I didn't argue that the problem is that the Democrats attacked Moveon. I argued that there were lost votes on Iraq, habeas, troop deployments, etc, and that sending letters of support when the Democrats fuck everything up suggests the organization's priorities in its communication department are poor. That's just beyond dispute.
Where exactly is the disagreement? Both us would prefer to have larger Democratic majorities, both of us want big progressive caucuses. Both of us would prefer to have Warner win in Virginia than the Republican, and that's true basically anywhere.
All I'm saying is that I have policy disagreements with Warner, that he should be pushed left, and that I think his race will be tougher than a 20 point blowout. You're writing posts strenuously arguing for a strategy to get to 60 votes in the Senate, and pretending as if that's not my goal as well. I mean, there are people in your comments bashing me as if I am saying that Warner shouldn't be the candidate and should lose, and you aren't bothering to correct even one of them.
In 2002, if a major Democrat had said 'Saddam Hussein poses the greatest strategic threat to American interests in the Middle East in several generations, he is acquiring weapons of mass destruction, and he needs to be disarmed. We need increased sanctions and more inspections to deal with this threat.'
Would he or she be helpful or not in the war debate?
Jerome seems to be upset that I did not put MyDD under open left groups of OpenLeft, and I feel terrible about that. My intent with that blogroll was to list a sampling of institutions, not a list of blogs. I included FDL, Dailykos, and Boingboing because they are institutions, and I also included Google and Avaaz.
For the record, OpenLeft is not funded by PFAW. I have nothing but respect for Jerome and his time letting me explore the blog medium on his site. I wish him well, and I have found his writing exceptionally useful.
My disagreement with Jerome is about partisanship as a principle, namely, that I don't think it is one. Partisanship doesn't represent anything in and of itself, it's only a symptom of an organized set of actors who disagree with another organized set of actors and are willing to work that disagreement out through the electoral system. What was happening in 1998 was that the open left was beginning to self-identify, and that process created the networks that allowed us to take a much more partisan approach down the years.
I was around online at the time as well, and I saw a lot of different stuff going on. I was posting on NYT message boards, and in researching 1998 politics, I've found a variety of political websites up at the time on impeachment. There was a pretty strong anti-impeachment webring.
Only Moveon actually built an institution out of the energy. The rhetoric they used at the time was strikingly similar to that of Common Cause, with a few key differences. Common Cause emerged out of disgust with Nixon, but it was explicitly anti-partisan. While Moveon sought votes from both Republicans and Democrats, the rhetoric embraced elections and participation in elections as a key organizing principle.
It's unquestionable that Moveon was a left-wing organization at the time, but it's also pretty clear that they have been radicalized by the last nine years and changed their rhetoric and strategy. The core principles, though, were laid down in 1998.
For a lot of us, our first moment in discussing politics online revolved around that weird summer in 1998, when Clinton was shooting missiles into Afghanistan while facing impeachment. Moveon came out of that moment as an institution. It wasn't the only group, and it is not itself the birth of the movement. It is just one part of the story, the institutional part.
This is not actually a contradiction, though it does seem that way. I don't think these groups are all doing bad work in all cases. That said, I do suspect that a lot of them are actively harmful and help create bad habits for young progressives. Fraud in a youth organization is bad for young people's politics, period.
While there may positive work coming out of that space, it is entirely unclear whether their existence is a net positive or a negative for liberalism or this country.