PR Watch’s John Stauber took on the Obama administration and the “antiwar” movement in a recent series of posts on his blog. I’ve compiled them here:
Afghan Escalation OK with MoveOn, Anti-War Insiders
Washington Post blogger Greg Sargent noted last week that “President Obama’s announcement of an escalation in the American presence in Afghanistan is being met with mostly silence – and even some support – from the most influential liberal groups who opposed the Iraq War. ... MoveOn.org … declined to make any public statement about Obama’s Afghan policies in response to my queries. An official close to the group confirmed to me that MoveOn wouldn’t be saying anything in the near term. ... Nor will we hear anything from Americans United for Change, which ran $600,000 worth of TV ads against the Iraq War in the summer of 2007. ‘Americans United for Change doesn’t plan to comment on President Obama’s new strategy,’ a spokesperson for the group, Lauren Weiner, just emailed. Jon Soltz, the head of VoteVets … came out in support of Obama’s Afghan strategy in an Op Ed with The Huffington Post. ... Liberal groups don’t want to distract from passing Obama’s enormous domestic agenda. ... And officials with some of these groups don’t want to lose inside influence with the White House.”
Source: The Plum Line Blog, March 27, 2009
Progressive Media – A PR War Room for Obama
Liberal think tanks and advocacy organizations formed during the Bush/Cheney regime are working in close and well-funded coordination as a PR messaging machine for the Obama Administration’s foreign and domestic policies. A Washington Post blog noted that the Center for American Progress is now running Progressive Media which was begun by Tom Matzzie and David Brock in 2008 and now “represents a serious ratcheting up of efforts to present a united liberal front in the coming policy wars.” Progressive Media is a joint project with CAP and Brock’s Media Matters Action Network and “headed by well-known liberal operative Tara McGuinness.” Matzzie recently reminisced about his work with MoveOn’s “Tara McGuinness, Eli Pariser and others” organizing Americans Against Escalation in Iraq. Today MoveOn, USAction and others in that coalition are working hard to push Obama’s policies, including rationalizlng or defending his escalation of the wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan as “sustainable security”
How Obama Took Over the Peace Movement
John Podesta’s liberal think tank the Center for American Progress strongly supports Barack Obama’s escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan. This is best evidenced by Sustainable Security in Afghanistan, a CAP report by Lawrence J. Korb. Podesta served as the head of Obama’s transition team, and CAP’s support for Obama’s wars is the latest step in a successful co-option of the US peace movement by Obama’s political aids and the Democratic Party.
CAP and the five million member liberal lobby group MoveOn were behind Americans Against Escalation in Iraq (AAEI), a coalition that spent tens of millions of dollars using Iraq as a political bludgeon against Republican politicians, while refusing to pressure the Democratic Congress to actually cut off funding for the war. AAEI was operated by two of Barack Obama’s top political aids, Steve Hildebrand and Paul Tewes, and by Brad Woodhouse of Americans United for Change and USAction. Today Woodhouse is Obama’s Director of Communications and Research for the Democratic National Committee.
He controls the massive email list called Obama for America composed of the many millions of people who gave money and love to the Democratic peace candidate and might be wondering what the heck he is up to in Afghanistan and Pakistan. MoveOn built its list by organizing vigils and ads for peace and by then supporting Obama for president; today it operates as a full-time cheerleader supporting Obama’s policy agenda. Some of us saw this unfolding years ago. Others are probably shocked watching their peace candidate escalating a war and sounding so much like the previous administration in his rationale for doing so.