I'm going through the e-mails and find one from Ben about a weasel posing as a moose and pushing bull. I was so angry (not at Ben), I went to the kitchen, grabbed a knife and popped the last blister so I could type up a little item on the Weasel.
Ben brings to our attention a creature called "the Moose." And Ben's not the only one writing on this, just the first e-mail I find on the topic.
The Moose is a weasel. He was a weasel before he came to the fringes of the Democratic party and he's a weasel now. Victoria Hopper, on the other hand, is someone we need to be defending and someone I'll vouch for.
The Moose is on a war path about the "babies" in Hollywood. That would include Victoria Hopper (who if I'm remembering correctly fund raised for Tom Daschle last summer -- not the only thing she did for the 2004 election, not the only thing she's ever done for the party.) But the Moose knows best and the Moose says it's time to send Hollywood packing.
Maybe it's time someone went hunting weasel? Time someone made it clear what the Weasel is exactly.
The Moose, just so everyone knows, loves to stir the sh*t. He learned how while working the other side until the other side couldn't provide for him anymore. Like an old hooker in search of a new pimp, he stumbled into the welcoming arms of the DLC.
So who is the Ferret Weasel: "Marshall Wittmann is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute and director of the Project for Conservative Reform." Sweet Marshall, fresh from the Heritage Foundation and the Christian Coalition and now he wants to claim our side -- lucky us.
Here's an online bio on the Weasel:
Marshall Wittmann is a senior fellow at the Hudson Institute . . .
Prior to joining the Institute, Wittmann held notable positions in government and private institutions. In the private sector, he served as the Heritage Foundation's director of congressional relations both for the U.S. House and Senate. Wittmann also served as the Christian Coalition's director of legislative affairs. In the Bush Administration, he served as the deputy assistant secretary for the Department of Health and Human Services.
Note the date on that entry if you click (if you don't, it's "04/10").
The Center for American Progress, in an article from June 10, 2004, identifies him this way:
Marshall Wittman, an analyst with the conservative Hudson Institute . . .
Here's Dana Milibank of the Washington Post noting the departure of Wittman from the Hudson Institute (courtesy of NOtesOnline):
Wittmann, late of the conservative Hudson Institute, will be leaving the Senate staff of John McCain (R-AZ), where he has been lately. Wittmann's move to the Democratic side may be awkward, but he's familiar with strange bedfellows; a practicing Jew, he once worked as a top official at the Christian Coalition. Wittmann becomes the second key McCain adviser, after John Weaver, to decamp to the Democratic side. The DLC's Bruce Reed welcomed Wittmann by saying, "the Democratic Party is the only place centrists and independents can call home."
The date on that NOtesOnline piece? October 2004. Why does it matter who the Weasel was working for until right before the election? I mean it's not like he was working for Heritage until recently, right?
Uh, it kind of is. Do you know about the Hudson Institute?
From Source Watch:
The Hudson Institute, is a hard-right activist think tank that advocates the abolition of government-backed Social Security and an end to corporate income taxes. It also campaigns heavily on environmental issues (pro-GM, anti-organic).
(Wonder now why Joe Lieberman -- DLC to the core -- isn't offering any leadership on Social Security? Well, obviously Lieberman and the Weasel have much in common that they can shoot the sh*t about in the DLC club house.)
Who funds Hudson?
Between 1987 and 2001, the Institute received $12,041,203 in 183 separate grants from only -- foundations: (http://www.mediatransparency.org/search_results/info_on_any_recipient.php?160)
Castle Rock Foundation
Koch Family Foundations (David H. Koch Foundation)
John M. Olin Foundation, Inc.
Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation
Scaife Foundations (Scaife Family, Sarah Mellon Scaife, Carthage)
Smith Richardson Foundation
Hollywood money "bad." Scaife money "good." Is that the story?
Who else is a Hudson "fellow?" Why little Frankie Luntz!
