Moveon and the Democratically Controlled Congress

I'm a bit behind in writing about the Senate's voting to condemn Moveon, partly because it's been a busy couple of days but mostly because I find the vote so disheartening.  Three days later and I'm still upset.  Last week was a culmination of bad votes, and let's be honest a bad week for Democratic values.  We lost on Habeas, we lost on the Webb Amendment, and even the failed Levin-Reed ended up being a watered down version of what it could have been.

In a sea of defeats why does Moveon stick out like a sore thumb for me?  Because it was so damn pointless.  What a complete waste of the Senate's time.  We don't elect Senators to publicly condemn statements they don't agree with.  We elect them to govern.  

Chris Dodd said it best.  His statement has been all over the Internets, but it's worth repeating:


It is a sad day in the Senate when we spend hours debating an ad while our young people are dying in Iraq. Now that the Senate has twice voted on this ad, it is time to move on and vote to end the war.

There is a time and a place for political theater.  I personally have no problem with anyone disliking the ad and using it to score political points.  Condemn Moveon in press releases, on cable news and talk radio shows, and in campaign materials.  Engage in whatever sanctimony you want.  But is it to much to ask that you keep the mock outrage off of the Senate floor?

As MyLeftNutmeg's tparty pointed out this morning our Congress currently enjoys an 11% approval rating.  Americans are generally fed up with the direction our Congress.  The disgust and disappointment extends far beyond progressive Democrats, but I'm particularly unnerved at being slapped in the face this way.  Especially considering the above mentioned failures.  

Lengthy quote from tparty's post.  Emphasis mine:


In the face of this absolute collapse of support, I can't begin to explain the Democratic Congress' palpable fear, from refusing to enforce their subpoena power, to rubber-stamping Bush's FISA abuses, to allowing Republicans to continue to control the national debate. Perhaps, unrealistically buoyed by Election '08 poll numbers and the cash flowing into campaign coffers of the DSCC and DCCC, they think things are just fine.

But things aren't fine.

Half the party just voted to condemn a single act of free speech on the part of one of their allies, and all criticism of members of the military in general. Democrats had already lost their entire base - now they just told them to "fuck off" in no uncertain words.

Meanwhile, Chris Murphy is still the only Congressman in CT to have signed on to the one strategy that might do a thing to end this war before January 2009.

It's the votes and strategies and speeches and amendments that people are reacting to intellectually. But it's the fear that people are reacting to emotionally. There's no point in standing up for someone who won't stand up for themselves. And Democrats and "moderate" Independents around the country are getting this message loud and clear, even if the D.C. insider class isn't.

Progressive activists across the country worked their butts off to get the current Congress elected.  We don't expect them to win every battle, but we do expect them to put up a good fight.  We don't expect them to always agree with progressive organizations or their strategic tactics but we do expect that those disagreements won't become a taxpayer funded floor show.  The Moveon vote was a complete misuse of power.  Shame on every Democrat who voted in favor of it.

Tags: Chris Dodd, Habeas Corpus, Iraq, moveon.org, Senate, Webb Amendment (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Ads don't kill people, wars kill people

"Two days ago the Senate had a chance to help get more of our soldiers home for longer periods of time -- but the measure failed. Yesterday they had a chance to set a timeline to start withdrawing troops -- but that failed too. And today, another measure that would've required a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq failed. Three chances to make a difference, lost. But instead of continuing to push on the most important issue facing our country right now, yesterday Congress spent their time debating and condemning a newspaper ad by an anti-war group.

Let's get some perspective here -- ads don't kill people -- wars kill people. And it is long past time to end this war."

Bill Richardson, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gov-bill-richardson/ads-dont-kill-people-wa_b_65384.html

by Stephen Cassidy 2007-09-23 12:37PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

Are you new to politics?  Republicans are very effective with their fake outrage and turning these things into major news stories, democrats not so much.  

by Justify My Vote 2007-09-23 12:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

OK, but why the hell did Reid have to bring this to the floor for a vote? He had to have known many spineless Dems would vote to condemn.

by ocoocher 2007-09-23 12:54PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

Nah, just idealistic.  

And I'm twice as mad at the Dems who rolled over.

by Melissa Ryan 2007-09-23 02:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

Any anger for Move On for its stupid ad?

