On CNN’s “The Situation Room,” Thursday, 13 September (LINK), sub host Suzanne Malveaux was discussing Bush’s upcoming speech on Iraq with Democratic strategist James Carville and Republican strategist Leslie Sanchez.

While Malveaux brought up the latest CBS News/New York Times poll showing 71 percent of Americans disapprove of Bush’s handling of the war, and Carville was pointing out Bush’s missteps along the way, all Sanchez could do was bring up the MoveOn.org ad in the New York Times – the one which asked “General Petraeus or General Betray Us?”

For days every right-wing pundit and politician had been hammering the MoveOn ad – a nice RED HERRING to distract the public from the real issues of the war and what Bush would have to say that night.

Sanchez had no rebuttal for the poll or Carville’s remarks, so she threw this out:

“OK. OK, let's be - let's be fair. It is ludicrous to think that MoveOn.org does not represent the fringe liberal left, the anti-war movement of the Democratic Party. It is ludicrous to think that they are not the ones in control that the Democratic candidates are trying to appease. And, on top of that, this is a socialist radical movement that's basically trying to take down the government.”

That, dear reader, is pure BS!

In 2002, I became a member of MoveOn.org – then a grassroots movement 2.5 million strong. Its founders, computer entrepreneurs Wes Boyd and Joan Blades used the fortune they made from those flying toaster screensavers and “You Don’t Know Jack” trivia games to found an organization whose goal was to help the country “move on” after President Clinton’s impeachment – a healing much needed.

I spent a lot of time on MoveOn’s “Great Goals” forum, where members posted goals for our country. I made many good friends there – each of us with our own pet issues.

As the incompetence and deception of the current administration began to come to light, and the faulty intelligence and claims of an Iraq-9/11 connection that would take us to war became apparent, it was only natural that these lies (I’m not afraid to use the word) would be discussed.

That was when contributors to the forum came under vicious personal attacks from the right-wing. I would be red-faced to tell you some of the things they had to say about this retired newspaper editor.

Finally, the forum had to be temporarily shut down after being spammed with one porn photo after another.

Then, came “the Hitler ad.” MoveOn sponsored a contest asking members to submit 30-second campaign ads for Election 2004. An ad was submitted – among the 1,500 entries - showing George Bush morphing into Adolph Hitler. Members reported the ad, and it was immediately pulled from the MoveOn site. Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and right-wing Web sites reported the incident thusly: “MoveOn.org has compared President Bush to Adolph Hitler.”

The winner of the ad contest, by the way, was “Child’s Pay,” showing little kids working at menial adult jobs with the message that they will foot the bill for Bush’s burgeoning deficit. Very clever ad. Very true.

The right-wing saw its out. You see, a grassroots group 2.5 million strong, with our fund raising house parties and bake sales in behalf of favorite candidates, was a threat, particularly in the run-up to Election 2004, so we were, in a word, “swift-boated.”

Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly called us “the most dangerous organization in America.” In a particularly hypocritical moment, O’Reilly said anyone donating to MoveOn.org might as well “give it to the Nazi Party.”

The mainstream media took up the drumbeat, demonizing the organization. Its name soon became synonymous with “anti-American,” just as criticism of Bush’s policies became “Bush bashing.”

Next came the George Soros contribution. Soros pledged to match members contributions - dollar for dollar - up to $2.5 million. For a man of Soros’ means, that was hardly an attempt to take over. He offered similar contributins to other grassroots entities.

Suddenly, George Soros became the right-wing’s new Beelzebub – a one-man movement to overthrow the government of the United States.

It didn’t matter that the right-wing base had no clue who Soros was, they accepted that his “connection” with MoveOn made both a sinister force to be stopped.

So, what makes Soros such a threat?

From his Web site (LINK): “A global financier and philanthropist, George Soros is the founder and chairman of a network of foundations that promote, among other things, the creation of open, democratic societies based upon the rule of law, market economies, transparent and accountable governance, freedom of the press and respect for human rights.

Yeah, that’s really scary! No wonder Bill O’Reilly sees this man as a threat! Openness would be the last thing Fox News would want its minions exposed to.

