Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Progressives are Getting It Together

Today felt like a big milestone was reached in the empowerment of progressives.

I was already impressed that MoveOn got all the candidates to participate in their Online Town Hall meeting. There was no filter between the questions that its members wanted asked, and the candidates.

But as I'm driving home from work tonight I hear the debate being broadcast on my local Air America station in Los Angeles (KTLK 1150). After the end of the debate, the president of Air America came on with the Eli Pariser of MoveOn, and made some comments about the candidates views on getting out of Iraq (Richardson was clear about getting out completely, the others were not). Then it became clear that MoveOn had coordinated all along with Air America Radio (AAR) to rebroadcast the Town Hall. (It turns out there are 34 AAR stations airing the Town Hall, many more than once.)

That makes for a pretty serious audience that will hear the event - many of them accidentally, like myself. It can only be a good thing to have Democratic primary voters hear the candidates answer the questions of the day in their own words.

But I haven't even gotten to the best part yet. MoveOn had an email waiting for me (I'm a member) which let me vote for the candidate I think is best able to lead the country out of Iraq. Members get to pass judgment - it's not up to pundits to spin what it is we supposedly think. Sure, this vote reflects members' judgments at this moment in time, but nonetheless, it will give an important indication of where active anti-war Democrats are at and send a signal on this issue to all the candidates.

Then, to top it off, after voting in the poll, I was provided an opportunity on the MoveOn website to donate to the candidate I just chose. This is powerful because it allows MoveOn to account for all the money given to candidates for their anti-war stances. If people who were moved to donate to a candidate as a result of this Town Hall, as I was for Richardson, had to go to the candidate's website, there would be no way for MoveOn or anybody else to know that was the reason for the donation. By doing this, MoveOn will be able to give the anti-war coalition "credit" for every dollar we've donated in support of ending the war.

The progressive infrastructure has a long way to go to catch up to the right-wing's, but by having the different parts of it working together it is proving that it can be a force. It's great to see it all coming together.

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