In a piece posted on HUMAN EVENTS on January 18, 2007, Stephanie Dube broke the news that Rod Martin of PayPal fame has organized TheVanguard.org to be a conservative alternative to leftist websites such as MoveOn.org. In the piece, Dube wondered if I was going to be associated with the group. I want to answer that in the affirmative. Martin has asked me to participate and I have agreed.
MoveOn.org has become a powerful, effective force in American politics, almost completely unanswered by conservatives. Led by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs — not traditional politicos — MoveOn.org has rapidly created an unprecedented online community to mobilize the political left, rallied its ideologically-based faithful to action, and even launched a powerhouse small-donor PAC. Traditional conservative groups are not equipped to match these successes, and they haven’t. The closeness of the 2000 and 2004 elections — and the GOP’s 2006 electoral debacle — stand as stark testaments to the need to rectify this disparity as rapidly as possible before 2008.
TheVanguard.org launched in beta in March 2006, with a top Silicon Valley team that includes Rod D. Martin as Founder and Chairman, Eric Jackson who currently heads World Ahead Publishing and was Vice President of Marketing at PayPal when Martin served as special legal counsel to PayPal’s CEO, and Gil Amelio, the former CEO of National Semiconductor and Apple Computer. My role will be to serve as a senior political strategist with TheVanguard.org, researching and writing aggressively to advance conservative themes in opposition to liberal Democratic Party politics.
While MoveOn.org has pioneered an entire range of winning strategies — from online forums to virtual marches on Washington and even online primaries (wherein their members choose the candidate MoveOn.org will endorse) — we mean not merely to duplicate their efforts, but to invent some new Internet-driven strategies of our own.
Estimating that a competing candidate will have to be able to raise a minimum of $100 million to run for president, we see Democratic Party candidates positioning right now to compete with each other for the liberal donors they will need to have in their corner in order to win. Harry Reid and Nancy Peloisi clearly plan to use the U.S. Congress as a backdrop, formulating a legislative agenda on which the Democratic Party presidential candidate will run.
The Democrats will be successful in capturing the high ground of campaigning against “a culture of corruption,” unless we challenge them by exposing the corruption that truly has been at the core of a great deal of Democratic Party politics for decades. The 2008 electoral season has already begun and Democratic Party assertions that they are the party of “truth and justice” need to be countered right now, before the Democratic Party succeeds in framing the 2008 campaign on their terms.
Truly, the Democratic Party presents a target rich environment, especially as the party struggles to appear centrist while the base tilts ever more strongly to the far left. Even in the nearly interminable first “100 hours” of the 110th Congress (a time period which the Democrats have defined to go on for hours, maybe even weeks), we are already getting hit with new minimum wage demands, oppressive punishment for “big oil,” renewed pseudo-science claims that human activity is responsible for global warming, plus a cop-out ploy to vote some symbolic motion opposing the Iraq war, all without the honesty to cut off funding for our troops in the field.
Evidently, the left is already concerned about the challenge TheVanguard.org plans to launch. Noticing Dube’s article that TheVanguard.org has been formed, the Daily Kos leaps forth to blast out, “These people specialize in character assassination. And like cornered, wounded animals, expect them to get even more vicious than before.” So, when MoveOn.org runs attack television ads against John McCain in New Hampshire, blogs like Kos think the cause of freedom is being advanced. But even the mention that TheVanguard.org is being organized causes the Kos to demonstrate their very best Saul Alinsky ad hominem attack impulses, demonstrating once again that the only real argument the left has it to call us names. We would have predicted that Kos is long in dishing out but short in taking it.
But, not to worry, when it comes to character assassination, the Democrats can be counted on to go at each other through what is shaping up to be the most protracted primary race in U.S. history. We at TheVanguard.org plan to be right in the middle of the action, exposing Democratic Party hypocrisy where we find it and countering the Democratic Party’s leftist agenda as aggressively as we can.
In closing, I want to make one clarification. I was honored to be co-author with John O’Neill, my friend of nearly 40 years now, of “Unfit for Command: Swift Boat Veterans Speak Out Against John Kerry,” but I was not a co-founder or an officer of the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth (SBVFT).
While I was also honored to assist the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth in telling their story to the nation, I myself am not a veteran. At my draft physical during the Vietnam War, I was medically disqualified for the hereditary eczema I have even today. At Case Western Reserve in the 1960s, I worked with the Case Western Reserve Civil Violence Research Center, and at Harvard through 1972, I worked with the Lemberg Center for the Study of Violence at Brandeis University. In my academic career, I specialized in political violence and terrorism, conducting many field studies of groups such as the Vietnam Veterans Against the War, often with federal funding. While I have never met John Kerry personally, I observed first-hand many VVAW activities he led. For over 30 years, I retained the files I collected on John Kerry’s activities in the VVAW, just in case he ever got a chance to fulfill the promise I heard him made in 1971 that he intended one day to run for president.
Nothing I do with TheVanguard.org will have anything to do with John O’Neill or the SBVFT, nor will my work with TheVanguard.org reflect the views of O’Neill or the SBVFT. I make this clarification out of my great and continuing respect for O’Neill and for SBVFT.
Still, I am sure that attack pieces such as that written on January 18, 2006 by Kos will keep referring to the efforts of TheVanguard.org as “Swiftboating Hillary,” etc. I just want to be clear from the start that I do not approve of the SBVFT being made into a verb and applied to the work I do with TheVanguard.org. While I have no control over what my opponents say, this statement is now on the record for all those who subsequently care to conduct honest research to read.