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MoveOn has become a force to be reckoned with
Rolling Stone ^ | Feb. 24, 2005 | TIM DICKINSON

Posted on 03/03/2005 8:07:20 AM PST by JesseJane

The Online Insurgency

MoveOn has become a force to be reckoned with

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.

MoveOn has already revolutionized Democratic politics, energizing the party faithful in ways Karl Rove would envy. It laid the groundwork for Dean's online insurgency in the primaries, taught Kerry to use the Internet as a campaign ATM that spews out millions in small contributions and transformed 70,000 online members into get-out-the-vote volunteers. MoveOn "is culturally important for the party because they're teaching us how to innovate," says Simon Rosenberg, president of the centrist New Democrat Network. "Politics is a risk-averse business -- and they're not risk averse."

But many party insiders worry that an Internet insurgency working hand in hand with a former Vermont governor will only succeed in pushing the party so far to the left that it can't compete in the red states. "It's electoral suicide," says Dan Gerstein, a former strategist for Joe Lieberman's presidential campaign. MoveOn committed a series of costly blunders last fall: It failed to remove two entries that compared Bush to Hitler from its online ad contest, and its expensive television spots barely registered in the campaign. One conservative commentator, alluding to MoveOn's breathless promotion of Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, branded the group the "MooreOn" wing of the party. All of which leaves political veterans wondering: As MoveOn becomes a vital part of the Democratic establishment, will its take-no-prisoners attitude marginalize the party and strengthen the Republican stranglehold on power?

"My view of MoveOn is that they're like muscular adolescents," says Rosenberg. "Their body has grown too quickly -- they're going to make mistakes."

Moveon is guided by a tiny, tightknit group of leaders. There are only ten of them, still deeply committed to the Internet start-up ethos of working out of their homes and apartments in better-dead-than-red bastions such as Berkeley, California, Manhattan and Washington, D.C. For a political organization that likes to rail against "the consulting class of professional election losers," MoveOn seems remarkably unconcerned about its own win-loss record. Talk to the group's leadership and you won't hear much about the agony of defeat. Wes Boyd -- the software entrepreneur who used his fortune from creating the Flying Toaster screen saver to co-found MoveOn -- blithely acknowledges the need to produce some electoral wins "in the classical sense." But he sees the rise of MoveOn's progressive populism as a moral victory in and of itself.

The group's latest strategy consists of a one-two punch. First, MoveOn is ditching the traditional Democratic model of using paid canvassers, whom the group derides for blowing into town every four years "like the occasional tornado." Instead, it plans to emulate Karl Rove -- building a permanent field campaign, staffed by MoveOn volunteers reaching out to their neighbors. The group is relaunching its innovative program of on-the-ground canvassing -- starting with the Social Security battle -- and will keep the effort in motion until the next issue surfaces.

Second, MoveOn is taking the lead in denouncing Bush's agenda. On Social Security, it has already raised $500,000 to air ads in four congressional districts whose representatives are leaning toward privatization. Tom Matzzie, MoveOn's twenty-nine-year-old Washington director, says the ads are aimed at the president, whom he bluntly calls a "son of a bitch."

That's the part that worries moderate Democrats. For now, party insiders are playing nice with MoveOn, which could contribute millions to their campaigns. They recognize, after all, that an active left is as crucial if the Democrats are to regain power as the Christian right has been to the GOP. When asked about MoveOn, two prominent Democratic strategists feed me the exact same talking point: "We've got to learn how to walk and chew gum at the same time" -- meaning, as one of them explains, "If you're going to be successful, as Bush has proven, you have to energize your base, and you've got to appeal to swing voters."

But some insiders worry that putting left-wing idealists in charge of speaking to the center seems about as likely to work as chewing gum with your feet. "There's a built-in tension between the views of people who are part of MoveOn and contribute to it, and the people they're trying to reach," says Ed Kilgore of the centrist Democratic Leadership Council.

MoveOn insists it knows the difference between messages shrill enough to stoke the fires of activists in San Francisco and ones levelheaded enough to win the hearts and minds of working-class folk in Scranton. The group says it tested the ads it aired during last year's campaign. "If you're going to spend millions and millions of dollars, you want to make sure this is speaking to the right people," says Joan Blades, who co-founded MoveOn with her husband, Boyd.

