MoveOn’s Latest Claim to Progress

I was surprised at the number of grand lies MoveOn could fit into one email blast. (See it’s message below, from March 15, 2010). For one, MoveOn’s Kat Barr writes that "we’re asking every MoveOn member: will you pledge to support progressive primary challengers to House Democrats who side with Republicans to kill health care reform?" But MoveOn and Obama would actually seek to de-seat progressives like Dennis Kucinich for a more corporatist Obama Democrat. MoveOn obfuscates this point in its email very well by not telling us who it would seek to primary (Kucinich) and why (because Kucinich wants a more progressive, single-payer bill). So much for Obama’s presidency as a foothold for progressive change–the man wants to oust the stongest progressive voice in Congress.

For two, Barr goes on to write about "wavering" Democrats: "Conservative Democrats need to know the stakes if they choose to side with Big Insurance." But it should be common knowledge that it is Obama who has folded (not merely wavered) to Big Insurance. That is why Obama’s healthcare bill would subsidize Big Insurance and ensure under punishment of financial penalties that Big Insurance gets more customers–just like Massachusetts’ healthcare reform laws. Conservative Democrats siding with Big Insurance? Barr must not see the irony of her words.

For three, MoveOn touts that it was able to raise $1 million for Bill Halter, who will attempt to primary Blanche Lincoln for her Senate seat later this year. Again, MoveOn fails to mention that one of Halter’s main goals is single-payer healhcare–something not in Obama’s reform and the very thing that Kucinich is standing up for and that Obama would have him primaried over.

MoveOn has somehow been able to pretend that following Obama’s lead is "reform" and "progressive," and I worry that it will or already has hijacked the word progressive–what once was centrist and corporatist will come to be known as progressive. So is MoveOn turning its progressive base into centrists, or is Obama turning MoveOn centrist? Or have neither MoveOn nor Obama ever had a progressive base?

Either way it’s easy to see that if MoveOn and Obama really stood for progress, we would have a much different healthcare bill before us.


Dear MoveOn member,

Health care reform is in serious danger in the House of Representatives:
with a handful of conservative Democrats wavering, we don’t yet have the
votes to pass the final bill.1

So we’re asking every MoveOn member: will you pledge to support
progressive primary challengers to House Democrats who side with
Republicans to kill health care reform?

With the big vote happening as early as this Friday, Conservative
Democrats need to know the stakes if they choose to side with Big
Insurance over the voters on health care reform. Our pledge will send that
message loud and clear. We’ll publicize the amount pledged, and make sure
the media and every wavering representative know about it.

Will you join the Health Care Accountability Pledge right now?  [. . .]

The final health care package being crafted is far from perfect–and we’ll
keep fighting together for improvements. But in our member vote this week,
83% of us voted to support the President’s proposal because it would
expand coverage to millions and curb insurance companies’ abuses that hurt
regular Americans.2

But with some House Democrats wavering under pressure from Republicans and
Big Insurance, the health care bill is in grave danger.

That’s why the Health Care Accountability Pledge–a step we don’t take
lightly–is critical.

Thousands of us pledging together will send a signal that conservative
Democrats can’t afford to ignore. Just look at the results of our Senate
pledge: Back in the fall when a handful of conservative Democrats were
holding health care hostage in the Senate, MoveOn members pledged to
support a primary challenge against these senators. And two weeks ago, we
made good on that promise, raising over $1 million for Bill Halter, a
progressive primary challenger to Senator Blanche Lincoln.

It only works, though, if we all pledge. So click below and let us know
how much you want to pledge–and then forward this note to your friends
and ask them to pledge, too.


Thanks for all you do.

–Kat, Eli, Stephen, Carrie, and the rest of the team


1. "Pelosi faces biggest test on healthcare vote," Reuters, March 10, 2010

"Wary Centrists Posing Challenge in Health Care Vote," The New York Times,
February 27, 2010

"Reconciliation Math," Slate, March 5, 2010

2. MoveOn member vote, March 9-10, 2010

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