MoveOn has defended its advertising strategy amid reports that the Democratic Party establishment is uneasy with the group's latest initiatives. This Washington Post story explains:
Many Democratic strategists were privately furious at the group for launching an attack on a member of the military rather than Bush, arguing that it gave Republicans a point on which to attack the Democrats and to rally around the administration's war policy. The displeasure underscores the uneasy alliance between MoveOn and the party. MoveOn, after its rather guerrilla start, has increasingly become part of the Democratic establishment in Washington. It has donated money and lent its Washington director, Thomas Mattzie, to a coalition of liberal groups with major funding from wealthy donors that organizes in an office on K Street to promote opposition to the war.Obviously the Democrats are hesitant to lose support among the liberal elite, like those in the Hollywood movie establishment, as this Los Angeles Times story indicates:
IT looked for a while as if MoveOn.org had become one of Hollywood's favorite liberal advocacy groups, especially for those looking for a place to express their antiwar sentiments without incurring a lot of unfavorable publicity.MoveOn's debacle is turning out to be the gift that keeps on giving! Amid the controversy a harsh spotlight is being focused on George Soros, MoveOn's major money backer, and the master proponent of the hard-left agenda (via Memeorandum).
Directors and celebrities lined up to help the Internet-based organization formed in 1998 in the wake of President Clinton's impeachment. Oliver Stone directed an antiwar ad for the group, as did Rob Reiner. Moby offered his musical talent, rallying other artists like Michael Stipe and Eddie Vedder to get involved. Director Richard Linklater and writer Aaron Sorkin produced a series of anti-Bush ads in the run-up to the 2004 election. Producer Robert Greenwald and actor Mike Farrell organized celebrities on behalf of the group before the war even started.
But last week when MoveOn ignited controversy by issuing an ad attacking Army Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the American troops in Iraq, entertainment industry politicos began to wonder if the group had gone too far and in fact become a liability for the largely Democratic Hollywood crowd.
"Most people saw it as a mistake that really hurt progressive candidates," said one Hollywood insider, who asked not to be named because he continues to be involved in fundraising efforts. "We just handed the Republicans a gift. It's like MoveOn has become tone-deaf. I think people will be more cautious and careful about what they do with MoveOn in the future."
Survival instinct is hard-wired in this town. You can push the message, but not at the expense of losing the audience. Plus, few want to be seen as wild-eyed moonbats. It's not a good career move. (Who can forget the footage of Jane Fonda cavorting with the enemy in Vietnam?)
See also William Kristol's analysis of the emerging political stakes in the MoveOn aftermath, and especially his discussion of Hillary Clinton, who, in "Kerry-esque" fashion, "voted for General Petraeus before voting against him."
Update: For some novel lefty spin on the MoveOn disaster, check out Matthew Yglesias, who argues the whole thing was a "meaningless sideshow" meant to distract attention away from the administration's "perpetual war" (plus more commentary on the issue at Memeorandum).