No Thank You Sir, I Don't Want Another

by: Chris Bowers

Thu Jan 31, 2008 at 10:22


Two weeks ago I presented my case for why I prefer Obama to Clinton. In the context of my personal endorsement, and in the context of which candidate I will vote for if Pennsylvania ends up mattering on April 23rd, I completely stand by the content of that post. In fact, even if Pennsylvania doesn't matter, I'll vote for Obama anyway, since a couple of my activist friends are running for DNC delegates under Obama's name in my congressional district. That won't be futile, either, since even if Obama drops out by then, they could still win. For example, in 2004 State Rep. Mark Cohen won a delegate for Dean in Philadelphia eight weeks after Super Tuesday (Dean receive about 17.5% of the vote in PA-01, ten weeks after he dropped out). Needless to say, local Philly for Dean completely kicked ass.

However, as a member of MoveOn.org for about seven years now, I voted for Hillary Clinton in their presidential endorsement vote.  Why? Not because I think MoveOn.org should endorse Hillary Clinton, but because I don't think they should endorse Barack Obama. Obama skipped the vote to chastise MoveOn.org a few months ago, while Clinton showed up and voted against chastising them. No thank you sir, I don't want another. What kind of message would it send if Obama can skip a vote like this, and still be endorsed by MoveOn.org over a candidate who voted no? Certainly not the sort of message I want to send about the netroots and new progressive infrastructure. If you betray our institutions, don't expect our institutional support during primaries. Allegiance needs to flow both ways in order for an alliance to be functional.

It might seem strange that I would vote for different candidates in different places, but it seems perfectly reasonable to me to wear different hats in different contexts. Endorsements in primaries have political implications that go beyond the quality of the candidates in the primaries. Since the political implications for me personally and for MoveOn.org as an institution are different, I think voting differently makes sense. Also, MoveOn.org did not offer a "no endorsement" option, which I would have selected if it was available.

So there. Now I think I have voted for every Democratic candidate in a straw poll this year except for Gravel (I'm pretty sure I voted for Kucinich at one point, even if I can't remember when). My horrible bias shows once again. 

Chris Bowers :: No Thank You Sir, I Don't Want Another

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That is a very, very good point. (0.00 / 0)
Excellent reasoning too.

I voted for Obama simply because I think it's too close, and when it comes down to it, as much as I think Clinton would be a great president, I think Obama would be a better one, and wouldn't hurt downticket races.

I didn't even think about the MoveOn chastising though.

ugh.


It's not like he wussed out. (4.00 / 3)
Obama's statement that afternoon:
"The focus of the United States Senate should be on ending this war, not on criticizing newspaper advertisements. This amendment was a stunt designed only to score cheap political points while what we should be doing is focusing on the deadly serious challenge we face in Iraq. It's precisely this kind of political game-playing that makes most Americans cynical about Washington's ability to solve America's problems. By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against this empty politics. I registered my views on the ad itself the day it appeared.

"All of us respect the service of General Petraeus and all of our brave men and women in uniform. The way to honor that service is to give them a mission that is responsible, not to vote on amendments like the Cornyn amendment while we continue to pursue the wrong policy in Iraq."



Ah (0.00 / 0)
Also a great point.

[ Parent ]
Thanks Adam (0.00 / 0)
for fleshing out your earlier comment and "preemptively" responding to my request further down in this thread.

[ Parent ]
Re: (0.00 / 0)
What did he say about the ad the day it appeared?

[ Parent ]
He still didn't vote against it (4.00 / 2)
It wouldn't have been hard, either. I don't accept that not voting on the amendment was somehow even stronger support of MoveOn.org than the 25 or so Democrats who voted no.

[ Parent ]
I wish ... (0.00 / 0)
... I wish Obama had announced this stance in advance and led his party out of the chamber when the roll was called accordingly.

[ Parent ]
Indeed (4.00 / 2)
That would have made things a lot clearer. It would have also helped if he signalled he would do this before the vote, instead of after.

[ Parent ]
I don't think his goal was to support MoveOn (4.00 / 1)
His goal was to make it clear that he has a different way of doing things.

[ Parent ]
For better or for worse (0.00 / 0)


[ Parent ]
His vote was correct. (0.00 / 0)
Sometimes you have to refuse to play when they try to push you into that box.  It was outrageous the Senate to even consider it.  Boxer got it right, which Obama supported.

Barack chose not to partake by protesting the vote (0.00 / 0)
He registered his protest against the empty politics!

Game, Set...

If not NOW, when?


[ Parent ]
Jesus (0.00 / 0)
So you spend a year mostly bashing Obama, don't vote for Obama in the one thing you can do that actually might make a difference in him winning or not, but you "support" Obama.  I am firmly convinced that You, Matt, and Jerome have done more harm to the progressive movement over the past year than you have ever done to help it, and this just puts a cherry on the top.

Jesus (4.00 / 2)
Then maybe you should stop reading their anti-progressive blog, huh?

