Thursday, March 03, 2005

Like A Rolling Stone, I Gather No Moss

Think I was too hard on the 'progressive' crowd when I called them the children interrupting the conversation of the grownups? Rolling Stone, that bastion of conservatism, agrees with me. In a profile of, Simon Rosenberg, described as the president of the 'centrist' New Democrat Network, is quoted as follows:
"My view of MoveOn is that they're like muscular adolescents," says Rosenberg. "Their body has grown too quickly -- they're going to make mistakes."
We also learn that 'Tom Matzzie, MoveOn's twenty-nine-year-old Washington director, says the [anti-Social Security reform] ads are aimed at the president, whom he bluntly calls a "son of a bitch."' Now, Tommie, behave, or you won't get your dessert.

Still not convinced? Try this one for size:
[ cofounder Wes] Boyd is a whip-smart man with a deep passion for populist democracy. But speaking to him about MoveOn's constituency is like speaking to someone who spends all day in an Internet chat room and assumes the rest of the world is as psyched as he and his online compatriots are about, say, the Lord of the Rings trilogy. He seems to conflate MoveOn with the rest of America. "We see ourselves as a broad American public," he says. "We assume that things that resonate with our base resonate with America."
(Disclaimer: I loved the Lord of the Rings trilogy, although I never spent all day in an Internet chat room groovin' on it).

I'm quoting the end of Tim Dickinson's excellent article verbatim: it's that good (hat tip to James Taranto's Best of the Web for the pointer to the article)...

So who is MoveOn? Consider this: Howard Dean finished first in the MoveOn primary. Number Two wasn't John Kerry or John Edwards -- it was Dennis Kucinich. Listing the issues that resonate most with their membership, Boyd and Blades cite the environment, the Iraq War, campaign-finance reform, media reform, voting reform and corporate reform. Somewhere after freedom, opportunity and responsibility comes "the overlay of security concerns that everybody shares." Terrorism as a specific concern is notably absent. As are jobs. As is health care. As is education.

There's nothing inherently good or bad in any of this. It's just that MoveOn's values aren't middle-American values. They're the values of an educated, steadily employed middle and upper-middle class with time to dedicate to politics -- and disposable income to leverage when they're agitated. That's fine, as long as the group sticks to mobilizing fellow travelers on the left. But the risks are greater when it presumes to speak for the entire party. "The decibel level that MoveOn can bring is very high," says Bill Carrick, a longtime Democratic strategist.

Like so many other Internet start-ups, MoveOn has raised -- and burned through -- tens of millions of dollars, innovating without producing many concrete results. Any reasonable analysis shows its stock may be dangerously overvalued. Those banking on MoveOn had better hope it is more Google than Because should the group flame out, the Democrats could be in for a fall of Nasdaq proportions.

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