Yesterday the Senate, in a show of brazen balllessness, condemned an ad by Move On. The now infamous “Betray Us” ad, a witty play on a general’s name stirred up more junk than it was effective. Somewhere in all that junk the message was lost, and any impact the ad may have had on the debate in Congress about Iraq was held hostage to manufactured outrage. Good going guys.
I think the person that has the best perspective on this is General Wesley Clark. In the linked interview with Matt Stoller of Open Left, Clark calls the ad a “big mistake tactically”. I agree with him.
The Move On ad distracts us from the real culprit in the deception, George W. Bush. Patreaus may be presenting the best face of a terrible situation, but he is not the one that put us there, George W. Bush and an overly compliant and complacent Congress did. In attacking the General, Move On effectively blamed the manager for the actions of the corporation. Or, more plainly, blamed the guy in charge of executing bad policy from above.
The unwavering resolve of the Bush Administration was never going to be swayed by an attack on a surrogate. President Bush is the individual responsible for what is going on, and should forevermore be the target of our ire. Additionally, General Patreaus has a responsibility to carry water for the Administration if so directed by the executive. He complied. The spokesman should never be held accountable for the actions of the client. He’s just doing his job.
To their credit, Move On did go after Bush a day or so later, but by then it was too late. The damage had been done, and all anyone was talking about was this stupid ad.
If the progressive movement wants to gain any traction in the nation, we need to start moving away from these one night stand advertising take downs. Sure they’re fun, and give us a thrill, but ultimately, we’re still sleeping alone. We need to be committed to a focused message. With that message we can actually start to influence the people and by extension, influence the debate. Without that, we’re just one step away from the Tin Foil Hat club.
I support any action to stop this stupid assed foreign policy we have in Iraq so long as the people making the decisions are the ones held accountable. Doing anything else is wasting our time, money and more importantly an opportunity to shift the debate by influencing others in our favor. That should be the ultimate goal.