helm, it appears to be no longer "progressive" so anything coming out this organization would seem misplaced anyway, imo.

    Yup...MoveOn should Move Along. (5.00 / 4) (#13)
    by Shainzona on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:57:09 AM EST

    I will never forgive them (and others) for jumping into the primary by its premature endorsement/attempt to influence voters on behalf of Barack Obama.

    I moved on from MoveOn from that moment forward.


    Me too (5.00 / 2) (#38)
    by Jjc2008 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:24:29 AM EST
    Like the Obama folks, Moveon has moved to the right and, imo, has shown itself to be a part of perhaps nupolitics progressive (like dkos) but not a liberal organization.  Like some of those new bloggers they are absolutists:  I have never believed and will never believe one can be both liberal and absolutist.

    Liberals are open minded enough to understand that democracy requires listening, ie being open to hearing  differing points of view and when appropriate being able to change a stance if through learning, getting new info one's pov has been altered.  Absolutists are usually conservative and have a "it's right because I believe it is right" mentality.  Sadly that mentality became a part of the nuprogressive blogosphere and still is.  Moveon became a part of the so called "netroots"...the " we have found our "American Idol" candidate" and nothing....nothing at all, even common sense that a good 50% of the left saw things differently can change them.  They are young people as set in their ways as old conservatives.

    I hope Moveon dies from lack of support.  They have ceased being for liberal ideas and change.


    Can Cut Both Ways (none / 0) (#53)
    by CoralGables on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:50:11 AM EST
    As someone in the minority that doesn't think endorsements should take place within the party during the primaries I would agree with you, but I would feel the same way if MoveOn endorsed Hillary. Within party endorsements lead to hard feelings after the primary season as you are painfully aware and take time to repair.

    MoveOn's damage with the Betray Us ad is far more pronounced since it crossed party lines and the black stain they have wrought upon themselves is likely irreparable or, as BTD suggests, completely irreparable.


    I agree with you (5.00 / 2) (#60)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:01:36 AM EST
    that it would have been just as stupid if they had endorsed Hillary at that point.

    However, I'm not sure I agree that the Betray Us ad did more long-term damage than the Obama endorsement.

    Sure, a lot of people were offended by Betray Us, but to be honest I think most Americans have forgotten about that by now.  And, did it really have a long term impact on what most Americans think about the war?  I thought that pretty strong majorities of Americans wanted the war ended before the Betray Us ad, and that they still want the war ended.  Yes, it probably made the Democrats in Congress even more weak kneed than they were anyway, but would they really have stopped funding the war even without the Betray Us ad?  We'll never know, but I'm skeptical.

    The problem with the Obama endorsement is not only that it was divisive, but that it gave fuel to the lie that Obama is a progressive.  It was personality politics, pure and simple, as opposed to issue politics.


    In an odd sort of way. . . (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:43:16 AM EST
    the "Betray Us" ad actually did betray us -- or, at least, the cause Move On presumably thought they were fighting for even if unintentionally.

    It was the sinlge most destructive act (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:03:47 AM EST
    done by anyone claiming to oppose the war in Iraq.

    Anyone who thought that ad was a good idea is not qualified to do activism of any kind.


    Since that includes. . . (5.00 / 2) (#36)
    by LarryInNYC on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:19:45 AM EST
    Anyone who thought that ad was a good idea is not qualified to do activism of any kind.

    almost 100% of so-called netroots so-called activists it's a pretty sad commentary on the state of the new left.

    I agree that the advertisement was idiotic (and said so at the time) but I'll go farther and say that Petraeus strikes me as a generally good officer who had the misfortune to reach high command level under Bush.  While Iraq was always destined to be a disaster had Petraeus and his ideas been in charge from the beginning I think there would have been a lot less bloodletting.


