Friday, September 05, 2008

MoveOn.Org Tells Me What to Write

I'm on's email list. They really don't like Governor Palin, and they want me to write my newspaper and tell them all about it. They've even told me what to write. (Now I see where you get your talking points from, DL) Their sources for their assertions? Why, of course. Oh, and that other bastion of honest reporting and impartiality, ThinkProgress. At least it wasn't DailyKos.

Dear MoveOn member,

Did you watch Sarah Palin's speech last night? The speech told us a lot about her.

It told us that she can distort the facts and deliver mean-spirited zingers with the best of them. It told us that if Rush Limbaugh or Ann Coulter ever need a stand-in, she'd be a great pick.

It told us that she can be condescending and dismissive of the real work Barack Obama did helping real people on the South Side of Chicago. It told us that she can uphold the long Republican tradition of lying about Democratic tax cuts—even though Obama's plan would give Americans a bigger break than McCain's.

But the speech—written by one of President Bush's speechwriters—didn't tell us the truth about Sarah Palin's extremist positions. And the more that people know her far-right views, the less they support her. (There's a partial list below.)

One of the best ways to get the word out about Palin is to write a letter to the editor of your local paper. Today's a great day to write because this is very relevant—it just happened last night. Plus, our online tool makes it easy and has great tips. Please take a few minutes to write a quick letter to the editor now:

Palin's speech and the reaction to it also made clear why McCain picked her. It wasn't a decision about who's most qualified to serve a heart-beat away from the presidency—it was a political decision about pleasing the far-right base of the Republican party.

Writing a letter to your local paper is a great way to make sure voters understand that. The opinion pages are the most widely-read pages of the newspaper. Write today, and your letter's a lot more likely to get published because it's so topical. It'll help sway the editorial board too.

Here are a bunch of points you might want to include in your letter:

* Palin recently said that the war in Iraq is "God's task." She's even admitted she hasn't thought about the war much—just last year she was quoted saying, "I've been so focused on state government, I haven't really focused much on the war in Iraq." 1, 2
* Palin has actively sought the support of the fringe Alaska Independence Party. Six months ago, Palin told members of the group—who advocate for a vote on secession from the union—to "keep up the good work" and "wished the party luck on what she called its 'inspiring convention.'" 3
* Palin wants to teach creationism in public schools. She hasn't made clear whether she thinks evolution is a fact.4
* Palin doesn't believe that humans contribute to global warming. Speaking about climate change, she said, "I'm not one though who would attribute it to being manmade." 5
* Palin has close ties to Big Oil. Her inauguration was even sponsored by BP. 6
* Palin is extremely anti-choice. She doesn't even support abortion in the case of rape or incest. 7
* Palin opposes comprehensive sex-ed in public schools. She's said she will only support abstinence-only approaches. 8
* As mayor, Palin tried to ban books from the library. Palin asked the library how she might go about banning books because some had inappropriate language in them—shocking the librarian, Mary Ellen Baker. According to Time, "news reports from the time show that Palin had threatened to fire Baker for not giving "full support" to the mayor." 9
* She DID support the Bridge to Nowhere (before she opposed it). Palin claimed that she said "thanks, but no thanks" to the infamous Bridge to Nowhere. But in 2006, Palin supported the project repeatedly, saying that Alaska should take advantage of earmarks "while our congressional delegation is in a strong position to assist." 10

The plain fact of the matter is that Sarah Palin did a bang-up job delivering a Karl Rove-style political attack speech last night. That makes her a skilled politician but it doesn't make her views any more palatable for voters. Americans don't really want another far-right, anti-science ideologue in the White House.

Please help get the word out about where Sarah Palin really stands on the issues.

Thanks for all you do.

–Nita, Ilyse, Wes, Karin and the rest of the team
Not only does this email give me my talking points for a letter that will hopefully "help sway the editorial board", but it's noteworthy in that after almost a week of unrelenting criticism and rumor mongering about Governor Palin, it finally gives grudging respect to Senator McCain's choice as our next Vice President. Not that the rumor mongering will end, mind you. The talking points in this email are evidence of that. But it does reveal that Democrats are beginning to understand that Palin has completely changed this race.

And they're right to be worried.


Steve said...

But those are all true. This is what grassroots activism is all about. You create a solid message and spread it around. Much like the bigots that send around the Obama is a Muslim emails and the like. It's effective.

Curious as to why you are on's email list....

Charles D said...

For the record, I do not read Think Progress or Daily Kos and am not on the MoveOn mailing list. In fact, I am often at odds with MoveOn, both for its tactics and its top-down management.

That said, the bullet points here certainly are not "rumor-mongering". All of them can be easily researched and proven accurate in a few moments, from established mainstream sources.

About the grudging respect... If one should respect John McCain's hypocrisy in making a purely political choice to be a faint heartbeat away from the Presidency while festooning the convention floor with "Country First" banners, then hey grudge me in. If one should respect the ability of a politician to read effectively from a teleprompter, then I respect almost all of them.

It is very instructive that the McCain campaign intends to keep Palin far away from any venues where she might be called on to answer unscripted questions with the cameras rolling. That's probably a really smart strategy when you have a candidate who can't answer those questions.

Cameron said...


