Well, I got back from the protest, and it was really great, but then I check around the Internets and see this
and it really bummed me out.
At a small closed-door fundraiser after Super Tuesday, Sen. Hillary Clinton blamed what she called the "activist base" of the Democratic Party -- and MoveOn.org in particular -- for many of her electoral defeats, saying activists had "flooded" state caucuses and "intimidated" her supporters, according to an audio recording of the event obtained by The Huffington Post.
"Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] -- which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," Clinton said to a meeting of donors. "We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn't even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that's what we're dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it's primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don't agree with them. They know I don't agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me."
There's audio of the event at the link
First of all, I don't ever want to hear the words of a high-level politician in a private fundraiser ever again. They shift their remarks in order to grab more money out of their audience, and they're off the record and unless and until every single one of them is made public the remarks ought to stay that way.
But to the content.
This is very disturbing. MoveOn is part of my political coming of age. They formed, by the way, to stop Hillary Clinton's husband from getting impeached. I've been a member for close to ten years, and without them I have to say we wouldn't have a progressive movement as strong as it is, and given their activism in 2006 we wouldn't have a Democratic Congress.
And note the disdain for the "activist base." That really tells you all you need to know about Hillary Clinton, and it's been pretty noticeable for quite a long time. She doesn't like bottom-up democracy. What did it for me was a debate when she said "America shouldn't have to work so hard to get a President who cares about them." In other words, shut up and watch American Gladiators because I've got it covered. The progressive movement activates and organizes and generally provides a counterweight to the deeply conservative media establishment and political establishment. It makes it easier for progressives and Democrats to do their job. Clinton KNOWS this. She helped fund the Center for American Progress and Media Matters. She's very keen on these organizations and the "activist base" when they are working in her favor. If not, she drops them like a stone, and then makes up lies about them besides. The intimidation thing is totally bogus; when Howard Here's Eli Pariser of MoveOn:
"Senator Clinton has her facts wrong again. MoveOn never opposed the war in Afghanistan, and we set the record straight years ago when Karl Rove made the same claim. Senator Clinton's attack on our members is divisive at a time when Democrats will soon need to unify to beat Senator McCain. MoveOn is 3.2 million reliable voters and volunteers who are an important part of any winning Democratic coalition in November. They deserve better than to be dismissed using Republican talking points."
It's a damn shame that in her zeal for victory, Hillary Clinton has trashed the very movement that would make it able for her to govern. I know I won't be able to bring myself to lift a finger for her ever again. In a one-on-one against McCain, sure, on economic grounds, but clearly Hillary is signaling that she truly believes in a hawkish, hegemonic foreign policy and will lie, cheat, steal and walk all over her allies to do it. What good would it be to get the nomination, the Presidency even, if there's nobody left to help you move policy?
MoveOn endorsed Sen. Obama and obviously that caused some hurt feelings. But let's not kid ourselves that this elitist (yes, elitist), establishment attitude wasn't well-entrenched before that endorsement. Hillary Clinton likes progressive groups and organizations when they work in service of Hillary Clinton. That's it.
Close to two years ago I was out in front of the same ABC-Disney building I went to today, protesting their screed of a TV movie "The Path to 9-11." Bill Clinton and his advisers were very grateful for those efforts. Today everybody protesting made it a point of saying that this was not about Obama OR Hillary; it was about a media who failed us, again, as they have for over a decade. The liberal blogosphere was practically birthed out of the need to call out the failed media and present an alternative voice. I've tried to do that consistently whenever a Democrat was unfairly attacked, INCLUDING Hillary Clinton, on several occasions
(it infuriates me that dunderheads are screaming that the anger over the ABC debate is a partisan thing without bothering to use the Google and see that it isn't). She doesn't care unless you're defending her.
This is why the party structure crumbled in the 1990s. This is why we lost the House, Senate and a bunch of Governor's mansions despite having a booming economy. This is a pathetic statement, and the scorn for having to actually deign to compete for a nomination that ought to have been handed to her really shows through. I'm sorry but there's nothing to recommend in Hillary Clinton anymore.
UPDATE: Jane Hamsher
I defended Hillary Clinton when she refused to bow to right wing pressure and condemn MoveOn over the "General Betrayus" ad (and was sad when she finally capitulated). MoveOn are valuable progressive partners who have been with us on Donna Edwards, net neutrality, trying to bring an end to the war, FISA, and other issues we've been fighting for.
They've accepted the challenge of organizing the left in the virtual arena and done an amazing job that the right struggles to replicate. They now have 3 million members, of which I'm one. And their skill at online organization and movement building has developed a model that both of the Democratic candidates have been able to copy and learn from, acting as a democratizing influence and making candidates more responsive to the public at large and less to high dollar donors.
MoveOn may not have opposed military action in Afghanistan (according to Eli Pariser in the Washington Post) but I did, because I was quite certain George Bush would bungle it and we'd just wind up spending billions on a bunch of junk that would make his buddies rich and a lot of poor people in the poorest country in the world would die senselessly. Sadly that turned out to be right, and disparaging anyone for challenging this country's unrelenting bellicosity during the Bush administration is wrong.
Does Hillary Clinton not want my vote either?
I should also note that Clinton defended that debate today because she did not perceive the attacks as coming at her. She said something like "his supporters are all mad because he got asked tough questions." Wrong. We're mad because he, and you, asked irrelevant
questions that undermine the public's need for information to make informed choices. Her dedication to ignore that in favor of point-scoring is really depressing, and will surely rebound back on her, as it is now doing.
Labels: 2008, Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, MoveOn, progressive movement