    Petraeus (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by Nasarius on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:52:22 AM EST
    The MoveOn ad was painfully stupid, but I refer you to Glenn Greenwald, who demonstrated pretty clearly that Petraeus is a right-wing hack, or at the very least, hopelessly optimistic and consistently wrong when it came to conditions in Iraq. That was the point that the ad cheerfully obscured underneath the childish name-calling.

    On Petraeus, who knows? (none / 0) (#39)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:25:50 AM EST
    I do know what Move On did and am firm in my belief that a more idiotic act of so called activism has never been perpetrated.

    I urged Democrats to vote Yes on the resolution to condemn Move On because Move On deserved to be condemned.


    you could almost say (none / 0) (#22)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:07:03 AM EST
    it was a kind of turning point in public opinion.

    It was indeed (5.00 / 3) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:08:26 AM EST
    Move On stopped the anti-Iraq Debacle movement in its tracks with that ad.

    I can only shake my head that anyone gives those incompetents any money.


    Agreed. I haven't for a long while. And... (5.00 / 1) (#59)
    by kempis on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:58:57 AM EST
    I asked them to take me off their mailing list. But I bet you anything I'm counted in that "three million" membership--as is anyone who has ever had contact with them.

    They are such damaged goods, especially after the embarrassing "General Betrayus" ad, that they ruin by association any affiliates.


    the Betrayus ad is the perfect example (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:52:37 AM EST
    of a movement existing in an ivory tower echo chamber environment.  they probably honestly had no idea it would be so offensive to so many people because they only talk to each other.
    unfortunately it is a pretty common problem on the left.

    yup when you listen to the cheerleader in (5.00 / 1) (#74)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:33:52 AM EST
    the mirror, you views are rather limited.

    Exactly (none / 0) (#51)
    by Truth Sayer on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:46:37 AM EST
    I expand on that upthread, but you are right on the money with your view IMO.

    In my opinion, the stupidest (5.00 / 4) (#15)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:00:18 AM EST
    thing MoveOn has done was the under-cover-of-night endorsement of Barack Obama in the primaries.

    Of course Stoller wouldn't complain about that, since his website at the time was pushing its readers to endorse Barack Obama as the head of its slate of progressive Democrates (ha!).  But it just goes to show that the organization is nothing more than a personality cult.

    the interesting t hing is (none / 0) (#19)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:05:33 AM EST
    they have become the Michael Moore of political movements so their "endorsement" is not worth much other than whatever money they raise for him.  and this election will not be decided by money.
    dont get me wrong.  I like Michael Moore but he has come to a point where he is preaching to the choir.
    and so is moveon.

    I disagree (5.00 / 2) (#23)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:07:11 AM EST
    Michael Moore does not act nor is he perceived as part of the Dem Establishment.

    He is a bombthrower, is perceived as a bombthrower and acts like one.

    Move On acts like an insider group but is perceived as bombthrowers. Move On should be disbanded.


    ok (none / 0) (#30)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:10:53 AM EST
    point taken

    I'm with BTD (none / 0) (#32)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:12:44 AM EST
    What's more is that, unfortunately, MoveOn is portrayed by the media as a bellweather of progressivism.  So, when it endorsed Obama, the media narrative was that Obama must be progressive, because MoveOn endorsed him.

    Now, that didn't really hurt Obama with independents or right wingers, because, with the exception of being offended by the Betray Us ad, they don't really care about MoveOn.  But, unfotunately, many fauxgressives actually believed the media spin, and because more convinced in their belief that Obama is actually a progressive.


    "didnt hurt Obama with independents" (5.00 / 0) (#34)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:14:55 AM EST
    not sure I agree with that.  I think its one reason that in spite of the crappiest of crappy campaigns McCain is pretty even with him.

    I think there are other reasons (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:18:10 AM EST
    why Obama and McCain are so close in the polls.

    I guess my point is that with the Obama endorsement, MoveOn basically just turned itself into an Obama 527, which pretty much neutralizes any effect it has on anything other than raising money for Obama campaign ads.  