Not one soul I met on MoveOn has failed to express support for our men and women in the military. But, in opposing the war in Iraq, we became known, not just on Fox News but in the MSM, as “the MoveOn.org crowd” or “the anti-war crowd.”

I am not anti-war, but I was anti-this war from the start. I knew the history of Islam and of U.S. involvement in the Middle East.

By now the picture was complete – a myth perpetuated first by Fox, then the MSM - MoveOn.org is “an anti-American leftist fringe group,” not the grassroots force of persons actively working for a better America and a better world.

I left MoveOn.org in 2005 for one reason. Members pleaded with Wes, Joan, Eli Pariser and other organization leaders to fight back. I thought they remained elitist and aloof, thinking they were above the fray – and for that they are paying the price.

The organization’s clout, its ability to influence persons outside its ranks, has been greatly eroded by right-wing propaganda, and the Petraeus ad might just be the straw which breaks its back. Never mind that the ad’s content was factual.

Sure, this is still a country where free speech is Constitutionally protected, but the right-wing pundits and politicians, the media and many Americans just don’t seem to know that.

Very sad that such a potentially effective group – now with 3.2 million members determined to make this a better America – would let itself fall prey to what is tantamount to a character assassination of its members by mean-spirited persons, who are, in my opinion, more dangerous to this country than any so-called “anti-war crowd.”

Have my American visitors asked yourselves when it became “treasonous” to question a president’s foreign and domestic policies and an unnecessary war – both of which have tarnished our country’s image and set it back for decades?

A Republican president and a Republican-controlled Congress led us to where we are today. It is time to move on.


For an in-depth article on MoveOn.org’s beginnings, its growth, its goals and its future, visit my new reading room: LINK


Anonymous said...

The closest I've come to supporting MoveOn is by slapping a "End this War" bumper sticker on the back of my car. While the organization appears to be one of many left gatekeepers. That's my personal opinion. You said 'aloof.' I say, "I agree." I can't get over how the "right" has been going after the Petraeus ad when there are so many other serious issues that need to be addressed. In fact, as I write this, MSNBC is talking about MoveOn's new anti-Giuliani ad. Good for them. Rudy sucks eggs.

Andrew @ RedDirtReport.com

Athena said...

We "fringe liberal left" WISH we could take down the government. Unlike the savvy French people who have the government submissive to them, we have this montrosity of a government that is so mighty that they throw us in prisons and throw away the key. And torture us while they are at it. Leslie Sanchez really does not want to give an inch. Americans such as Move.On.org merely want to live peacefully and with a government that looks after those in need. We did not bargain for this scary as heck Evil Empire that tries to crush us on every level. All we have is our voice and we will not give it up! Not until we subdue Bush and his lackeys into a corner so that they live among us with fairness. My goodness, Leslie Sanches must despise the Bill of Rights.

Falzone For America said...

I can attest to the environment of the Move-On Action Forum. When the Free Republic right wing nuts got busy it was a smut hole.

Wingers can't seem to find a way to express opposition without using adolescent tactics.

Move-On surprised them with a bumper sticker slogan. They thought they were the kings of slogans and cheap shots. It rhymed, that's why they used it, not that the General is really a traitor, they just wanted to get the point across in a catchy way. The General shouldn't be used as a political lever to sell a war.

Anonymous said...

For those who in any way care, Frodo was born because of "Move On." When he was most despondent, the weakest of the weak, opposed to another useless war in his lifetime, he happened upon others who shared this view. From all corners of Middle Earth, Hobbits and Men alike shared their concerns in "The Forum." Although it did not last very long, it was an introductory tool, if not an inspiration, to so many struck dumb by the excesses of uninformed and misdirected government. With the encouragement of faces not known, Frodo, in the spirt of the true Hobbit, came into being. His goal was, and is, to wrest the Ring from the hand of Sauron. It has been a difficult battle. Much has been lost. Much remains to be done. Mistakes were made. Overcoming evil does not justify all of the actions done. Frodo, and those with whom he stands, will take responsibility for their actions and their misjudgements. That, dear reader, is what sets us above the others. It is why we fight.