Again, we're letting this man attack Victoria Hooper and other real Democrats? This man who self-describes "independent" and until recently was on the Scaife/Olin/Koch/Bradley/et al dole?
Here's Matt Taibbi on The Bull Moose/Marshall Wittmann:
Marshall Wittmann, the former legislative director for the Christian Coalition and also a veteran talking head of such excellent organizations as the Heritage Foundation and the Hudson Institute (which hypes him as "one of the nation's most quoted analysts"), offers himself as a candidate for the chair of the Democratic Party. Wittmann, you see, is now an operative at the Democratic Leadership Council -- he got the policy operative spot that opened up when Al From and Bruce Reed were tipped off that their initial choice, Mobutu Sese Seko, had been dead for years. So they brought in Wittmann, whose chief credentials were that he used to stand guard for Ralph Reed at church rest rooms whenever the latter ducked out of evening mass to jerk off to Ranger Rick centerfolds.
Wittmann calls himself the "Bull Moose," and his blog, bullmooseblog.com, is one of two blogs funded and maintained by the Democratic Leadership Council. The other, as previously noted in this space, is the no-less-loathsome newdonkey.com, maintained by the noted corporate whore and windbag, Will Marshall.
A moose, and a donkey. The Democratic Leadership Council, it seems, is a place where soulless 50-year-old men can dress up in Garanimals and e-gloat about shooting our votes into space. It is really too bad the guillotine has gone out of style.
So let me get this right, Hollywood "bad": **** head who spent the better part of his life declaring war on the rights of women and others "good."
Is that what the story will be?
No, I don't think so.
And I don't think we find common ground with refugees from the Christian Coalition who are still practicing the same tar and feather the left only now they're pretending to be Democrats.
(Wasn't Weasel claiming "independent" not that long ago? October 4th, in fact? Why would an "independent" be trusted over a real Democrat?)
How disgusting do you have to be that the Heritage Foundation turns on you?
The Weasel's no David Brock. David Brock had an awakening. I don't trash Brock here and don't intend to. People can change. But the Weasel hasn't changed. He still holds dearly to the same ideas he used to. Sure he works it for the DLC now, but hey, they waive the dollar bills that pad out his g-string now, don't they?
And the DLC is the fringe of the Democratic party, the fringe that just won't go away. (Maybe they think they'll catch some of that Joe-mentum? Didn't work for Lieberman, won't work for them. Unless we're too stupid to realize who and what they are.)
Now Bull Moose/Weasel tries to cover his tracks these days. But who and what he is remains in the public record. And if someone else wants to argue that we should attempt to all get along and not knock or mock him (while he's arguing -- in racist terms -- that a Sister Souljah needs to be pulled on Victoria and the others involved), they're sadly mistaken.
If someone wants to chat up the Weasel, that's their issue. Make sure you're prepared with the truth about the Weasel.
Victoria Hopper has given her time, her energy and her money to progressive causes.
If it's too much for you to come to her defense, then maybe you better pack it in because this isn't Sophie's Choice here, this is fairly straight forward: you support progressives or you support rejects from the Heritage Foundation who spent most of 2004 on the right wing echo chamber dole.
You support people who've given their all to the party or you support someone who slinks in on the fringes, begging for an invite, and then doesn't have the good manners to wait until he's finished devouring the meal before he starts in how bad he thinks it is -- talking with his mouth full.
Bull Weasel's a bad dinner guest with bad manners and bad breath.
Polite is not saying immediately, "Get the hell out of here." Polite isn't saying, "Don't mock him."
Don't knock the mock.
Humorists, satirists, comedians have long realized the power of a well timed joke.
Don't knock the mock.
One of the most successful campaign "materials" in 2004 was the animated series Republican Survivor. People signed up to watch that and to vote in it. It was nothing but mockery (with a point) and it was well received. (It was also noted by many members that the animated cartoon was the only time they were contacted by any Democratic organization with something other than "send money." Dems would do well to develop other such tools. They also should have offered the series on a DVD after it was over because 25 members noted they would have paid as much as $35 to own that.) It got people talking, it got people involved.