    I imagine that since Sen. Obama (none / 0) (#42)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:30:27 AM EST
    is courting indys and repubs. he doesn't want the "progressive dem" label following him. But, again, whatever move-on says and does are "just words." Their words, however, if they continue, could hurt.

    both moore and moveon have done things (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:09:53 AM EST
    that attracted attention. i enjoyed michael's work in the past and agreed with moveon. but the fact is many people and groups begin to believe they should instruct us on everything. they can't seem to keep their powder dry for the big ones. and some like naral are more interested in the money and power contacts than their principles.

    Under cover of night endorsement? (none / 0) (#79)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:41:10 AM EST
    What?  I don't get that characterization at all, unless my memory is misleading me (which could be).  Don't I remember they solicited opinion quite widely on the blogs, asked their members to vote, and the vote came out narrowly in favor of endorsing Obama?  Maybe I'm remembering something else?

    I thought I remembered arguing strenuously against their endorsing at OpenLeft before I left the place in disgust a few weeks after that and wandered over here.


    I was talking about (none / 0) (#86)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:54:34 AM EST
    the MoveOn endorsement as being under cover of night.  Sorry if I wasn't clear.

    I remember one day all of a sudden receiving an email from MoveOn stating I had about 48 hours to vote in their endorsement poll, when there had been little to no indication that they were even planning to do such a poll.  To me, that is under cover of night.  

    The OpenLeft endorsement was, as you say, longer and more drawn out.  But, of course, they put their finger on the scales, framing it as an issue not of whether they would endorse Obama as the progressive king, but when they would.


    Well, actually (none / 0) (#97)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 03:11:22 PM EST
    I was talking about the Moveon endorsement, as it was discussed at great leangth at OpenLeft.  If OL made their own endorsement, I wasn't aware of it because I left before that happened.

    And actually, I think what I'm remembering about the argument at OL was whether Moveon should endorse at all.  It was obvious that if they endorsed, it would be Obama.  Somebody at OL, don't remember whether it's Bowers or who, is fairly high up in the MO organization and I think was asking for input on how he should vote within that org's management on the question of whether they should endorse anyone or not.

    It's all a bit hazy...

    I don't think "under cover of night" is a good characterization for something done quite openly, but I certainly take your point about the rapidity of the thing.


    It's true that the (none / 0) (#98)
    by dk on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 04:10:17 PM EST
    debate about whether MoveOn should endorse was going on for a while.  But when they did decide to do so they gave such little time to actually let the members vote, it hardly seemed legitimate.  Of course, as you point out, the leadership had already decided it would endorse Obama, so that vote was really just pro forma for them.  They just wanted some cover for a decision they already made.  As I recall, less than 10% of it's "3 million members" atually voted.

    Ok, I'll grant that "under cover of night" was a bit of poetic license.   But what's wrong with a little poetry in politics?  ;)


    BTW (5.00 / 0) (#25)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:09:19 AM EST
    I think Petraeus is a great great great Military Commander who was forced into a Political Context by a CiC who shuns difficult questions.

    Others are smarter about what works in the media tactically and strategically for political purposes.

    I disagreed with the message itself.

    The Move On Message? (5.00 / 2) (#31)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:11:52 AM EST
    There was no message.

    One thing came through - Move On accused Petraeus of treason.

    the conversation ended right there.

    A more incompetent ad could not have been produced.


    When do we finally acknowledge the obvious? (5.00 / 5) (#47)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:41:01 AM EST
    There is no real progressive movement -- certainly not in the sense that there has been a Conservative movement.

    The Conservatives knew what they wanted, and did everything they could to bring into power politicians who might bring about as much of their agenda as might be possible. Politicians were made to answer to the agenda, not the other way around.

    The one consistent thing that has become evident since 2006, and the takeover of the Democrats, is that there are no policy positions that "progressives" will absolutely insist on. They are all fungible in the face of a desire to elect a given politician, or to enable the Democratic Party.