But there's little evidence that the huge investment yielded a political profit. If speaking to the center was MoveOn's goal, "they failed miserably," says Greg Strimple, a media consultant who advised the Senate campaigns of three GOP moderates. "None of their ads had an impact on the center electorate that needed to be swung." If the group's leadership saw anything broken with its advertising during the campaign, though, it shows no signs of fixing it. In a rush to get its new Social Security ad on the air, MoveOn didn't even test it.

The ad, which depicts senior citizens performing manual labor, was not only paid for by MoveOn members but was also created by them. This kind of closed feedback loop is indicative of a larger problem: the group's almost hermetic left-wing insularity. "We don't get around much," acknowledges Boyd. "We tend to all stay in front of our keyboards and do the work."

For MoveOn, "the work" consists of looking for spikes in e-mail traffic and monitoring online forums to divine the issues that drive its members. Boyd and Blades have bitten hard on the "wisdom of crowds" concept. They believe that strategies posted and rated by fellow activists provide the basis for picking campaigns that members will pay to support. "We've discovered a way to engage people so that they want to open their wallets," says Boyd. "If we can come up with a great campaign, we know it will get funded."

Boyd is a whip-smart man with a deep passion for populist democracy. But speaking to him about MoveOn's constituency is like speaking to someone who spends all day in an Internet chat room and assumes the rest of the world is as psyched as he and his online compatriots are about, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He seems to conflate MoveOn with the rest of America. "We see ourselves as a broad American public," he says. "We assume that things that resonate with our base resonate with America."

In fact, there appears to be an almost willful ignorance about who actually composes MoveOn. "We're pretty light on the demographics," Boyd says without apology. "It's funny, when we talk to people in Washington, that's the first question we're asked." He adds with note of self-satisfaction: "We've been largely nonresponsive."

But Boyd's refusal to pin down who MoveOn is -- and who it isn't -- also makes it easy for Republicans to project an undesirable face on the organization. "The GOP is painting us as socialist radicals," Blades tells me with seeming disbelief over Thai chicken salad at the Berkeley Art Museum. "And if you'd been reading any of their publications, you'd think that we were a bunch of wildass lunatics." Does MoveOn have a branding problem? "I think it might," she says.

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.

There's nothing inherently good or bad in any of this. It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated. That's fine, as long as the group sticks to mobilizing fellow travelers on the left. But the risks are greater when it presumes to speak for the entire party. "The decibel level that MoveOn can bring is very high," says Bill Carrick, a longtime Democratic strategist.

Like so many other Internet start-ups, MoveOn has raised -- and burned through -- tens of millions of dollars, innovating without producing many concrete results. Any reasonable analysis shows its stock may be dangerously overvalued. Those banking on MoveOn had better hope it is more Google than Pets.com. Because should the group flame out, the Democrats could be in for a fall of Nasdaq proportions.


TOPICS: Editorial; Extended News; Government; News/Current Events; Philosophy; Politics/Elections
KEYWORDS: brock; dean; democrats; morondotorg; moveon; potterybarnrule; soros
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"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."
1 posted on 03/03/2005 8:07:21 AM PST by JesseJane
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To: Alia; cyncooper; Mo1; dirtboy

~fyi ping~


2 posted on 03/03/2005 8:08:14 AM PST by JesseJane
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To: JesseJane
In fact, there appears to be an almost willful ignorance about who actually composes MoveOn. "We're pretty light on the demographics," Boyd says without apology.

Gee, I wonder why. Snort.

3 posted on 03/03/2005 8:09:50 AM PST by mewzilla (Has CBS retracted the story yet?)
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To: JesseJane
The lefty wackos are taking over the 'rat party from the bottom up.

It's a beautiful thing.

4 posted on 03/03/2005 8:09:59 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: JesseJane

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.

With friends like this, who needs enema's?


5 posted on 03/03/2005 8:12:23 AM PST by deepFR
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To: JesseJane
For a political organization that likes to rail against "the consulting class of professional election losers," MoveOn seems remarkably unconcerned about its own win-loss record.

But there's little evidence that the huge investment yielded a political profit. If speaking to the center was MoveOn's goal, "they failed miserably," says Greg Strimple, a media consultant who advised the Senate campaigns of three GOP moderates. "None of their ads had an impact on the center electorate that needed to be swung." If the group's leadership saw anything broken with its advertising during the campaign, though, it shows no signs of fixing it. In a rush to get its new Social Security ad on the air, MoveOn didn't even test it.

