Saturday, April 19, 2008

I'm A Member of & A Terrible Bowler

As many of you know by now, The Huffington Post reported yesterday that Senator Clinton slammed the activist organization at a fundraiser in February:
“ 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."
You can read their entire post by clicking here where audio of Senator Clinton’s remarks is also provided. I’m hardly the first blogger to post about this and surely won’t be the last. Many across the progressive blogosphere venting about Clinton’s rhetorical cluster bomb against the Democratic Party’s activist base are far more articulate than me. Nevertheless, I feel compelled to hit back on behalf of this movement I proudly call my own.

I first became aware of when they stood up for the Constitution and supported censure over impeachment during the Monica Lewinsky scandal a decade ago. I was delighted such a movement sprang from the toxic bile of Ken Starr’s witch-hunt. Do you remember Senator Clinton how we advocated for censure as a means of “moving on”?

We were your allies against the racist and misogynist “right wing conspiracy” represented by Richard Mellon Scaife that you now sit down with to exploit racial divisions. So to paraphrase James Carville, attacking us is “an act of betrayal” that resembles Judas. Anyway, that was the beginning of the netroots movement.

After 9/11 was an oasis in a dessert of reactionary enablers that included Hillary Clinton in the lead up to the Iraq War. Sadly, Clinton even echoed the administration’s lies about connections between Saddam Hussein and al quaeda! Not only did Clinton fail to read contrary arguments about weapons of mass destruction in the mere ninety page National Intelligence Estimate, she also on the Senate floor said this on October 10, 2002:
“He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001.”
Well, nice that Clinton said “apparently no evidence"about Saddman and 9/11 but she implied there might be and the rest of the statement was an outright lie. Yet the only contrition Clinton expressed for years was “if I only knew then what I know now” while her Senate colleagues from 2002 Joe Biden, Chris Dodd, John Edwards and John Kerry eventually redeemed themselves for their transgressions by honestly acknowledging their mistakes. Clinton couldn’t even do that until recently and yes that angered members like me.

Furthermore, Clinton lied about Moveon’s “opposition” to Afghanistan. Indeed she was echoing Karl Rove propaganda about the Democrats and Afghanistan. There was no organized opposition to America’s response in Afghanistan by Speaking for myself, I knew there had to be a military response to 9/11 but for damn sure I didn’t trust the Bush Administration to do it skillfully and retain the international community’s good will. And yes I worried about the loss of innocent life, largely women and children, who would lose their lives while nothing was accomplished. Sadly, that is what has come to pass. members are my brothers and sisters. Fellow patriots and activists mobilized to reverse America’s homicidal/suicidal foreign policy and grotesque erosion of civil liberties. They represent the core of the people powered social networking netroots movement determined to make America the best America it can be. It’s rather like a large extended virtual family that has moved beyond and is really a decentralized community. We coordinate to raise money, phone bank and canvass on behalf of causes larger than ourselves.

Like all families, individual members of and the netroots as a whole don’t always agree about tactics or which candidates to support. For example, I didn’t think the “Betraus” ad last fall was very smart. Previously, I had intense email debates with other bloggers about my support for John Edwards. I had posted a heartfelt endorsement of Edwards and some Obama supporters I enjoyed email correspondences with over the years hit me hard.

On the bigger picture though we’re on the same side even as squabbles happen over how to best achieve the objectives we share. Once Edwards dropped out I put my disappointment aside because I sensed Obama’s candidacy better represented the sensibilities of this movement I’m a part of than Clinton.

I also hunger for our netroots movement to achieve critical mass beyond white liberal computer literate activists to better combine with organized labor and more effectively fight on behalf of wage earners. We're making substantial progress in that direction as the movement has grown so fast. And yet not fast enough. Hence, it’s easy to become frustrated.

But Moveon’s movement is my movement and I’m in it for the long haul no matter what happens in 2008. The netroots people powered movement is fighting to take the Democratic Party from predatory moneylenders, warmongers and corporatists and push our country towards progressive reform. A tough ongoing struggle waged against powerful interests.

These interests include the incestuous relationship between the corporate media and the military industrial complex as exists between NBC and General Electric. And if you think the recent performance of moderators Charles Gibson and George Stephanopolous during the Clinton/Obama debate and the perverse reactionary values of ABC’s parent company Walt Disney are a coincidence, I have bridge in my hometown of Brooklyn I’d like to sell you.

Senator Clinton’s whining about activists like myself who are informed, passionate and motivated to fight the madness that war mongering enablers like her supported is quite revealing. Her whining about funds raised online “like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down," is even more revealing. Clinton receives contributions by the banks and credit card companies “like a gusher” and supported predatory bankruptcy legislation in 2001. Big money contributors that support Senator Clinton benefit from laws that destroy the lives of families on the financial abyss whenever a loved one suffers from an expensive medical calamity.’s money doesn’t come from insurance companies, HMOs, Halliburton, Bechtel, BlackWater USA, K-Street lobbyists, banks, credit card companies or other war mongering corporatist predators. Hence, this “gusher of money” is beyond the comprehension of Clinton and Washington insiders such as James Carville. This money comes from regular folks giving what they can even as we too struggle with our groceries bill, energy costs and mortgages. Yet they call us elitists?

There is also the lie about our “intimidating” her supporters at caucuses. Listen up: I subscribe to something Howard Dean has said many times, that it would be far better for this country to have 100% voter turnout even if Republicans win. I’ve registered all kinds of people to vote who don’t share my beliefs and so have many dedicated activists who also belong to and make our voices heard in the progressive blogosphere.

I don’t own a gun or attend religious services. Nor do I wear a flag pin. Neither does military veteran and Virginia Senator James Webb. I’m also not a good bowler. Admittedly, I am “bitter” about the direction of my country. But I’m as good an American as you are Senator Clinton. And yes I’m a member of and will give another $25 to Senator Obama today. Anyone care to join me and help raise money like a gusher? If so, click here.

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