    When Bush and the Republicans became the beneficiaries of the 9/11 effect, they immediately invested that political capital into securing whatever they could in terms of a radical right wing agenda. When the Democrats won in 2006, they did essentially nothing with their political capital. The Obama campaign is doing nothing with the political capital any Democrat should have in this election. No progressive organization is "holding Obama's feet to the fire" on any issue, however basic to their supposed mission. If Obama is elected, he will have zero mandate to promote progressive causes -- and, it would appear, he has zero motivation to pursue them.

    In short, as I said, there is no progressive movement in this country. Just large segments of the population who think being called a progressive is cool. The "movement" that styles itself as "progressive" is, in fact, a fashion statement, worn as an accessory to a soul patch or a tattoo of a hummingbird.

    I'd agree with you (none / 0) (#62)
    by rottenart on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:05:17 AM EST
    but I would also ask what you think some of these bedrock progressive principles are. I have my own ideas, but I'd like to hear yours.

    I think it's an intrinsic facet of the Left that we can't seem to agree on exactly how to enact the policy we want. Repubs have no problem because they don't do details. It's all about ideology and cute phrases. The Left, however, is trying to placate a broad swath of people, all with different ideas on what the Left should look like and do. We would rather debate than issue orders. So, we end up with the image of mealy-mouthed appeasers, and the representation to back up that image.


    Just as one obvious example, (none / 0) (#80)
    by frankly0 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:41:47 AM EST
    opposing the recent FISA legislation should certainly have been a major priority for a genuinely progressive movement.

    A robust Universal Health Care plan would be another.

    Opposing misogyny and sexism should be another.

    I've seen little evidence that these issues really matter to most people who style themselves as progressives.

    And if "progressives" can't even agree on such bedrock principles, where's a "movement" worthy of the name?


    au contraire (none / 0) (#94)
    by Nettle on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:42:47 AM EST
    Not to shamelessly toot our horn yet again, but our state-only WomenRun!SD pac says we aim to elect progressive candidates and we mean it.  Sometimes work at the state level gets set aside as not being the "real work" of a "movement" but we're still here working our butts off nevertheless.  And getting women elected to state leg in SD does matter to everyone, as we focus on those very things most progressives - or anyone - should be concerned with like stopping yet another nasty, nasty abortion ban on the ballot, increasing not only the number of women legislators but First Nation legislators (SD has 9 FNs within its borders), stopping enormous polluting projects planned across the state (uranium mining, oil pipelines from the Canadian tar-sands, a new coal plant, protection of the Missouri River), assuring reproductive and economic justice including access to EC and birthcontrol (yes, would could lose those if we don't stand up), a more just prison sentence.  So in pokey little SD we have more than our share of fights and I'm proud to say our candidates are well qualified to take on all of them if we can shift the statehouses this year - and that's possible.  We take on misogyny and racism directly, 5 of our candidates are First Nations women and not a wallflower in the bunch.  

    So, my point is, maybe we're just not seeing all that's happening on the ground.  There are places and people to cheer for and feel cheered about, way way down in the grassroots.  


    prison system, not sentence tho (none / 0) (#95)
    by Nettle on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:46:47 AM EST
    more fair sentences in SD would be a start, too.  We have over 1,000 juveniles in custody in a small populated state (kids!) and one of the highest percentages of prison populations in the country, disproportionately native and that doesn't include the number of native offenders who are charged federally in the First Nations and sent out of state to do their prison time.  

    That's a progressive issue for me, prison and court reform.  


    So, who is going to shake up the (5.00 / 1) (#76)
    by Anne on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:35:56 AM EST
    management at MoveOn?  It's not like it's a corporation with stockholders and a Board of Directors who can be replaced by a vote of the shareowners.

    This is the organization that took it upon itself to endorse a Democrat in a primary, claimed it polled the entire organization - which it did not, because I never got anything from them asking what I thought - got a response from the membership of something like less than 3%, and then had the audacity to claim that the "overwhlming" majority of their 3 million members wanted MoveOn to endorse Barck Obama.

