2008: MoveOn -- move back to issues

Instead of being an organization that advances a progressive agenda, MoveOn.Org has devolved into an arm of the Obama campaign. It wouldn't matter if MoveOn was backing Hilary Clinton or John Edwards, the effect would be the same: to reduce its members' influence on policy.

Candidates take seriously organizations whose support they have to court. What leverage is left to MoveOn in getting Obama to move to progressive positions on reducing military spending, on providing truly universal health care or on committing his administration to the fight for economic justice? None. Obama can now redirect his efforts to pleasing the DLC and the corporatists around Clinton. They're his natural constituency anyway, and they'll be the ones to reap the political benefits in the end.

"We are here to make clear," Barack Obama said in Virginia, "that this election is not between regions or religions or genders. It's not about rich versus poor; young versus old; and it is not about black versus white." As Gary Gordon reminds us, this sounds like a trope from one of comedian James Tripp's mock campaign speeches. It also brings to mind the scene in The Candidate when Robert Redford, sitting in the backseat of a car while running late to a TV appearance, does a "crack-up" monologue: "We cannot feed our feedless...."

The last thing we need is another run of The Candidate; we have had more than enough bloviation for one season from aspirants of both parties. If MoveOn was truly an issues organization rather than a tool of the Democratic Party, instead of advancing the interests of one centrist candidate over another, it would be trying to produce a revival of Gore Vidal's The Best Man, maybe with John Edwards in the title role.

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