In the beginning of the year, Hillary Clinton had to stave off challenges, real and potential, from her Left. Bernie Sanders jumps in the race? Hillary becomes even more progressive than the Socialist from Vermont. Elizabeth Warren considers tossing her hat in the ring? Hillary becomes the Occupy in Occupy Wall Street, despite the Clintons having accepted more than $35 million in speaking fees from the financial industry over the past 14 years. Team Hillary couldn’t pander enough to progressives over the past several months, as long as they felt threatened by those challenges.
Now that Hillary looks like she can cruise to the nomination, all of a sudden progressive groups can’t get on her busy schedule. And not just any progressive group, mind you, but the one that originally formed to defend her husband:
Hillary Clinton declined to participate in a virtual presidential candidates’ forum hosted by MoveOn.org, snubbing one of the largest progressive groups that claims 8 million members.
All three Democratic candidates were invited to participate in the forum, which involved the candidates answering questions submitted by MoveOn members via video, but only Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley agreed. Video of their answers was released Tuesday afternoon.
“It’s a shame that Secretary Clinton declined to participate in the MoveOn member forum,” said Anna Galland, the executive director of MoveOn.org Civic Action, in a statement to MSNBC. “She missed an opportunity to speak directly to and energize the progressive base she’ll need in her corner not just to win the nomination but also the general election, if she is the party’s nominee.”
Team Hillary still remembers that MoveOn.org endorsed Barack Obama in 2007, fueling his prodigious fundraising in his challenge to Hillary Coronation 1.0. This time around, Hillary’s campaign has locked up much of the establishment donor base, so perhaps they’re less concerned that MoveOn’s fundraising will go to Sanders or O’Malley. At the time, as MSNBC notes, Hillary ripped MoveOn as a fringe group:
“Moveon.org endorsed [Sen. Barack Obama] — which is like a gusher of money that never seems to slow down,” Clinton said to a meeting of donors. “We have been less successful in caucuses because it brings out the activist base of the Democratic Party. MoveOn didn’t even want us to go into Afghanistan. I mean, that’s what we’re dealing with. And you know they turn out in great numbers. And they are very driven by their view of our positions, and it’s primarily national security and foreign policy that drives them. I don’t agree with them. They know I don’t agree with them. So they flood into these caucuses and dominate them and really intimidate people who actually show up to support me.”
So yes, there’s not exactly much friendliness between Hillary and MoveOn, but at least the latter seemed open to letting bygones be bygones. Furthermore, Hillary explicitly ran in 2007-8 as an establishment Democrat, promising a return of the cut-rate Camelot into which her sycophants attempted to build the Clinton presidency. MoveOn didn’t move away from Hillary as much as Hillary moved away from MoveOn, and the progressive group could hardly be faulted for picking the Leftist in the 2008 Democratic primary.
Why not, then, throw the group a sop in order to smooth over the hurt feelings? After all, they defended the Clintons when they most needed political support; they even took their name from their argument that people should “move on” from the Lewinsky affair — and the perjury and obstruction of justice committed by the President of the United States afterward, natch. Surely that track record should have merited a one-off appearance at their forum, especially since her absence would be all the more provocative considering the presence of Sanders and O’Malley.
Instead, Hillary made it clear that the price for crossing a Clinton is a lifetime of retribution. Perhaps some of her followers should think carefully about that … and there’s little doubt that this is exactly what the Clintons want them to do.