    An organization that was truly committed to finding out what their membership wanted would have had the courage and honesty to report that they did not get enough of a response to allow them to endorse anyone, and would therefore not be doing so.

    Any organization that could so grossly manipulate the process in order to do what I suspect the "management" of MoveOn wanted to do, is not going to consider re-thinking, repurposing or reorganizing.

    Between the stupid Betrayus ad and the dishonest endorsement, they - in my opinion - irrevocably and negatively branded themselves to the point where no amount of "new and improved" will change the way people view MoveOn, or convince those who left to trust them enough to come back.

    The short answer Anne (none / 0) (#89)
    by Truth Sayer on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:04:03 AM EST
    is that it is up to the management of MoveOn themselves what they do. If they see the direction they are going is counter productive and they seek to change, grow, and be influential then they will seek change in the way they do things. If they don't then they will slowly die as we can read from the many opinions on the net today. I for one quit giving them money long ago exactly because of the things that are being discussed today.

    I have also written them letters as to my displeasure of things that they have and have not done. So the second part of the short answer is that ultimately it is up to the membership to let them know of the community displeasure and to push the leadership in a new direction. I know of many organizations who have gone astray only to repurpose because of memberships feedback.

    In the end it is all about membership because without us there is no MoveOn.


    Truth to power (5.00 / 2) (#81)
    by SeaMBA on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:43:32 AM EST
    I had great hopes that Progressive organizations would have the spine to continue to tell truth to power when Democrats came to power.  But the primaries blew that (false) hope out of the water.  Moveon lost what little remained of their credibility when they endorsed Obama.  As a matter of fact, it was that endorsement that pushed me away from Obama completely and finally.  I too asked to be removed from their membership.

    That same thing happened at lots of Progressive sites.  I don't trust them about just about anything they say any more.  Talkleft is one of the few places where I saw and see reasoned analysis.  I may not always agree, but I don't feel like they are carrying anyone's water.

    Agree with Big Tent, & even more (5.00 / 1) (#87)
    by wurman on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:55:34 AM EST
    In this election cycle (2004-08), MoveOn sent me packing--cancelled donations, abdicated, & now bad-mouth the group.

    DFA has me equally ticked off; screw the Dean brothers & their party-destroying, trash the Clinton's, kewl-kidz high school clique.  Cancelled donations, resigned, & now dis-respect the organization to friends & relatives.

    National Democratic Party: bub-bye in the dismissive sense of McGloughlin--have a nice century.

    State Democratic Party: a gigantic "abcdefu" forever & a day--toads!

    County Democratic Party: end of funds.  So-long, turkey.

    Now I'm left with no one else to trash.  The whole magilla went right-wing stoooooopid on me.  Progessive, my gluteus maximus; those are regressives--back to the late 19th century.  Dummies with agendas & deep personal issues.

    Yeah, I'm a 1960s Yellow Dog Democrat with decades of party work & support.  I feel like the boll weevil in the folk song: " jus' lookin' for a home, lookin' for a home."

    I thought the "Betray US" ad was great. (5.00 / 1) (#90)
    by MarkL on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:09:26 AM EST
    and if that alienated them from Democrats, so be it.
    You're right, they can't be both mainstream and vocal.

    If MoveOn's members were so risk averse, (none / 0) (#1)
    by andgarden on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:27:04 AM EST
    why did they raise so much money upon the release of the "Betray Us" ad? Stoller is clearly barking up the wrong tree.

    From Stoller's perspective (none / 0) (#3)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:40:13 AM EST
    Move on was doing something in a world where everyone was doing nothing.

    To see it from that perspective one has to consider that merely doing anything at all (good, bad, artfully, inartfully, nicely, quietly, loudly, whatever) would have been blasted as "far left."

    So it is what it is.

