MoveOn: “We Bought” the Democratic Party

A standard “action alert” has provided a rare glimpse inside the mind of the Shadow Party.

In a December 9th e-mail signed by “Eli Pariser, Justin Ruben, and the whole MoveOn PAC team,” the Soros front group stated: “In the last year, grassroots contributors like us gave more than $300 million to the Kerry campaign and the DNC, and proved that the Party doesn’t need corporate cash to be competitive. Now it’s our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we’re going to take it back.”

To clarify, the hysterical Left believes not only that America’s oldest political party is for sale, but that George Soros has already made the down payment.

Such a view would line up with Soros’ own designs. The New Yorker’s Jane Mayer (no conservative, she) quotes an unidentified friend describing the billionaire leftist’s modus operandi: “Money is just a tool for him. It’s how he manipulates a lot of things in his life.” Soros spent $18 million in his attempt to buy this year’s presidential election. Now he’s setting his sights a little lower, but his desire to “manipulate” our democracy remains.

MoveOn’s contemptuous assertion comes the weekend Democratic state party officials are to meet, interview, and potentially endorse candidates seeking to head the Democratic National Committee. MoveOn has set up a campaign urging its followers to warn party officials against electing a centrist. Such a scenario, the e-mail assures, is a political loser.

Under outgoing DNC chair Terry McAuliffe, the Party cozied up to many of the same corporate donors that fund the Republicans – drug companies, HMO’s, media conglomerates, big banks, polluting industries. The result was watered down, play-it-safe politics that kept the money flowing but alienated traditional Democrats as well as reform-minded independents in search of vision and integrity. And so the Party lost ground.

Aside from Stalinist-like references to “the Party,” the most striking feature of the e-mail is its historical amnesia: it was exactly this formula that allowed Democrats to twice win the presidency.

This same blindness is displayed in an Arianna Huffington column the e-mail cites. Arianna, who ran the 2000 “Shadow Conventions” with Soros money, castigates moderate Democrats who hope the party will take its national drubbing as a signal to move rightward. She asks, “Have these people learned nothing from 2000, 2002 and 2004? How many more concession speeches do they have to give – from ‘the center’ – before they realize it’s not a very fruitful place?” Yet none of these races was run from the center: Al Gore ran his 2000 campaign on the theme of “The People vs. the Powerful”; in 2002, Congressional Democrats ran as the party that valued UN decrees over national defense and collective bargaining above airport security; and, Americans Coming Together, and the full Shadow Party apparatus ran the show in 2004. Despite the formula’s proven failure, Arianna claims, “The party needs a chairman able to drive a stake through the heart of its bankrupt GOP-lite strategy and champion the populist economic agenda that has already proven potent at the ballot box in many conservative parts of the country.”

The Shadow Party again walks in lockstep on this issue. Bill Moyers’ favorite pet publication, The American Prospect, is also pushing for a more leftist party. TAP recently published an article by David Sirota that hailed diving into the Left’s fever swamps as “The Democrats Da Vinci Code.” Sirota calls for tough “us-versus-them red meat, straight talk about how the system is working against ordinary Americans.” This Bob Shrum psuedo-populism has been the touch of death to every presidential candidate who’s ever towed his rhetorical line. Nonetheless, Sirota claims this recipe is working. His proof? Socialist Bernie Sanders winning in Vermont, and über-liberal Ted Strickland carrying a safe Democratic district in economically depressed southern Ohio (which, like depressed inner cities, has been run by his fellow Democrats for a generation). Strickland, incidentally, ran unopposed this year.

Sirota also claims his advice to lurch leftward is vindicated by the success of Mississippi Congressman Gene Taylor. Sirota is right that Taylor is no moderate: he’s racked up a conservative voting record that would be the envy of many Republicans. One of five House Democrats who voted to impeach President Clinton, Taylor voted for the invasion of Iraq, earned an A-rating from the National Rifle Association, supported oil-drilling in ANWR, co-sponsored the Federal Marriage Amendment, and voted to cap medical malpractice suits. He is also a pro-life Democrat who has a zero percent voting record from NARAL. Sirota is right that Gene Taylor presents a winning paradigm for Democrats, but for precisely the opposite reasons he suggests.

The likely intended beneficiary of the MoveOn PAC’s e-mail campaign is Howard Dean, who won the “virtual primary” and is actively campaigning for the DNC chairmanship on a hard-Left platform. “There’s only one thing Republican power brokers want more than for us to lurch to the left – and that’s for us to lurch to the right,” Dean told a George Washington University audience on Wednesday

However, the Shadow Party’s stealth candidate is Hillary Clinton confidant Harold Ickes. Soros funded Ickes’ Media Fund and Center for American Progress. George Soros consulted with both Ickes and Bill Moyers during the campaign.

When asked why he dedicated so much of his personal fortune into opposing President Bush, Soros said, “This is the most important election of my lifetime. These aren’t normal times. The ends justify every legal means possible.” Presumably, including buying a political party. Having already “bought” the party, Soros now wants the Democrats to pick someone who will allow him to act as its absentee owner. He wants to place the party formally under the control of the Shadow Party.

“I want my ideas to be heard,” Soros has pined. If MoveOn PAC successfully influences the party faithful in choosing the DNC chair, Soros’ ideas may find a new outlet. That may represent a great return on investment for George Soros, but it would be disastrous for Democrats…and America.

This article originally appeared as the lead story on Friday, December 10, 2004, on FrontPage Magazine.