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-09-23 03:12PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

i don't think the ad was stupid. i think the dems in the senate reacted stupidly.

by selise 2007-09-23 04:04PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

The ad was completely idiotic and was an early Christmas gift to the GOP.  It allowed them off the ropes and return to playing offense on the Iraq war.

Brilliant strategy.  

by realistic democrat 2007-09-23 04:25PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon

Ann Coulter wrote an entire book titled <u>Treason</u> about how the Democrats are turning on the country.  I'm sure she mentions more than a few veterans in said book.  She didn't get the entire senate voting to condemn her.  How is that any different than the 'stupid' moveon ad?

by Valatan 2007-09-23 04:44PM | 0 recs
Not really

but I am furious at Admiral Fallon. How dare he!

by tparty 2007-09-23 05:08PM | 0 recs
Re: Not really

Oy.

Good. Embrace Move On's stupidity then.

Let's keep the story alive for ANOTHER week.

by Big Tent Democrat 2007-09-24 09:40AM | 0 recs
Nah

It is not permissible on the blogs this week to note what is completely obvious:

That the Moveon ad was one of the stupidest political stunts in the last 5 years.
 

by fladem 2007-09-24 05:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon and the Democratically Controlled Congr

Unfortunately, the only thing to do about this is to chalk it up to experience and try to learn a lesson.  Taking advantage of Gen. Petraeus's name as a tag in criticizing him (``Gen. Betrayus'') was at best a tacky thing to do.  It is not surprising that this gave the Republicans an opening.  

It would have been much wiser for MoveOn to continue to focus its criticism at the political level anyway, which is where it really belongs.

by strings 2007-09-23 01:07PM | 0 recs
I want Dodd...

...to up to his colleagues ask them why and then PRINT THE GOD DAMN REASON ONLINE!!

What the hell can we do? If we don't work the Republicans win and then things are even worse.

by MNPundit 2007-09-23 01:26PM | 0 recs
worse than you think...

Half the party just voted to condemn a single act of free speech on the part of one of their allies, and all criticism of members of the military in general. Democrats had already lost their entire base - now they just told them to "fuck off" in no uncertain words.

so sorry, it wasn't half the Ds in congress - it was almost all of them. there were 2 amendments condemning moveon -  the Cornyn Amdt. No. 2934 and the Boxer Amdt. No. 2947.

only senator feingold voted "no" on both. sentators biden and cantwell didn't vote. the rest (including sanders) voted yes on one or both of them.

that's 47 "yes" D votes (including sanders) for the boxer amendment (which condemns both moveon and swiftboating, etc)

(6) On September 10, 2007, an advertisement in the New York Times was an unwarranted personal attack on General Petraeus; who is honorably leading our Armed Forces in Iraq and carrying out the mission assigned to him by the President of the United States; and

  (7) Such personal attacks on those with distinguished military service to our nation have become all too frequent.

  (b) SENSE OF SENATE.--It is the sense of the Senate--

  (1) to reaffirm its strong support for all of the men and women of the United States Armed Forces; and

  (2) to strongly condemn all attacks on the honor, integrity, and patriotism of any individual who is serving or has served honorably in the United States Armed Forces, by any person or organization.

by selise 2007-09-23 01:48PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon and the Democratically Controlled Congr

The U.S. Senate is not worth "a bucket of warm spit".

by Stoic 2007-09-23 02:48PM | 0 recs
Good political theater

There is a time and a place for political theater. Take a deep breath and enjoy the show. I donated to Moveon.org this week because of its superb ability to frame the issue. (See George Lakoff's excellent post here.)   To make matters better, the Repugs took the bait, hook line and sinker, and by introducing a Senate resolution, kept alive the frame of betrayal of the troops and the public by the president and his bootlickers.

General Petraeus is not the first general to be so enamored by presidential attention to be blinded by the klieg lights into shading the facts to distort the true situation: General Westmoreland, under similar circumstances in 1967, blindingly disregarded evidence of increased enemy strength that did not comport with the conventional wisdom being fed to the American public ("progress," "light at the end of the tunnel"). Failure to maintain objectivity is not only a familiar price of hubris, when the lives of your troops and nation's reputation are at stake it is betrayal.

by lexrex 2007-09-23 05:41PM | 0 recs
Re: Moveon &amp; Democratica Congress

Since the Sense of the Senate is legislative language which merely offers the opinion of the Senate, but does not make law, what's the big deal?

by JohnQPublic 2007-09-23 06:36PM | 0 recs

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