    Lots of groups (none / 0) (#7)
    by Coral on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:44:51 AM EST
    were doing something. They just didn't get media attention. MoveOn has been quite skillful in attracting the public eye.

    From Stoller's perspectiver (none / 0) (#9)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:50:29 AM EST
    Up is down.

    Well I believe that's the whole purpose (none / 0) (#18)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:04:25 AM EST
    Of the Overton Windown tactic he uses.  Only it's right and left, not up and down.

    I believe either you (none / 0) (#26)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:09:21 AM EST
    or Move On or Stoller or all of the above do not understand how the Overton Window works.

    It's all framing (none / 0) (#37)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:24:02 AM EST
    Especially as employed by Lakoff adherents, the whole idea.... ok.... let's take health care.

    You pitch a socialized system, and over time universal health care appears moderate.

    Here's the stages:


    Moveon was redefining the unthinkable and therefore redefined what was acceptable.

    Hey.  I think they failed too.  Even from that perspective.

    I'm just sharing the perspective.  I think the whole idea is bunk.

    Hate to break it to Joe Overton and Mr. Lakoff, but people arrive at their positions in life through life experiences and the values passed on to them from their parents for the most part.

    What's left I can't say.

    Framing and Overton Windown dynamics I think is the least influential of all.  People aren't going to choose Universal Health care cause of PR tactics, they're going to choose it cause the current system has failed.

    What's the one thing I heard a lot in Stoller's world.  We gotta have Kucinich cause if there's no Kucinich, that would have made John Edwards the far left.

    It's rhetorically fun.  


    Um (none / 0) (#41)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:29:14 AM EST
    "Moveon was redefining the unthinkable and therefore redefined what was acceptable.

    Hey.  I think they failed too.  Even from that perspective."

    Then what are we arguing about? But I will go further, Move On, in that time frame especially, a crucial one, made opposition to the Debacle a Far Left crazy person's position, one only people who would accuse Petraeus of treason would hold.

    the single most harmful act of "activism" I have ever seen.  


    Well I think you'd still say (none / 0) (#43)
    by Edgar08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:31:11 AM EST
    The Overton Window has a practical application if used correctly, but we do agree on the incompetence of Moveon.

    Of course the Overton Window (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:36:24 AM EST
    has a practical application. It is a shame that progressive activists seem not to understand it.

    For starters, it requires independence from the Democratic Party.


    Bingo! (none / 0) (#82)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:46:27 AM EST
    MoveOn has managed (none / 0) (#5)
    by Coral on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:42:35 AM EST
    to become a high-profile group, unlike the many marginalized groups on the left. For that, I applaud them.

    It is hard to assess the membership, as it shifts. I'm a member, as I've contributed in past, but strongly disagreed with their endorsement of Obama, so I feel a bit estranged / disillusioned at the moment.

    If I didn't know better (none / 0) (#11)
    by Lahdee on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:52:52 AM EST
    I'd think those angry white liberals don't know how to cope with anger and can't get beyond the betrayal they would feel confronting Democratic leadership. Why Petraeus? Heh.

    not sure if this is snark (5.00 / 2) (#12)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:55:54 AM EST
    but I think you are on to something.  if you want to talk about betraying us how about Pelosi and Reid?

    How about that (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by Lahdee on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:01:14 AM EST
    maybe someday someone will 'splain to me why a group so apparently dedicated to Democratic principals allows our leadership to continue their caving and a** kissing to go unchallenged.

    Because it is (none / 0) (#20)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:05:36 AM EST
    a poart of the DC Dem Establishment now, even though its image is "far Left." the worst of both worlds now.

    Move On is a useless organization now. worse than useless. Counterproductive.

    I urge everyone to NOT give any money to Move On so it fades away.


    No problem (none / 0) (#33)
    by Valhalla on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:12:52 AM EST
    No money for them from me.

