Shortly after the November 2006 election the Democracy Alliance, an exclusive group of about 100 Democratic Party millionaire activists, met in
Cuomo then dared to voice an inconvenient truth: “Now it’s 2006 and we’re all rejoicing. Why? Because of
The story of Cuomo’s speech is from the concluding pages of Matt Bai’s new book The Argument: Billionaires, Bloggers and the
The Argument is an important book but Bai muffed the title. He should have titled it “The Gift,” because as Cuomo points out it was primarily the political gift of voter anger and revulsion over a horrific, continuing war that caused them to oust Republicans.
And how have the Democrats treated their gift now that they control Congress? The Democratic House and Senate have continued to fund the war while posturing against it. For example Hillary Clinton, who pollsters regard as the Democratic frontrunner for her party’s presidential nomination, told the New York Times that when she is elected she would keep troops in
Bai’s book is the first since the 2006 election to examine the new power alliance within the Democratic Party composed of the organizations referenced in his long subtitle. They include the “billionaires” such as George Soros and other members of the Democracy Alliance; the major liberal “bloggers” such as “Netroots Nation” guru Markos Moulitsas ZÃºniga with his Daily Kos blog and the Yearly Kos conventions; and, the related “battlers” re-making the Democratic Party such as Howard Dean the party chair. Bai devotes an entire chapter to MoveOn, the Netroots money and messaging machine controlling an email list of 3.3 million Americans built in large part on their opposition to the
These various players participated in the recent Yearly Kos bloggers convention in
We organized our event because in my opinion there was a lack of opportunity at the Yearly Kos for meaningful discussion and debate of how bloggers can best help end the
Leaders of the new Democratic power alliance examined in The Argument spoke prominently at Yearly Kos, including Andy Stern of labor union SEIU and Tom Matzzie the chief lobbyist for MoveOn. In January these two groups and others had launched Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), directed by Matzzie. Some fifteen million dollars has reportedly been spent by this lobby effort that failed to first prevent Bush’s “troop surge,” and then failed to stop the Democratic Congress from funding the war.
The AAEI has hired over 100 young organizers for its “Iraq Summer” campaign that is hounding targeted Republicans in their districts, but avoiding any similar tactics against pro-war Democrats. Matzzie and MoveOn’s pollster Stanley Greenberg shared a panel at the Yearly Kos convention examining how Democrats are doing in the polls. Matzzie exudes gung-ho confidence that AAEI’s tactics will bring about a “responsible” conclusion to the war.
Iraq Veterans Against the War speaking out during our event expressed a different opinion. “What will end this war?” asked Aaron Hughes, an Illinois National Guardsman who drove trucks in
As you can imagine, for Hughes and other
IVAW was founded in 2004 and today it is a rapidly growing, grassroots, independent anti-war group with members active in 43 states and deployed on bases in
Iraq Veterans Against the War are not the concoction of a liberal think tank or PR firm; they have very little funding; they are not avoiding criticism of Democrats; and they are not playing political games trying to bank-shot Democratic candidates into the White House and Congress in 2008. They are in open non-violent revolt against
Many IVAW soldiers are on active duty opposing the war openly and at personal risk; such is their conviction. On Saturday August 18, 90 IVAW soldiers demonstrated in
Watch the YouTube video of Iraq Veterans Against the War speaking out at Yearly Kos. Go to the IVAW website at http://www.IVAW.org and contact them directly. Support our troops’ own opposition to the war. These American soldiers are determined to end the war. For them it has never been a “gift.” They are not waiting for an election, nor should anyone else.
This article is the analysis and opinion of John Stauber, the founder and executive director of the Center for Media and Democracy. He is the co-author with Sheldon Rampton of 2003′s Weapons of Mass Deception: The Uses of Propaganda in Bush’s War on
Coffee with the Troops is now viewable on YouTube at: