Skip to comments.From flying toasters to the virtual search for a president (MoveOn.Org Primary)
Posted on 06/26/2003 1:46:58 PM PDT by PJ-Comix
There was always something quaintly old-fashioned about the way Americans embarked on the long process of choosing their next president: the town hall meetings, the closed-door caucus, the chase for state party delegates. Now, with nine Democrats vying for the job of challenging George Bush in November 2004, the process has been brought bang up to date with the arrival of a potentially revolutionary new tool: the online primary.
Yesterday was the second of two days of voting at a political website of growing prominence called MoveOn.org.
Proclaiming itself as a new model for grassroots activism - which is to say it seeks to promote mostly liberal causes - the site has attracted 1.4 million subscribers in the United States and another 700,000 overseas. About two thirds of the membership were galvanised by their opposition to the war in Iraq. But they all share the goal of sending President Bush off into the sunset.
That's quite some constituency, which explains why all nine Democratic candidates have submitted statements and policy positions to the site and are taking the result of the primary - to be announced tomorrow - in deadly earnest.
The MoveOn.org primary will not only pre-empt next January's Iowa caucus, until now regarded as the first big test of the candidates' mettle, it is also likely to reflect the views of several hundreds of thousands more voters than Iowa ever musters.
The online primary is almost bound to favour the liberal candidates, with Howard Dean, the former governor of Vermont, expected to come out on top, followed by Senator John Kerry and Congressman Dennis Kucinich. But that's not a reason to dismiss it. On the contrary, the winner can expect to raise an extra $30m (£18m) in campaign funds.
Since the liberal candidates tend to be the least well-funded - Senator Kerry being an exception - the MoveOn.org primary has the potential to subvert many of the usual expectations of a presidential campaign. Political commentators have already begun wondering aloud if the internet would have allowed Gary Hart to trump Walter Mondale for the Democratic nomination in 1984, or if it would have given John McCain the extra edge he needed to beat George Bush for the Republican nomination in 2000.
MoveOn.org's founders, Wes Boyd and his wife, Joan Blades, are Silicon Valley entrepreneurs previously best known for designing the flying toaster screensaver for home computers. They founded the site in 1998 in disgust at the Republican Party's attempt to impeach Bill Clinton. Sexual indiscretion, they felt, was not a reason to bring the federal government to a halt. It was time to move on - hence the name.
With the advent of the Bush administration, MoveOn's constituency grew and grew. By the mid-term elections last November, its Political Action Committee had raised more than $4m for progressive candidates across the country. And that was before the big surge in membership that accompanied the anti-war movement, which MoveOn was instrumental in organising. The site's influence is palpable, particularly in a political environment in which it is one of the few glimmers of good news for liberals and Bush opponents.
WOW! That's a nice chunk of change that will most likely go to Howard Dean. It looks like Ketchup Boy is going to have to hit the wifey up for some big bucks to match the Dean windfall.
They founded the site in 1998 in disgust at the Republican Party's attempt to impeach Bill Clinton. Sexual indiscretion, they felt, was not a reason to bring the federal government to a halt. It was time to move on - hence the name.
So why doesn't MoveOn.Org take its own advice and "Move On?" It sounds like they should really call themselves "MoveIn.Org."
Just a suggestion.
Yeah, well sexual indiscretion ISN'T a reason to bring the federal government to a halt. Perjury at the behest of the White House IS a reason, and that's what impeachment was about, NOT SEX.
As has been now established, impeaching Clinton didn't bring the federal government to a halt. If only.
As I detailed in the thread "Censure and Move On" site: Activism For Dummies back in January 1999, Boyd and Blades lied from the very start about the aim of the site and even about their own background.
The media should be wise to the irrelevence of MoreOn -- er, MoveOn, since they not only failed to stop impeachment of Clinton, they couldn't gain popular support for any of their hand-picked candidates for legislative seats in subsequent elections either, not to mention the national shift rightward in 2000 and 2002. True, they have their own PAC now, but their bite is way weaker than their bark. Their bite's more like a Monica.
[That's not true about them being "Silicon Valley entrepreneurs." "Silicon Valley" is in the lower peninsula between the S.F. Bay and the Pacific Ocean, and north of San Jose, at the mouth of the Bay. Blades and Boyd are co-founders of Berkeley Systems, the company that created the screensaver craze with the "flying toasters." Their InterNIC registation gives a Berkeley street address. Berkeley, the West Coast Mecca of the looney left, is NE of Oakland at the TOP of the Bay and by NO means is thought of as in the "Silicon Valley." Like I said, they are slick.]
For SF Freepers -- after coalition forces marched into Baghdad to cheers and that now-infamous statue came down, I am sure you cackled out loud as you drove on the Central Freeway (when it was still open) and saw this billboard paid for with MoveOn dupes that says "Inspections Work. War Won't."