MoveOn.org Surrenders

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It’s a good thing for MoveOn.org that George W. Bush was reelected. If he hadn’t been, the liberal troupe would have nothing to contest. Even if the bloody occupation had continued under a John Kerry presidency (it most certainly would have), the cowering office-chair activists would have ducked behind their computer screens awaiting the return of another brutal Republican administration. Activism should never be partisan, but MoveOn.org isn’t about to hold the Democrats’ accountable for supporting Bush’s war agenda.

I’m not even all that sure MoveOn opposes the Iraq war. Sure, they rallied opposition during the lead-up to the invasion a few years back, but since then they’ve done little if anything that should garner the respect of the antiwar movement. Despite Kerry’s grotesque position on the Iraq war in 2004, MoveOn implored their members to donate cash to his campaign, but said nary a word about his pro-war posturing. You can’t support a candidate without putting demands on their candidacy, and MoveOn’s breakdown has made them all but irrelevant as an antiwar club.

Case in point. Sen. Hillary Clinton of New York has continued to support Bush’s war in Iraq as well as his greater war on terror, yet MoveOn refuses to voice frustration. Instead, they support the war-hungry senator and admit they won’t stand up to her during an election year.

"The case I would make is that 2006 needs to be a year of reckoning for Republicans on Iraq," Tom Matzzie, the Washington director for MoveOn recently told the New York Times. "If the antiwar candidate is creamed by Hillary Clinton, it’s a distraction."

A distraction from what? If I remember correctly, it wasn’t just the Republican Party that got us into this dreadful mess. The Democrats voted for it, helped sell the damn thing, and even bombed the hell out of Iraq during the 1990s, all the while supporting deadly UN sanctions. And as Americans begin to turn on this war, including prominent elected officials from both parties, Hillary still won’t retract her defense of the war, let alone meet with genuine antiwar activists here in New York.

All of this, and the feckless MoveOn.org still won’t call Hillary out for her warmongering.

MoveOn is nothing more than a cover for the Democratic Party. Issues are no matter. Partisan politics are. We’ve got a war going on, and advocacy groups who allegedly oppose it should stand up to it, not pander to those who do. The best way to force the New York senator to change her position on the war is to run an antiwar campaign against her during 2006 from outside of the Democratic Party.

Running a campaign against Hillary within the Democratic Party, as a couple antiwar activists are doing (one a former Green, Steve Greenfield), is hopeless — for their challenges will end after the primaries. If the antiwar movement really wants to take on Hillary in the electoral arena, she has to be confronted from outside the Democratic Party right up to Election Day and beyond. That is exactly what MoveOn should advocate, but never will.

No, MoveOn.org is nothing more than a roadblock for an antiwar movement that is finally gaining speed after a bout of silence. If we want to end this war, we’ve got to oppose all who support it — the bigger the name, the better.

That puts Hillary Clinton at the top of the list.

Joshua Frank [send him mail] is the author of Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, just published by Common Courage Press. You can order a copy at a discounted through Josh’s blog.

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