Wednesday, March 16, 2005

Largely Nonresponsive

I wish that I could claim that I coined the phrase "largely nonresponsive" because it so clearly and ideally describes the Democratic Party, but I can’t. Wes Boyd, co-founder of MoveOn.org, said it, though not within the context that I would have said it.

Though it considers itself a massive grassroots organization, MoveOn is truly a fringe group of the far, far left of the Democratic Party, comprised of some 3 million people, most of them in their twenties, many in college. "The GOP is painting us as socialist radicals," claims Joan Blades, Boyd’s wife and co-founder, "and if you’d been reading any of their publications, you’d think that we’re a bunch of wildass lunatics." Considering MoveOn’s record, I can understand why: an internet petition to keep Bill Clinton from being impeached signed by 500,000; 6,000 international candlelight vigils to keep the US out of Iraq; backing Howard Dean as their primary front-runner and Dennis Kucinich as their second choice; and $60 million spent in advertising to defeat George W. Bush’s re-election. MoveOn’s top issues include the environment, military involvement in Iraq, campaign-finance reform, media reform, voting reform, and even corporate reform, but no mention is made of jobs, health care, education, or even terrorism. MoveOn is staging an ad campaign about Social Security with ads that, according to it’s Washington director, Tom Matzzie, target the president rather than the issue, which is typical, considering their ads during the election morphing the image of Bush into that of Hitler. Boyd sees MoveOn "as a broad American public...we assume that things that resonate with our base resonate with America." Contrary to what Boyd sees, Ed Kilgore, who works for the Democratic Leadership Council, points out that "there’s a built-in tension between the views of people who are part of MoveOn and contribute to it, and the people they’re trying to reach."
The goal of MoveOn is to control the Democratic Party: Eli Pariser, executive director of MoveOn.org said in a recent email "It’s our party, we bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back." Considering the fact that they strongly backed Dean for party chairman and he was given the job, I’d have to say they’re well on their way to realizing their goal. In the wake of the re-election of Bush, the Democratic Party felt the dis-connect with the American public, but failed to identify the break, correct it, and re-connect. The promotions of Harry Reid and Howard Dean are clear indicators of that. The party shares MoveOn’s myopia. MoveOn is remarkably unconcerned with who their ‘people’ really are. Demographics isn’t important to Wes Boyd, who notes that "when we talk to people in Washington, that’s the first question we’re asked...we’ve been largely nonresponsive."

"Largely nonresponsive." That about sums up the Democratic Party. Nicholas D. Kristof wrote an op-ed for the New York Times on March 16th in which he sings the praises of Hillary Rodham Clinton as the ‘Moses’ to lead the party to the promised land of winning national elections. Kristof’s logic is that it’s ‘responsive’ to follow one north-east liberal senator who won’t admit to being liberal and loses the election with another north-east liberal senator who won’t admit to being liberal. I just can’t wait for the coming election cycle.

Kristof’s piece is heart-wrenching in that he identifies the foibles of the Democratic Party but then doesn’t take ownership of them; rather, he tries to rationalize them. Number One on Kristof’s list is religion because "a Pew poll found that 60 percent of Americans pray" and Hillary’s "religious faith is longstanding." Was this the same ‘religious faith’ that led her to "bear false witness against thy neighbor" (that would be the 9th of the Ten Commandments) when she set the FBI on Billy Dale, or blamed "the vast right-wing conspiracy" for her husband’s lies and infidelity? Her ‘religious faith’ came in handy during her testimony when she swore her oath to God to tell the truth, but couldn’t recall what work she’d done for Rose Law Firm or find the records of such. Kristof quotes another poll "where 70 percent say that ‘presidents should have strong religious beliefs’." But it’s not ‘religious beliefs’ that matter, it’s moral and ethical values - it’s all in how you ask the poll question. The recently released private tapes show Bush is always Bush, private or public, whereas Kerry lies even to his private diaries, causing his biography to have to be re-edited and re-released. In the same vein, Hillary’s hidden face is legendary: the moon-lit beach dancing without music, the thrown furniture, the viciously vengeful nature. Kristof’s third point is that "the Democratic Party [comes] across as indifferent to people’s doubts about abortion or even as pro-abortion" and he quotes another poll which shows the party is wildly out of step with most of America. Of course, Hillary is "both pro-choice and anti-abortion" which I would guess means that she doesn’t think women should have abortions unless they’re pregnant.

Kristof admits that Hillary’s "negative ratings nationally were still around 40 percent at last count," but he ascribes it to ‘Hillary-hating’ and the dubious observation that "television magnifies her emotional reserve and turns her into a frost queen." It is so much more simple than that. He recognizes that Hillary would have a hard time in his own ‘middle America’ hometown, suggesting that "ambitious, high-achieving women are still a turnoff in many areas, particularly if they’re liberal and feminist." Of course, that’s backwards. Most of America is turned off by feminism and liberalism; ‘ambitious, high-achieving women’ have been a staple of the conservative movement for over twenty years - ever heard of Sandra Day O’Connor, Jean Kirkpatrick, or Condoleezza Rice? Kristof notes that "the makeover is working with New York State voters" without realizing that he’s hit the nail on the head - with the Democratic Party it’s always style over substance. Hillary is succeeding because of her "makeover," not because she really believes any of the positions she’s staking out, just as Bill Clinton was willing to concede many conservative positions while he was running for election. Hillary really is the perfect Democratic candidate because she is "largely nonresponsive" on the issues that really matter to most Americans, except when she’s running for election.

"Largely nonresponsive" also touches on a report in the March 13, 2005 New York Times which describes how "equipment capable of making parts for missiles as well as chemical, biological and nuclear arms was missing from 8 or 10 sites that were the heart of Iraq’s dormant program on unconventional weapons." The Times also notes that "the threat posed by these types of facilities was cited by the Bush administration as a reason for invading Iraq." This report, which is not new (Duelfer, and others, reported the same thing over a year ago), begs the question that if "there were no WMDs" how could they go missing? Of course, it wasn’t the weapons that were stolen, but rather the means to make them. Still, I wonder when we’ll hear the apologies and corrections from those who cried "Bush Lied!" Though I strain to hear them, they still remain "largely nonresponsive."

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