Letters

Readers weigh in on the MoveOn ad controversy and the financing of fundamentalism.


Salon Staff
January 9, 2004 4:17AM (UTC)

[Read "Ad Blusters" by Joan Walsh.]

The cumulative effect of articles like Max Blumenthal's and Joan Walsh's leads me to the following conclusion: The right wing wants liberals to have no think tanks, no advocacy groups, no media outlets, no advertisements, and even no churches.

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Perhaps Bush is not Hitler, but if these people aren't fascists, who is?

-- Denise Giardina

Though unintended, Walsh's examination of the ad controversy plays right into the GOP's hands.

She paints an accurate picture of the right wing's smear tactics in her article: They lie again and again until the media is bullied into accepting the lie as common wisdom. Yet, oddly, Walsh's advice to progressives appears to be that we spend an inordinate amount of time screening and censoring ourselves to avoid giving the Right anything to use.

Given the Right's willingness to make up stuff out of thin air, the last thing progressives should do is invest more time in trying to be safe from GOP attacks. There is no "safe." Let's hit back instead. At least we don't have to lie.

-- Josh Hilgart

The irony here is that, as I read your column, I was becoming less critical of Moveon.org and actually beginning to consider whether they had something thoughtful and provocative to add to the popular political discourse.

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Then I found out that one of the finalists of the contest is the author of this ad.

Face it: The loony left has highjacked the Democratic Party and they are there to stay.

-- Reuben Owens

Frankly, I don't think Moveon or any other Democratic entity should apologize for this ad or any other that shows Bush's failures. Too often the Republicans call the rules for American politics while the Democrats cower -- and then the Democratic Party wonders why it's so hard to recruit new Democrats!

I am a longtime Democrat, but I wouldn't send a dime to the castrated DNC. Instead, I'll send my money to the Dean and Kucinich campaigns, because they have the guts and passion and patriotic love for this country that allow them to bravely stand up and say what is truth.

Is Bush comparable to Hitler? Let the people decide, just like they were given the opportunity to decide if Max Cleland, a decorated war veteran who gave his limbs for his country, was comparable to Osama bin Laden. Has the GOP/RNC apologized for that? Hell no, and the DNC doesn't have the balls to demand it.

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Moveon needs to stand up for the First Amendment, or force the RNC empire to apologize for their tacky tactics.

-- Stacy Montgomery

Well, I went to the Moveon.org Web site, and reviewed all the 30-second spots, and all I can say is if this is the best the "grass-roots" liberal organization has to offer, then Bush need not worry.

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Although all these ads speak excellently to liberal outrage at Bush's policies and agendas, they do little to actually reach anyone who isn't already converted to this particular point of view. You don't sell soda A by implying that only nerds drink soda B; you have to show people that the cool kids drink soda A as well, or else you only serve to encourage the drinking of soda C.

In similar fashion, you do not promote a Democratic candidate simply by saying Bush is bad. Only by offering a real alternative, based on sound centrist ideas, can the left take power. Without this, the left is simply a whiny voice in the wilderness decrying the status quo and offering nothing.

I will say, today my vote is the left's to lose. I have no great love for Bush, or many of his policies, but Moveon has done nothing to encourage me to vote for the eventual Democratic candidate.

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Saying "Bush is a stupid liar, and so's his old man" is the argument of children on a playground. By using this argument the left only reinforces their image as ivory towerists with no interest in why people might agree with opinions different than their own.

-- Charlie Esser

I suppose right-wingers who criticize the two ads which compare Bush to Hitler in Moveon's contest have a point -- it's not an appropriate comparison. Mussolini would be much more accurate -- a dim, blustery, unimaginative despot who got to where he did by riding the malevolent coattails of others.

-- Bryan Hurst

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[Read "Avenging Angel of the Religious Right" by Max Blumenthal.]

Max Blumenthal writes that the Ahmanson-funded Discovery Institute has hailed the Texas textbook outcome as a "major victory." He would have done a greater service to his readers to note that the institute's attempts at "correcting" high school textbooks failed dismally, and that virtually none of the changes that they lobbied for were put into effect. The only concessions they got were minor and irrelevant, and the textbooks will be just as strong in their treatment of evolution as before.

The victory dance by the Discovery Institute says a lot more about the depth of their dishonesty than it does about their political effectiveness. When the resolution on the final slate of textbooks was adopted over their objections, the institute just turned around and disingenuously claimed that the resolution was what they wanted all along. Shouts of a glorious victory over the demoralized enemy soon followed. These shouts of triumph are nothing more than propaganda.

Howard Ahmanson might be sincere in his support for "Bible based" causes, but he doesn't mind giving his money to people who bear false witness when it furthers their agenda.

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-- Steve Reuland

It's always a devil's bargain to be made: If I get power over the system, by using whatever means necessary, then I can make things right. Ahmanson thinks that the purging of the liberal left will then help the church.

What it will instead do is ruin everybody's day, spiritually speaking. Hate and envy, fear and loathing -- those are the seeds planted by Ahmanson's activities.

I would appeal to those swayed and those hurt by Ahmanson's influence that they reject his divisive, worldly mixing of politics and religion, and that they start finding the common ground that we all have.

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-- Stephen Daugherty


Salon Staff

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