I ordered a free Obama/Biden button from them, and the hook was set.

I also understand that these emails are a great way to spread information the group believes to be valuable, and that will get people motivated to action - like writing letters to the editor. All groups do it, and I think it's great. It's a wonderful part of our technology/information era.

I also realize they think they're mailing someone who trusts them, but if I'm going to be convinced of their claims, or that their claims even matter, then they'll have to do better than themselves and thinkprogress as sources.

Cameron said...


I'll just have to take your word on not reading Kos, or ThinkProgress or MovOn, but I have to admit that the first thing I thought of when reading this email were the comments you left on my previous posts. Lots of synergies there.

The liberal sites like those listed above have been raging with unfounded, sickening rumor mongering since day one of Gov Palin's nomination. Every last drop of information coming from them is now tainted. In their blind hatred of "Rovian" politics, they have become even more putrid caricatures of the man they despise.

And, DL, your entire third paragraph further illustrates that you don't fully grasp the point I have been making.

Every time you or anyone else brings up the assertion that Gov Palin is too inexperienced to be "a heartbeat from the presidency" it only highlights the fact that Obama's inexperience shows "hypocrisy in making a purely political choice" to run for president himself. That's not good judgment.

As I pointed out earlier, neither he, nor his running mate, nor every other candidate he faced in the primary believed he had enough experience to run for president.

Which is why he now finds himself running against the Republican nominee for Vice President.

Charles D said...

I will certainly concede that Obama is not the person I would hire for the Presidency if I were the employer, but we are forced to choose between 2 candidates in this country, and quite often neither is ideal. In the current instance, like most others, we must choose the least bad candidate. That candidate is Obama.

Again, my complaint is more about McCain's hypocrisy than it is about Palin. Here's a guy who campaigned for a year on experience being so key to the job, then hires a VP with none. Here's a guy who festoons his convention with "Country First" banners, then hires a VP based solely on political considerations who has never in her career put the interests of her constituents above her political agenda.

Those who oppose the failed policies of the Republican Party don't need to resort to rumors about Palin's family. All we need to do is ask the people of Alaska what they think about their Governor. Her record of vindictiveness and corruption speaks for itself, rumor mongering is unnecessary.

Steve said...

I have to back up DL here, espcially since it his second paragraph is MY talking points I have put on other blogs! haha.

I too agree that the whole "experience" comparison is pointless, but it clearly shows the hypocracy and pandering McCain has resorted to; such a "maverick" decision.

And the more I learn about Palin, the more I hate her more than McCain for being more of the same. She took LOTS of earmarks, now she is against them, for instance.

I think the biggest mistake McCain has made is that now everyone is talking about Palin and no one remembers that McCain is running for President. Although, maybe that was his plan all along.

Frank Staheli said...

Queue "Twilight Zone" musical score. It's already happening. Here's a link to a image taken of one such letter to the BYU Daily Universe on 9/8/08.

(If BYU was keeping up on putting their opinion stuff on their internet site, I would have linked directly...)

Cameron said...

Ask the people of Alaska what they think of their governor? You mean the governor who enjoys the highest approval rating of any in the entire United States? The governor with a better than 80% approval rating?

I think that criteria is a loser for you as well, DL.

As is your next line of attack:

"...don't need to resort to rumors about Palin's family."

I wish that were true. But the Democratic Party has really shown its true colors here. Rumor mongering has been the only thing the party faithful have done since Gov. Palin was named as the nominee. Even the article you linked above was based on an "anonymous" waitress making outlandish, unsubstantiated claims. The whole thing reeks of, "nobody will say anything bad about the Governor, but that's because she's evil! Yes sirree, she's got an astronomical approval rating because she forces people into giving a thumbs up for her in those anonymous surveys."

It's an article containing this gem:

"No wonder the vast sea of white, cheering faces at the Republican Convention went wild for Sarah: They adore the type, it’s in their genetic code."

How incredibly juvenile.

And how incredibly typical that Democrats would think an opinion piece containing an assertion as asinine as this one is somehow "proof" that Gov. Palin is the caricature you want to scare everyone into believing she is.

Cameron said...

Thanks Frank.

It's a freakin' feedback loop. reports that ThinkProgress reported that MoveOn wrote that Palin thinks the Iraq War is ordained of God.

Must write outraged letter using this proof in order to convince everyone to be as outraged as me! Me and

Charles D said...

Cameron, before you write that letter, look on YouTube for the video of Palin speaking at her church where she makes that comment about the Iraq War. There's enough stuff on YouTube to sink both McCain and Palin.

Cameron said...

For a little journalistic balance, in response to the "Alaskans live in daily fear of Gestapo-like Palin" piece linked to previously:

"She Thumped 'Em"

Mark said...

Cameron, I don't understand, They name those points off as if they are bad things. What is bad about not killing babies, drilling for oil, believing evolution is a myth, understanding that the myth of Global warming is a myth, etc?

And what's the point about the bridge to nowhere? She thought it was a good idea at first and then she changed her mind. So what? Does think that changing ones mind disqualifys them to run for national office? If they do, they better drop their support for Obama rama ding dong.

Do they mention she vetoed a half a billion dollars in earmarks, at the same time Obama was inserting over $900,000.00 in earmarks?