    I hesitated to give money to Planned Parenthood last month because their solicitation had a bunch of blah blah about how MoveOn was helping them out with some video.  (I did give in the end but I don't want them anywhere near PP).


    it just my nature to love conspiracy (5.00 / 4) (#50)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:44:59 AM EST
    but it seems more and more to me that Obama has become the corporate, establishment candidate.  more and more he reminds me, and his media coverage reminds me, of Bush in 2000 and 2004.
    but this time MoveOn, Planned Parent Hood, other womens and minority rights groups are all being swept up and co-opted.
    I find this frightening disturbing.  

    I'm especially concerned (3.50 / 2) (#54)
    by samanthasmom on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:51:45 AM EST
    at how some women are adjusting their expectations about what it means to be "pro-choice". And NARAL seems to be supporting them. But then they are a generation that has been brought up on "Free - just $14.95 shipping and handling".

    that would be funny (5.00 / 1) (#61)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:02:30 AM EST
    if it wasnt so sad.  gays too Im afraid.  

    It's the whole (5.00 / 0) (#64)
    by pie on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:05:57 AM EST
    "You play ball with me and you'll get a seat at my table" attitude.  Lockstep support.

    I don't like it, and I doubt that most dems will play for long.


    I wish I had (none / 0) (#65)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:10:27 AM EST
    your confidence

    Isn't the refusal (5.00 / 0) (#67)
    by pie on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:19:06 AM EST
    to follow in lockstep a feature (or a bug) of democrats?  I can't believe they'll change overnight.  As you can see, many of us aren't buying into him now.

    I only hope we are enough (5.00 / 0) (#71)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:27:48 AM EST
    i think some voters who "assume" are (5.00 / 0) (#70)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:27:35 AM EST
    in for some heavy doses of reality they won't enjoy.

    ah (none / 0) (#14)
    by Lahdee on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 08:57:52 AM EST
    Betray Us Ad - Over the top
    Randi Rhodes - Over the top

    Does figure doesn't it.

    rhodes is so full of herself. (none / 0) (#21)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:05:47 AM EST
    could it be that move on suffers the same sense of things? i wonder.

    seems to be a lot of that going around (5.00 / 2) (#27)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:09:53 AM EST
    Remember James Cagney (5.00 / 0) (#44)
    by zfran on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:36:11 AM EST
    in White Heat....."top of the world, ma" "top of the world." Cagney's character then went down in flames!!!

    Ouch. (5.00 / 1) (#56)
    by pie on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:55:14 AM EST
    Of course, the problem with all this is that these are not rookie "mistakes."  They are planned and deliberate strategies meant to convince voters that November is just a inconsequential formality.

    I can see it all backfire spectacularly, and he will only have himself and his campaign to blame.


    the part about releasing what should have (2.00 / 1) (#40)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:29:04 AM EST
    been a private prayer to the media is way over the top in my view.

    I seem to be in the minority here in not buying (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Capt Howdy on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:39:22 AM EST
    that it was not intentional.  it smells.  something is just not quite right.

    the paper in israel that revealed (5.00 / 0) (#48)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:43:20 AM EST
    the information indicated that they received it from the obama campaign. nothing new there. what a shame reality is hard for some folks.

    Pie-eyed "gotcha" speculation... (4.00 / 2) (#63)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:05:57 AM EST
    ...does not constitute reality.  

    Since this topic was covered in yesterday's open tread and is not germaine to the topic at hand, I won't elaborate here.  

    Suffice to say that it appears an investigation is on-going and hopefully we will find out what really occured.  


    i read and sorry i can't quote the source (none / 0) (#68)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:22:08 AM EST
    here that the paper who revealed that information said it came from the obama campaign. ongoing investigation? this is not a congressional investigation into a terrorist plot for heavens sake. a paper printed some information and claimed to get it directly from the source. perhaps the israeli government wants to investiate, but i find that idea rather unusual.

