MoveOn and the U.S. Congress
Note: This article covers issues regarding the relationship between MoveOn and the U.S. Congress. See also the main article on MoveOn.
MoveOn's "General Betray Us" ad
On September 20, 2007, in a vote of 72 to 25 the Senate approved a resolution to denounce MoveOn.org's "General Betray Us" New York Times advertisement. The ad suggested that General Petraeus's September testimony on progress in Iraq was overly optimistic and heavily influenced by politics.
After the ad was published, it came under attack by Republicans, stating that it was unpatriotic to question General Petraeus's integrity. Republicans called on Democrats to join in their criticism of MoveOn's statement.
Senator Barack Obama (D-Ill.), who had canceled appearances on his Presidential campaign trail to be in Washington for votes, was absent for the vote on MoveOn.org. Obama called the resolution “a stunt," and that “By not casting a vote, I registered my protest against these empty politics.” Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) also did not vote. <USvoteinfo year="2007" chamber="senate" rollcall="344" />
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) proposed a similar amendment, calling for the Senate to “strongly condemn all attacks on the honor, integrity and patriotism” of anyone in the United States armed forces. This amendment received support from many Democrats who opposed the bill specifically condemning MoveOn.org, including Presidential hopefuls Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), and Chris Dodd (D-Conn.). <USvoteinfo year="2007" chamber="senate" rollcall="343" />
Executive director of MoveOn.org Political Action Eli Pariser commented, “What’s disgusting is that the president has more interest in political attacks than developing an exit strategy to get our troops out of Iraq and end this awful war.”
House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-Ohio) commented, “Because the leaders of the current majority had refused to allow a vote on this important resolution, House Republicans took action to force an up-or-down vote today. General Petraeus and the men and women of our armed forces deserve our strongest support, and while the measure passed with significant bipartisan support, it is troubling that so many Democrats still voted to condone this attack defaming the general.”
<USvoteinfo year="2007" chamber="house" rollcall="910" />
Executive director of MoveOn.org’s Political Action Committee, Eli Pariser defended MoveOn's actions, saying "with every passing day, more information comes to light casting more and more doubt on the validity of the facts and conclusions presented by General Petraeus in his testimony before Congress."
Criticism of congressional votes
"The "General Betray Us" ad "exposed those in government as representative of someone or something other than the American people.
"Consider that the majority of the public shares the sentiment of MoveOn's ad, not in the petty title of it, but in its content. The majority of the public which shares this opinion is also the majority of the voting public to whom these politicians in office are beholden, right?
"Yet the President held full court to denounce the public. The Senate Republicans and 20 Democrats held full court to rebuke the public. The paid propagandists ran out with pen in hand to reprimand the public. TV screens were filled from channel to channel by the mobilized shills all condemning the public. And the corporate owned 'grassroots' organization called Freedom's Watch wasted no time in creating and distributing its own ad vilifying the public. Does this not strike anyone as strange?
"If the majority of the public shares this sentiment, then who are all these people rushing forth to defend? Who is this highly organized, well funded condemnation of the American public for? The only conclusion that can be reached is that the people who voted to rebuke the American people do not represent the American people. It is that simple. Whoever the elected officials in office are beholden to, it is most certainly not the public," Alexandrovna wrote.
"Every elected official who voted for condemning roughly 3 million Americans for something so fundamentally protected by the Constitution as the freedom to disagree with the President - does not represent us. Whoever they represent, it is not us."
Articles and resources
Related SourceWatch resources
- Roll Call Vote in the Senate, September 20, 2007
- David Herszenhorn, "Senate Approves Resolution Denouncing MoveOn.org Ad," The New York Times, September 21, 2007.
- Klaus Marre, "House overwhelmingly condemns MoveOn ad," The Hill, September 26, 2007.
- Roll Call Vote in the House, September 26th, 2007
- Larisa Alexandrovna, "Our Cold Civil War...," The Huffington Post, October 5, 2007.