Like so many other Internet start-ups, MoveOn has raised -- and burned through -- tens of millions of dollars, innovating without producing many concrete results. Any reasonable analysis shows its stock may be dangerously overvalued. Those banking on MoveOn had better hope it is more Google than Pets.com. Because should the group flame out, the Democrats could be in for a fall of Nasdaq proportions.

I would suggest selling short...

6 posted on 03/03/2005 8:13:21 AM PST by 2banana (My common ground with terrorists - They want to die for Islam, and we want to kill them.)
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To: JesseJane

...MoveOn has become a force to be reckoned with...

Great, its time for a reckoning.


7 posted on 03/03/2005 8:13:38 AM PST by the gillman@blacklagoon.com
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To: Semper Paratus

Its just a matter of time before the Donk Party has a completely new name. I'm guessing it will contain "Children and Families" or something like it.


8 posted on 03/03/2005 8:13:38 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: JesseJane

Oh, yeah, Moveon.org has such a great track record. Lots of successes.


9 posted on 03/03/2005 8:13:46 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: JesseJane
"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."

Know what you get when you add 3 million zeros together?

10 posted on 03/03/2005 8:14:19 AM PST by johnandrhonda (have you hugged your banjo today?)
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To: JesseJane
MoveOn has become a force to be reckoned with

So is an open scuttling valve on a ship.

Thanks for the ping.

11 posted on 03/03/2005 8:15:30 AM PST by dirtboy (Drooling moron since 1998...)
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To: JesseJane
Moveon is guided by a tiny, tightknit group of leaders.

Reminds me of the Bolsheviks and the revolutionary vanguard. Lefty idiots, if you're reading this, the only way Lenin got traction in Russia was because that society and its government had collapsed due to the First World War. Before the war, Lenin thought he was going to die in obscurity. He should have.

Regards, Ivan

12 posted on 03/03/2005 8:16:16 AM PST by MadIvan (One blog to bring them all...and in the Darkness bind them: http://www.theringwraith.com/)
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To: JesseJane

You must understand that the average liberal doesn't measure their success by actual accomplishment. The fact that they said something, got angry and shook their fists is just as good, in their world, as actually doing something. Fearless leftie leader, William Jefferson Clinton, demonstrated this philosophy time and time again.


13 posted on 03/03/2005 8:16:26 AM PST by TChris (Most people's capability for inference is severely overestimated)
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To: JesseJane
"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..."

Hehe, imagine if Ralph Reed had of said this after the 1994 election...

14 posted on 03/03/2005 8:16:33 AM PST by Guillermo (Abajo fidel: End the Cuban Trade Embargo)
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To: JesseJane
Moveon is toast! Of their "so-called" 500,000 members, 90% of them can't vote because they're either felons or rent skippers that are not registered properly at their newest address. In 2 years Moveon will be as obsolete as ACORN.
15 posted on 03/03/2005 8:17:34 AM PST by tobyhill (The war on terrorism is not for the weak!)
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To: JesseJane

MoveOn is a force in the Democratic Party's battle between the hardcore leftists and the centrists of the DLC, but they are a disaster for the party. The bigger the mouthpiece the MoveOn crowd gets, the more everyday Americans realize that the Democratic party does not share their values.


16 posted on 03/03/2005 8:17:54 AM PST by Jibaholic
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To: Eric in the Ozarks

I expect the 2008 Convention to have a "Salud to Che Guevra" night.


17 posted on 03/03/2005 8:19:20 AM PST by Semper Paratus
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To: JesseJane

Next step; Elect Rodney King and rename it" Can't We All just Get Along And Move On .Com"


18 posted on 03/03/2005 8:19:40 AM PST by Uncle George
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To: JesseJane
"And if you'd been reading any of their publications, you'd think that we were a bunch of wildass lunatics."

No, actually, I believe you're a bunch of wild-assed lunatics because of what you yourself say and write.

Wild ass lunacies always speak for themselves.

19 posted on 03/03/2005 8:20:29 AM PST by Guillermo (Abajo fidel: End the Cuban Trade Embargo)
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To: JesseJane
If "a force to be reckoned with" were plant life, this would be FREE REPUBLIC:

And this would be Moveon.org:


Notice the tree has been destroyed from the inside by termites.

20 posted on 03/03/2005 8:20:58 AM PST by SoFloFreeper
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To: JesseJane

Even their name is completely irrelevant.