    It is a very, very serious (none / 0) (#84)
    by gyrfalcon on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:52:09 AM EST
    matter to the Israelis, especially to religious Israelis, whether we care about it or not.

    There is a Yeshiva student, I believe, who has come forward and apologized abjectly for having taken the prayer paper.  It seems awfully unlikely that he was persuaded to do that by the Obama people, but who knows.

    There is an official investigation of some sort over there now.  Perhaps both stories are true.  Maybe the Yeshiva student gave the prayer to the newspaper, which had qualms about publishing it, and got permission from the Obama campaign before doing it.


    thanks for the update. i can see why the (none / 0) (#88)
    by hellothere on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:59:20 AM EST
    issue with the wailing wall is important to them. i did read that the paper who released it "claimed" to get it from the campaign. i never thought of it as an important story but that is in the eyes of the beholder.

    sorry btd to get off topic. i'll watch it.


    I doubt (5.00 / 1) (#57)
    by pie on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:57:25 AM EST
    you're in the minority.  As I said, his actions are deliberate.

    Capt. Howdy....agreed....it is hard to (none / 0) (#91)
    by PssttCmere08 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:14:52 AM EST
    believe any of it.  No one must be listening to obama's prayers :)

    I think it is commonly known (none / 0) (#73)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:33:34 AM EST
    that you spout foolish things very often.

    This is yet another example.

    OK (none / 0) (#83)
    by Truth Sayer on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 10:49:06 AM EST
    so according to you there are no such things as reorganization consultants and no such thing as repurposing of organizations or rebranding taught in universities around the world.



    I'm sick of people from the center ... (none / 0) (#92)
    by Robot Porter on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:39:02 AM EST
    telling the Left Wing what to do.  And that includes people both those inside and outside organizations like MoveOn.

    I'll support issues groups before Obama (none / 0) (#93)
    by Ellie on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:42:27 AM EST
    This campaign push to siphon all the "issues" money to Obama for him to dole out stinks to high heaven.

    He's already proven himself to use reproductive and other human rights cash to endear himself to no-choice, anti human rights individuals and groups (cause that's so Unity Pony.)

    Nope. Not gonna. I disagreed with MoveOn's endorsement of Obama for that very reason, and NARAL (HQ) certainly caught it from local chapters for the same hasty endorsement. That ill-considered choice only enables Obama to stuff congress with more no-choice deadbeats who are his BFFs.

    However, this is the kind of Dem thinking (from BTD) that I strenuously object to:

    They helped make criticism of Petraeus, on almost any terms, impossible. That is what Move On accomplished.

    This is patently ridiculous. Dems could have and should have gone after Petraeus. Dems just spend more time figuring out ways to justify their inaction by scapegoating the nearest available squeaky wheel.

    If all it took to silence Repugs was a dumb ad, I'd take one for the team, become one and do nothing but promote dumb ads for them.

    MoveOn should have just added fine print to the ad: "This ad might really suck, but you watch, Dems will find a way to suck more."

    My advice to MoveOn (none / 0) (#96)
    by Manuel on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 11:46:57 AM EST
    I am not sure they need to disband but very significant changes are necessary.  They should pick two or three progressive issues at a time and advocate effectively for them.  A serious look at their governance model to ensure broad consultation on the issues to pursue might also be in order.  While the "Betray us" ad was harmful and bad tactics, I don't agree that it merits doing away with the organization. We might as well ask for disbanding the Democratic party for capitulations and inffectiveness on a much larger scale than MoveOn.   Like others, I have stopped giving to MoveOn but they could get me back if they become effective again.  Moving forward will require that we stick together and offer constructive criticism to like minded people when they aren't being effective.

    Their latest ad is corny at best. (none / 0) (#99)
    by AX10 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 at 09:22:36 PM EST
    I do not see Moveon being effective for anything
    at this time.

    The best thing to do about Move On (none / 0) (#100)
    by Jake Left on Thu Jul 31, 2008 at 12:53:47 AM EST
    is move on.