By Jerry D. Rose
An article by Tom Hayden appeared today expressing Hayden’s extreme displeasure with MoveOn.org for its alleged betrayal of its promise to its constituency to push President Obama toward ending U.S. military adventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. This complaint is part of the broader observation by many that a man elected on an “anti-war” agenda has in fact neutralized whatever of vitality remains in the anti-war movement.
At the opening of his article Hayden describes a meeting between Obama and MoveOn leader Josh Ruben in which Ruben told Obama that it’s “the moment to go big,” meaning presumably a moment to move decisively toward a fully progressive political agenda. Well, we know how that has gone as Obama has paid far more attention to Robert Rubin and his minions of Chicago school economists and other regressives from the Clinton and Bush administrations than he has paid to the likes of Josh Ruben, as he has bitten the hand of the MoveOn organization that has been so instrumental in getting him into the presidency.
In reflecting on the political impotence of MoveOn and the broader progressive and anti-war movements in influencing the direction of the Obama administration, I was reminded of my own run-ins with e-mails received from MoveOn shortly before and after last November’s election. These communications reveal a fawning lap-dog attitude of MoveOn toward Obama, as it appealed for funds to “support” Obama in unspecified ways by peddling child-like “victory” icons like postage-sized stamps and posters. Accordingly, I posted today the following “comment” on the Hayden article on Common Dreams.
As articles like this one on the continuing irrelevance of MoveOn appear, I am happy if not smugly self-congratulatory that I had the good fortune to have captured the atmosphere of what MoveOn was up to shortly before and shortly after last November’s election. As one who (somehow) had his name on MoveOn’s vast mailing list, I got the same frantic appeals to vote for Obama before the election and to “celebrate” his victory afterwards that millions of others received. I don’t know how many of these millions “captured” some of these e-mail transmissions and wrote commentaries on them while they were “hot” but the following may be of interest to others who must have some memories of “the way we were” in the heady days of October and November 2008—as recorded on my newly-minted weblog.
1. Oct 22: I get a mocked-up video commentary on a supposed post-election TV news report that John McCain had just been elected by one vote and that I (using my own name multiple times) was the criminal miscreant being sought in places as far away as the hills of Afghanistan because in my laziness and indifference I had failed to vote.
2. Nov 8: I am offered a “free” commemorative “Yes We Did” stamp and the opportunity to contribute funds so that MoveOn could help Obama enact his “agenda.”
3. Nov 10: I receive a follow-up to the above with an escalated offer of a poster size version of the stamp previously offered, with now a “contribution” of $25 being expected in order to receive this celebratory item.
MoveOn’s fund-raising scam revealed in the November 8 and 10 mailings has not stopped. Jason Rubin, as Hayden shows, has met with Obama to announce it’s the moment to “go big” while having forces at his disposal (e.g., staff for lobbying) with little more than pop-gun firepower. Enjoy your victory poster, folks, that’s about all you got for your 25 bucks.
Jerry D. Rose – Editor, The Sun State Activist