21 posted on 03/03/2005 8:22:02 AM PST by AppyPappy (If You're Not A Part Of The Solution, There's Good Money To Be Made In Prolonging The Problem.)
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To: the gillman@blacklagoon.com

...MoveOn has become a force to be reckoned with...
___________________________________________________
Apparently there was a moveon campaign to against Fox News and all the members were asked to print out a petition and have everyone they could buttonhole sign it. A co-worker made the mistake of bringing it to work and asking us to sign it. She made the mistake of coming to me first. I told her I would not sign such a ridiculous petition and reported her immediately for passing around such trash at the office. (Mind you, we are a federal govt. subsidized operation!) She was told immediately to desist.

If moveon rank and file are this stupid, I don't reckon there is much of a force...


22 posted on 03/03/2005 8:28:16 AM PST by ariamne (reformed liberal--Shieldmaiden of the Infidel)
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To: Semper Paratus

With jumping jacks performed by Whoopie Goldberg.


23 posted on 03/03/2005 8:29:23 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: JesseJane
MoveOn: The political equivalent of maggots devouring a rotting corpse.
24 posted on 03/03/2005 8:31:56 AM PST by reagan_fanatic ("Darwinism is a belief in the meaninglessness of existence" - R. Kirk)
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To: ariamne

Good job! Hatch Act, right? www.osc.gov/ha_fed.htm
The MoveOn morons are some of the biggest pests around.


25 posted on 03/03/2005 8:36:30 AM PST by tumblindice (Our Founding Fathers: all conservative gun owners)
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To: JesseJane
They raised $60 million from 500,000 donors

Am I the only one that thinks that 59 million came from one donor while the other 499,999 contributed 2 dollars each ?

26 posted on 03/03/2005 8:42:46 AM PST by Raycpa
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To: tobyhill

What is that line "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing", or something like that.


27 posted on 03/03/2005 8:42:51 AM PST by ChinaThreat
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To: JesseJane

yeah. telling quote, isn't it?


28 posted on 03/03/2005 8:44:18 AM PST by King Prout (Remember John Adam!)
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To: ChinaThreat

"it is a tale Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, Signifying nothing."
Macbeth Act 5, Scene 5 - W.Shakespeare


29 posted on 03/03/2005 8:46:36 AM PST by King Prout (Remember John Adam!)
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To: JesseJane
psychosis [sy.KO.sis] (n).

“The inability to distinguish between what is real and what is imaginary. Psychosis is a term used to describe a severe mental illness. Psychotics are characterized by a variety of symptoms that most people consider abnormal. These include experiencing delusions, such as the notion that one is being persecuted or conspired against. Psychotics may see things which don't actually exist and hear Voices (i.e. God) when no one is around. They often exhibit compulsive, irrational, ritualized behavior, esp. when such behavior serves no purpose or is even harmful or disruptive to those around them. They show no concern for others but may exhibit total self-centered behavior. Includes sociopathy, schizophrenia.”

DSM-IV

…and that’s MISTER Dickhead to you, sailor!”

30 posted on 03/03/2005 8:46:38 AM PST by pabianice
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To: JesseJane

devouring the party from within!

oh goody!


31 posted on 03/03/2005 8:53:00 AM PST by peacebaby (Moser, how'd you like the cover of the MA05?)
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To: JesseJane

Communism at the forefront. Communism = Moveon.org = DemoncRAT Party


32 posted on 03/03/2005 8:59:16 AM PST by lilylangtree (Veni, Vidi, Vici)
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To: JesseJane
MoveOn has already revolutionized Democratic politics, energizing the party faithful in ways Karl Rove would envy.

Karl Rove doesn't have to envy it. He's got an even better one. Yep, Democratic turnout in the election was at an all-time high, and MoveOn had a big part to play in that. But Republican turnout was even higher, and that happened because Ken Mehlman built a nationwide army of volunteers, all organized on the Internet, that beat the MoveOn army at the ground game.

Why does MoveOn get all the attention? Because reporters are all a bunch of liberals. They have no clue what the Republicans are doing; they never talk to any. So it's MoveOn-this and MoveOn-that, with nary a word about the fact that MoveOn got its butt kicked in the election by a better-organized army of Internet activists on the right.


33 posted on 03/03/2005 9:02:13 AM PST by Nick Danger (The only way out is through)
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To: JesseJane

need to win some elections "in the classical sense"?

Man....these assholes really don't have a clue what goes in the the world outside their little circle, do they?


34 posted on 03/03/2005 9:03:09 AM PST by Bogtrotter52 (Singin' the blues with a smarmy Irish smile)
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To: Nick Danger

It's my theory MoveOn.Org's efforts backfired and helped elect President Bush.


