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MoveOn.org Targets Senator Levin

by: nirmal

Thu May 17, 2007 at 17:59:03 PM EDT

MoveOn.org is collecting donations to run an ad targeting Senator Levin for his vote on Feingold-Reid (to stop funding for major combat operations in Iraq).  Previous discussion of Levin's position this issue can be found here and here.

You can download the mp3, or read the script of the ad below the fold.

How do you feel about this?

nirmal :: MoveOn.org Targets Senator Levin
First Woman: It's sad.
First Man: I just feel let down.

Second Woman: I expected more from him.

Announcer: They're talking about our Senator, Carl Levin.

We were so proud when he voted against going to war in Iraq, proud when he became Chairman
of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

But that pride has turned into disappointment. Because this week, Carl Levin was one of just a few Democrats to vote against the Feingold-Reid Amendment, a real plan for withdrawing from Iraq.

It would have mandated an end to the war by early 2008. That's what the overwhelming majority
of voters in Michigan want: an end to this endless war.

Senators Hilary Clinton and Barack Obama voted for it. But not Carl Levin.

Shouldn't Carl Levin support the majority of Democrats in Congress as they increase the pressure on George Bush to change his strategy?

Isn't it time for Carl Levin to make us proud again?

Paid for by the 3.2 million members of MoveOn.org Political Action

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Move On is Wrong
Levin voted against the AUMF and opposed the surge. Levin is on our side on this issue. He put his name on Levin-Reid! Every time that I've seen him speak on tv representing the party he has been wonderful.

Targeting Levin probably won't hurt his chances in November, it seems like a waste of money.

Agreed - it's a waste of money
1. The vote has already happened. Spending money trying to convince Carl that he should have voted a certain way on a bill in the past seems like a waste, and is definitely different than telling him how he should vote on something in the future.

2. Had Carl voted for the bill, it still would have failed.

3. There are 49 Republicans in the Senate, all of whom voted the same way as Carl and 21 of whom are up for re-election next year. How about using precious resources targeting them instead?

Now on Great Lakes, Great Times, Great Scott: Cotter vs. Jesus and Reagan

[ Parent ]
moveon needs to back off
Michigan won't have a senator of the caliber of Carl Levin for a good long time.  I don't feel sad, I don't feel let down and I don't feel disappointed.  Carl Levin is one of a very few senators that knows this war won't end while bush is still in office yet is still trying to change the way that that bush is fighting it.  It's nice to have senators, lots of senators, that put pressure on the president, but it's nicer to have a handful of senators that are willing to fight the long fight.

I'll be more clear
This ad makes me want to call MoveOn and tell them to shut the hell up.  It doesn't make me want to call Levin at all.  If anybody from MoveOn is reading this, it's something worth thinking about.

[ Parent ]
Could be good
  Maybe he needs a wake-up call of some kind.

Wake-up call, indeed.
He refused to support Lamont because Joe was "his friend".  That was in a letter he sent to me on the issue.  Now, he wants to spend more money on a war that never should have been while Michigan burns.  Michigan could use a few more federal bucks (revenue sharing?) to deal with what our own party keeps doing to us.  The new immigration bill includes a huge increase in H-1B Visas, which means more technology jobs lost to low wage laborers coming in from India.  Add in the Rangel-Pelosi miracle free trade agreement with Bush that will be just "peachy" for the environment, unions, and workers.  I think Carl is usually on the right side; but when he blows it, he blows it big time.  I think all the Democrats need a swift kick in the ass (Thank you, MoveOn) because they seem to think they are deciders and not our representatives.  Right now, I have no inclination to ever give any of them a dime or to bother to vote.  I keep saying, they take us for granted; and the only way to stop that is to drop them solidly on their ass.  Like kids, the sooner they are held accountable the cheaper the price -they- we have to pay for them to learn this lesson.  CARL WAS WRONG! WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!

[ Parent ]
You are right...
You are right to bring up other recent Democratic Party legislation and the idea that in general Democrats need a bit of a push.

On a related note, one thing that hasn't been brought up in this thread is Levin's support from AIPAC:


Media Mouse: Grand Rapids Independent Media

[ Parent ]
No more
well Move on just lost two donors.

I'm giving Carl the benefit of the doubt on this one
I trust him and know he wants this war to end.  I'm sure he had his reasons for voting the way he did and it had no effect on whether or not it passed.  Besides, Bush would have vetoed it anyway.  I wish he had voted the other way, but I have enough respect for and confidence in him to let it go.

And for MoveOn to say 3.2 million members paid for the ad is misleading.  They may have that many members, but not all of them paid for this ad.  I'm more disappointed in them targeting a good senator than I am in Carl voting against this bill.

This is a step in the right direction...
I think that MoveOn's targeting of Senator Levin is a step in the right direction. Looking at his recent statements on Iraq, particularly that he will vote to fund the war no matter what (linked in the article), it makes strategic sense to put some pressure on him.

However, I would criticize MoveOn for misrepresenting the Feingold-Reid amendment as a measure that will "end the war." The March 31, 2008 deadline means almost another year of a continually brutal occupation, an occupation that we all know has killed more than 655,000 Iraqi civilians. Similarly, the amendment contains exemptions for US soldiers determined to be fighting "international terrorists" or protecting US interests. It also says nothing about the presence of private military contractors

Media Mouse: Grand Rapids Independent Media

Add not bad
I don't mind the add as I would have preferred he voted the other way but I'm also not going to judge Carl Levin on one vote.