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
I see (4.00 / 9)
My MoveOn.org vote trumps everything else I have done:
  • Build the liberal blog advertising network
  • The Googlebomb campaign
  • Use It or Lose It
  • Become a Democatic precinct captain and state committee member
  • The No Residual Forces campaign
  • The Bush Dog campaign
  • The $2.3M we have helped raise for Democratic candidates
  • The 5,000 articles we have written
  • The Freeze Out Fox News campaign
  • Paying website costs for 40+ statewide and local blogs
  • The BlogPac infrastructure and netroots heroes contests, which dished out $30K to grassroots activists.
  • The polling we did, plus Adwatch
  • The Emergence of the Progressive Blogosphere paper
  • The Net Neutrality campaign
  • Draft Clark (Matt was central to that effort)
  • The 15+ campaigns I have canvassed for
  • The three new unions I helped organize (2000+ workers)
  • All of the speeches and media appearances I have done (75+)
  • All of the protests I have marched in (50+)

It is good to know that this vote in the MoveOn.org primary was actually worth more than all of that. I was unaware.


[ Parent ]
Not to change the subject... (0.00 / 0)
but to change the subject, will there be another round of "BlogPac infrastructure and netroots heroes contests"? I really enjoyed them last time, if just to see what types of work and what kinds of ideas people had about the future. Are there more in the works?

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Yes (0.00 / 0)
Should have something in the spring.

[ Parent ]
Christ (4.00 / 2)
You're practically a Republican Chris.

So when did you stop beating your wife?


[ Parent ]
Glad to see you did not take it personally, Chris. (0.00 / 0)


I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November

[ Parent ]
You equate Obama with the progressive movement (4.00 / 1)
automatically.  You actually have to prove that connection.

[ Parent ]
What did Obama say and do back then? (0.00 / 0)
In a previous thread on the MoveOne vote, Adam B had this to say:

Obama was not "MIA"; he deliberately skipped the vote as a means of demonstrating how much he thought it was bullshit that such a vote would even be occurring, announced his reasons, and returned to the floor for actual important Iraq votes later in the day.

I'm interested in what other people have to say about this, and even more so, in what Obama actually said and did at that time.  I'm a supporter of his who was disgusted by the MoveOn condemnation vote, but wasn't paying close attention to it at the time, and would like to have an informed opinion on the event, since it does raise questions about his judgment.

Can anyone provide a link to any statements he made on the MoveOn vote?

As I said, I'm interested in hearing other opinions on this, and would appreciate it if they could relate to what actually happened, not just your attitude toward Obama, whether its positive or negative.


You can (0.00 / 0)
read my response in the previous thread.  Suffice it to say, I'm not convinced.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.

[ Parent ]
Imagine (0.00 / 0)
Imagine all Democrats refused to vote on something this stupid.

[ Parent ]
Then (4.00 / 4)
It would have passed?

But beyond that, all Democrats aren't mind readers. I think he did what he did out of political cowardice, others think it was a statement.  That's fine, but if it was a statement, I think we can basically agree that he didn't attempt to lead, didn't tell anyone he was going to do it, and didn't try to build any type of coalition to do it with him.

If all Democrats hadn't voted, it would mean Obama was showing the type of leadership skills months ago, that I think he still hasn't shown.

I support John McCain because children are too healthy anyway.


[ Parent ]
Thanks for the post. (4.00 / 1)
I deleted the MoveOn email because I don't like either of them.  However, I was convinced to vote by Chris's post.  This is one of the reasons I'm not too anxious to support Obama--his rationale is lovely, but this is the real world.  Ignoring wingnut actions does not work.  Just ask John Kerry.

I live in a true blue state--I will have a choice in November

MoveOn really does not know its own image. (0.00 / 0)
Am I the only progressive here that REALLY doesn't want to see Moveon endorse Obama? If I were him, I would reject it. MoveOn is a tarnished brand, and it undercut's Obama's post-partisan message.

In the arena, as Nixon used to say (4.00 / 1)
I'll be happy to vote for Obama, but you certainly can't say that political courage is his strongest attribute.  I'm not saying he lacks it.  He just hasn't displayed much of it. Not that Clinton has either, although I do support her.

You've got to be kidding (0.00 / 0)
Chris, there are other ways to register your frustration (and the frustration is valid) but this is not the way to do it. It is akin to wanting Obama to be president, and voting for Hillary because of one single issue you disagree with Obama on.

They're not asking you if you liked Obama's 'vote' on MoveOn they're asking if you want him to be president over Clinton.

If Clinton wins the nomination from MoveOn, I will think of you and wonder how many people sent the endorsement of 3.3 million people the wrong way just to prove a minor point.

We won the Battle. Now the Real Fight for Change Begins. Join MoveOn.org and fight for progressive change.  


Thank You (0.00 / 0)
  The only constant is change, and your insight is remarkable.

Rats. (0.00 / 0)
Wish I'd read this before voting.

Also wish MoveOn had done a "make no endorsement / none of the above" option.


You voted for Biden? (0.00 / 0)
Really?

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