35 posted on 03/03/2005 9:11:49 AM PST by peacebaby (Moser, how'd you like the cover of the MA05?)
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To: JesseJane
That noise you hear coming from the DNC headquarters is the sound of goose-stepping jackboots.
36 posted on 03/03/2005 9:11:51 AM PST by fella
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To: Nick Danger
Yep, Democratic turnout in the election was at an all-time high...

And some of those Dems were voting for 43 :)

37 posted on 03/03/2005 9:13:52 AM PST by mewzilla (Has CBS retracted the story yet?)
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To: JesseJane

I compare this to the grassroots effort on our side. Theirs is so much more narrow, and so much less interested in results for the money spent. But, they got to shake their fist, and force us to hear it.


38 posted on 03/03/2005 9:25:50 AM PST by Free Vulcan
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To: JesseJane

Is this article written to counter an article the last few days which said that that MoveOn hadn't accomplished anything of any worth ..??


39 posted on 03/03/2005 9:27:23 AM PST by The Final Harvest (Pres. Bush: "Self-government relies, in the end, on the governing of the self.")
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To: mewzilla

What they do not understand is that they needed Florida in 2000. Lost it. They needed Ohio in 2004. Lost it. Based on this, it looks like they will go after Colorado and Missouri in 2008. That looks like their only chance to get that 20 vote pickup.

Moveon is irrelevant. Americans are now privy to the hatred of the left and once moderate Dems realize that they are no longer wanted in the party, they will switch. Already taking place in PA.



40 posted on 03/03/2005 9:37:33 AM PST by EQAndyBuzz (60 votes and the world changes.)
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To: JesseJane
There's nothing inherently good or bad in any of this. It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated.

Unlike many on this forum, I do not rejoice at the impotence of the Democratic party. The party has been hijacked by the radical Left. This is not good for our nation which is designed to function as a two-party system of government.

I fear that if the Republicans get too much power they will start acting like Democrats. Other feel this is already occurring.

The Democrats need to reject the far Left Berkeley communists and re-embrace traditional blue-collar values that the party used to represent. Or they need to go the way of the Whigs and the Federalists and be replaced by a party that will reach out to blue collar voters.

Having virtually all of the power consolidated in one party while the opposition party is completely marginalized is not a good thing despite what many on this forum believe.

41 posted on 03/03/2005 9:39:35 AM PST by Drew68
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To: JesseJane
It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated.

Steadlily employed? How do you consider lifetime students living off other people's money "steadily employed"?

42 posted on 03/03/2005 9:43:30 AM PST by KC_Conspirator (This space outsourced to India)
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To: JesseJane

43 posted on 03/03/2005 9:47:40 AM PST by getmeouttaPalmBeachCounty_FL (Breaking & Entering -- Isn't the *United States* our home?)
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To: King Prout

Thanks King! That would be what I was looking for. I do think it applies here.


44 posted on 03/03/2005 9:49:37 AM PST by ChinaThreat
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
I'm guessing it will contain "Children and Families" or something like it...

'The Children and Families of Neo-Stalinist Pig A*sholes'

45 posted on 03/03/2005 9:51:14 AM PST by martin gibson
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To: ChinaThreat

with the exception that the character uttering that bitter summary was describing life, and I do not believe moron.organists are actually alive.


46 posted on 03/03/2005 9:51:46 AM PST by King Prout (Remember John Adam!)
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To: JesseJane
I don't know about all of that.. but I think it was 33 out of the 46 candidates moveon campaigned for... LOST!

Whew- are they effective. (For the GOP)

47 posted on 03/03/2005 9:55:47 AM PST by Diva Betsy Ross (Just say no to the ACLU!)
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To: JesseJane

48 posted on 03/03/2005 10:55:45 AM PST by OESY
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To: Drew68
Unlike many on this forum, I do not rejoice at the impotence of the Democratic party. The party has been hijacked by the radical Left. This is not good for our nation which is designed to function as a two-party system of government.

Actually this country was designed to function without political parties. Only due to the the early debates between federalism and anti federalism did the basis for two party competition form.

49 posted on 03/03/2005 11:00:04 AM PST by CzarNicky (The problem with bad ideas is that they seemed like good ideas at the time.)
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To: JesseJane


Moveon.org, a force to be reckoned with:
"Every morning should start with a
satisfying movement to get the day rolling."

50 posted on 03/03/2005 11:03:18 AM PST by OESY
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