Today, I received a letter from MoveOn.org, which I've included below.
Now, if you've been reading this blog for a while, you probably recall that I was an ardent supporter of Hillary Clinton. But I've also tried to make it clear all along that I didn't see the Democratic primaries as an angry "I better win or I'm not supportive" type of race. In fact, I have large and growing respect for Barack Obama, as mentioned here when I wrote "This is Leadership".
So, today, when I received this MoveOn.org email, I thought two things:
- Obama's campaign is super professional. Very smart, very organized and they really appear to outclass the competition when it comes to online marketing.
- Obama is extraordinary at demonstrating leadership.
When he announced that he was turning down public financing this week, he and his team took it and walked proudly, saying that they were opting out and why. They didn't shy away from it and they went strongly on the attack about the system and its loopholes. It's a system that McCain partially architected.
This is very politically savvy. It goes after one of McCain's strengths and makes it a conversation - early. This is important, because as the conversation grows and expands, digitally, it'll be more important come election time.
Additionally, I'm quite certain that this MoveOn.org announcement was not coincidentally timed. It was probably coordinated to demonstrate the support that Obama has from the "left", as it were. But it also does another thing - it proves that as he grows into this role of leadership, before our eyes, he is effective at leading organizations towards a different set of choices.
I'm very impressed Mr. Obama. Keep it up.
(the text of the MoveOn letter)
Dear MoveOn member,
For almost ten years, we've worked together to change American politics. Millions of us have collaborated to build a new progressive moment, catalyzed by the Internet and motivated by our belief that the country we love deserves better.
Now, in Barack Obama, we have a Presidential candidate who has based his campaign on precisely that kind of new politics—a people-driven politics focused on the outside-of-the-beltway consensus around Iraq, climate change, and health care, not the gridlock in Washington.
Using a lot of the tools and techniques developed by the progressive movement—as well as a visionary approach to leadership—Obama's brought millions of new people into the process. And, following in the footsteps of Howard Dean, ActBlue, and other innovators, he's adopted a new way of funding a campaign—relying on a donor base of millions rather than contributions by lobbyists and special interests.
It's a very exciting moment. And so the time has come to answer an important question: should we make an all-in commitment, together, to this new politics?
While MoveOn Political Action has always been funded exclusively by small donors like you, we've held open the MoveOn.org Voter Fund—a separate "527" organization—which can raise money from big donors. We haven't actually taken any big-money checks since 2004, when MoveOn members matched big contributors to educate voters about George Bush's policies. But in light of the new politics offered by Barack Obama, I've come to believe it's time to close the 527 forever—and to challenge organizations on the right to do the same thing.
That means that we won't raise any money for our election work from foundations, or even individuals who want to give over $5,000. It's an all-in commitment to the small-donor way of doing things. But the time is right to take the leap.
Not relying on big donors means that all of us, together, have to take responsibility. So before we sign the final paperwork, we need to know that you're in. Are you? Just click below to take the pledge and let us know:
And if you have any other thoughts or feedback for me on this decision, you can reply to firstname.lastname@example.org (I can't promise that I'll respond to all the emails, but I'll definitely read 'em).
We've come a long way together in our journey toward a new people-driven politics for America. It's been a wonderful honor to be part of it. And this is just the beginning.
–Eli and the whole team