Weasel's slamming a 2-by-4 into Victoria Hopper's face. Is that surprising? Considering what you know of the DLC? Considering what you now know of the Weasel? Here at The Common Ills, we aren't going to worry about the use of humor and mockery. We'll fret over a real issue.
We'll mock and we'll live in the reality-based world. We won't be a Weasel pretending to be helpful. We won't be the DLC aping Blanche Du Bois as they go on and on about their glory days.
(One longs for a Stanley to come along and rip open their trunk to expose the reality of their so-called glory days.)
The DLC pushes their tired (and damaging) "triangulation" while they claim that it's the thing that got Clinton elected in 1992. Triangulation isn't calling for an end to the ban on gays serving in the military. (Something Clinton called for in 1992.) Triangulation had nothing to do with Bill Clinton's call for universal health care.
The DLC loves to claim credit for any victory and loves to shift the blame for any loss. The reality is that they've had very little success. (Take Simon Rosenberg's recent ill fated run for DNC chair.) Yeah, they raised a little money. And yeah, they've got enough money to run their propaganda mill.
But reality on the campaign trail bore out that the DLC was worthless in the 1992 presidential election. (It can be argued, however, that they were effective in the 1992 Democratic primary where they slashed and burned like crazy.)
Victoria Hopper's concerns for the state of the Democratic party aren't strange offshoots. They reflect the base of the party. (Something the DLC never has done -- some would say, never wanted to do.)
In her most recent column, Ruth Conniff ("Standing Their Ground") wonders of Joe Lieberman, "Why is this man even a Democrat?" Good question. She also (rightly) notes:
American Prospect Editor Paul Starr, in a January 26 op-ed in The New York Times, put forward the theory that the Democrats are now paying the price for having made the great liberal gains of the last century through the courts and executive fiat. Roe v. Wade, civil rights laws, and other federal triumphs of liberalism were ahead of the curve, Starr writes. Imposed by the Supreme Court and the executive branch from above, they were always vulnerable to overthrow by an unconvinced populace. Fair enough. But instead of arguing that the Democrats should build a stronger grassroots movement, Starr goes on to assert that what the Democrats should do is compromise and agree to chip away at abortion rights and affirmative action, in order to appease Red State voters.
This sort of thinking is why Hillary Clinton extended an olive branch to the anti-abortion crowd. But it is a grave mistake. The Republicans have made their grassroots gains in the states and nationally by taking exactly the opposite tack. They have fired up their base by appeals to their party's most cherished principles. Especially on the issue of abortion, the Democrats actually enjoy the advantage of a majority pro-choice consensus in public opinion polls. It's absurd to capitulate to a minority of aggressive rightwingers. Worse, it is the seeming shiftlessness of Democratic candidates that makes them so unappealing.
The Weasel's trying to score points off Victoria Hopper being "of Hollywood." Earlier the same creeps tried to make "values" a deciding factor in the election (Frank Rich rightly refuted that lie). This is about shifting the party to the right. Now you either stand up against this or you don't. It's not that difficult.
Either you believe the party needs to reflect the base or you don't.
These aren't difficult decisions. And with 2006 coming up, you better decide what you stand for because the 1992 gender quake happened for a reason. Just as the gender quake benefitted Dems in 1992, if the actions of leadership continue down this push-to-the-right road, we can see the Democratic party lose their strongest base. Read Ruth Conniff's column. Read Matt Taibbi's article. Avoid the Weasel and should he come up in a conversation, mock and mock freely.
[Note: This post has been corrected to include a link to Ruth Conniff's column which appears in The Progressive. And to clear up one of my usual badly worded sentences. Thanks to Kara and Shirley for their catches on this post.]