And the Loser Is . . .
Mark Hyman, apparently not content to come up with his own fact-free editorials, is now importing pre-fabricated editorials from one of his favorite sources, the Washington Times. At least this time he credits his source.
The topic is the supposed impotence of Moveon.org, and Hyman attempts to prove his point by running down a list of “losses” the group has suffered, a list he acknowledges lifting from Washington Times columnist Greg Pierce.
To begin with, it’s a safe bet that if folks like Pierce and Hyman are so publicly deriding Moveon.org’s supposed failures, it’s precisely because they fear the group’s influence. Were it as impotent as they suggest, there would be no reason to even acknowledge it.
And they are right to fear it. After all, Moveon.org was on the cutting edge of Internet-based grass-roots political activism that has built a powerful fundraising network. And despite Hyman’s suggestion that Moveon.org has had no victories, the fact is that the organization has helped a large number of Democrats win elections and has played a significant role in a number of lobbying efforts, referendum votes, and other political events. Lists of the some of the group’s most recent victories can be found here and here.
So it’s logical that Pierce and Hyman would want to try to undercut Moveon.org. Their desperation becomes even more understandable when one looks at the defeats listed by Hyman. It’s telling that each one of these defeats is one that happened either A) despite the will of the majority of Americans, or B) would not happen if the issue was decided today.
Let’s look at them one by one. Hyman says that Moveon.org “lost” when Clinton was impeached. True, but most Americans weren’t for impeachment. Moveon.org, and the American people, lost to a cabal of right wing politicos, who eventually lost not only in the Senate, but in the eyes of history.
Hyman says Moveon.org “went down in flames” when it supported Al Gore in 2000. It’s difficult to believe Hyman can say this with a straight face. Not even the most rabid Bushies deny that Al Gore beat George Bush by a half-million votes in 2000. Again, Moveon.org was on the side of the majority.
Hyman says Moveon.org lost when Democrats didn’t make big Congressional gains in 2002. But when asked who they want in control of Congress now, a sizable majority of Americans with an opinion on the matter pick the Democrats.
Hyman says Moveon.org opposed “the liberation” of Iraq. In fact, Moveon.org opposed the unilateral war and supported further inspections, a position that was vindicated by what was found (and not found) on the ground in Iraq, and a position shared by most Americans now. In fact, recent polls show Americans opposed to the war outnumber proponents by more than 2 to 1.
And Hyman says that Moveon.org failed when “French speaking John Kerry” lost in 2004. But if Americans could turn back the clock knowing what they know now, does anyone think Bush would stand a chance? Again, just a brief look at Bush’s abysmal approval numbers tells you all you need to know.
So, as we’ve seen, Moveon.org has racked up a sizable number of successes, and even in those cases where its causes have not prevailed, it’s been only been a matter of time before the American public’s opinion aligned with that of Moveon.org. About the worst thing you can say about Moveon.org is that it tends to be ahead of the curve.
I don’t think this is coincidence. Moveon.org has done a great job of getting progressive voices heard. And the more progressive voices are heard, the more successful they are. As I pointed out a long while back, the majority of Americans, when asked for their positions on specific issues, are not only to the left of what’s usually considered the political center, but to the left of a significant number of elected Democrats.
But for Hyman, the problems with Moveon.org are even more personal than he lets on. As usual, Hyman doesn’t disclose his company’s interest in the matter, but Moveon.org has been at the forefront of lobbying the FCC for stricter ownership rules, rules which would directly hurt Sinclair Broadcasting’s practice of buying up “duopolies” in multiple markets. Even more specifically, Moveon.org is one of the groups that joined with Media Matters for America in forming Sinclair Action, a group that organized around the goal of shedding light on Sinclair’s business and journalistic (mal)practices. (In interest of full disclosure, while I don’t receive a penny from Moveon.org or MMFA, I have worked with MMFA in coming up with content for the Sinclair Action website in the past).
So Hyman is wrong on Moveon.org’s record of success, is in the minority even on the very issues he claims Moveon.org “failed” on, and doesn’t even have the decency to announce his own personal stake in attacking the organization.
There’s a word for someone like that: loser.
And that’s The Counterpoint.
Hyman Index: 5.48