The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

 - Ralph Waldo Emerson

I've interpreted Carl Levin's stance on Iraq in three ways...

1) It was a stupid idea at the time, and that the war has been incompetently prosecuted.  On this, he has a very good track record.

2) That funding for the war not be cut, because it means potentially not providing equipment and supplies for whatever American forces have to stay behind (and, at this point, we'll have to leave someone).

3) That the war was a mistake, but an even bigger mistake would be leaving Iraq in the total complete mess that it's today in.

I don't know the gory details about Feingold-Reid, but if it called for cutting off funding for the war next year, then Carl Levin was voting consistently with the positions he's made public.

On the other hand, if the Democratic Party wants my vote for president next year, they had best get themselves a different candidate than Hillary Clinton.  She votes in favor of the war at the time, talks tough for the next three years, and finally this year decides that the war stinks ... maybe.  And, oh yes, there is powerful forces for irritation like this:

When asked whether she supported the notion of cutting off financing for major combat operations next spring, Mrs. Clinton declined to say yes or no. "I'm not going to speculate on what I'll be voting on in the future," she told reporters Wednesday. "I voted in favor of cloture to have a debate, and we were successful."

Five hours later, as she walked into the Senate chamber, Mrs. Clinton sought to clarify her remarks. She said that she unequivocally supported the plan to cut off war financing next spring. "It may or may not ever come up again as a vote, because obviously we didn't do better than 29 votes," she said. "To some extent, this is like dancing on a head of a pin."

Here's something that isn't like dancing on the head of a pin ... you suck, senator.

Among the Trees

The contrast between this vote and Stabenow's last year...
...on the Military Commissions Act (aka suspension of Habeas Corpus) is interesting.

In both cases, the Democratic Michigan Senator voting the other way wouldn't have changed the outcome; it still would have passed (in that case) or failed (in this case).

In both cases, the Senator's reelection prospects weren't/aren't seriously impacted by how they voted--Brouchard was never seriously close to Stabenow in the polls last year, and I can't think of anyone who would be a serious threat to Levin next year (of course, anything is possible, so I'll bite my tongue on that one).

The big difference is that in the first case, the issue being voted on was absolutely clear-cut and the resulting consequences definite. In this case, the issue is far murkier (truth be told, there's NO course of action we can take on Iraq that'll be ideal anymore, only greater & lesser degrees of death), and the consequences are less absolute--they can introduce a new bill with variations on this one at any time, and Bush would've vetoed it anyway.

My point isn't to beat up on Stabenow for an 8-month-old vote again (though I'm still severely disturbed by it), but to note that in Levin's case, he's earned the credibility to be cut some slack on this particular vote. What the hell to do about this Iraq fiasco isn't nearly as clear-cut as whether or not to continue due process and the other basic tenets of the Constitution.

Having said that, I *do* wish he'd voted Aye on it. Perhaps he'll give his justification at an event I'm attending this weekend where he's supposed to show up...

You should ask him...
If you are at an event with him, you should ask him so that we have his response for the record and can better evaluate his vote.

Media Mouse: Grand Rapids Independent Media

[ Parent ]
Already called his office....
He said he voted no on it because it was attached to a water funding bill and he didn't want the whole bill to be vetoed (which it would have been).

[ Parent ]
That's actually quite lame...
So he is saying that in order to save a water funding bill (low priority) he threw his vote on the war (high priority) under the bus...

It is also insulting as it suggests that his office thinks we are stupid enough not to understand that he has enough gravitas in the Party to have forced a stand alone vote on this...

Lame Carl, very lame...

Someone down at his office better clue him in to the changing landscape of the grass roots in Michigan.

Five families aren't going to control the Michigan Democratic Party any more...

[ Parent ]
Saw him at breakfast this morning...
He was asked about the vote and said he wants to get us out of Iraq without cutting off funding.

He also made the point that Bush will veto any spending bills that don't include Iraq funding.  I don't think he was being totally honest on this one, as Iraq funding has always been dictated to be an emergency expenditure and not part of the yearly budget plan.

Maybe he knows more about this than me, though.

[ Parent ]
9th Congressional District Breakfast.
See JordanLFW's diary on the rec list.

[ Parent ]
I think it's a good thing...
Senator Levin is a good man, but he hasn't been going after Bush as hard as he should be.  Hopefully this ad will help to light a fire under his ass and work harder to get our troops home.

Senator Levin, the time to enjoy your retirement is after you leave your job...

[ Parent ]
Levin's Response
I saw Sen. Levin speak Saturday and he took the opportunity to answer questions regarding his vote. In short here is the reasoning:

- There will never be enough support to pass a bill cutting funding, certainly not enough to override a veto.

- Attempts to cut funding creates a greater divide between sides on this issue. It will only make it harder to get support on other bills aimed at getting US troops out of Iraq.

- Supporting this bill endangers his chances of gaining enough support to override a veto when he reintroduces a bill forcing a timetable for withdrawl.

We know cutting war funding SHOULD force an eventual withrawl, but Levin got me thinking...Can we really trust Bush to withdrwal when funds give out, or will he keep our troops there regardless of the consequences?

I don't trust Bush. He is entirely capable of doing this and blaming others for the results of his actions.

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