The next time I update my voter registration, I'm going to switch my affiliation from Democrat to independent. Don't get me wrong, I will still vote for Democrats and support Democratic candidates. It's not like I will be voting for the GOP or the Get Republicans Elected Every November Party. I believe that on the issues, the Democratic Party represents the mainstream of American society--by default (Bush's extremism has caused many centrists and even some right-of-center people to defect to the Democrats). Nevertheless, I can't remain a member of an organization of people who don't know the score.
Let me give two examples:
Case Study Number One: The Democrats' Kid Gloves Approach to Amway
I have received a lot of feedback about my recent post on Amway/Quixtar. Generally, people told me they had no idea that 1) Many of the largest Amway/Quixtar distributors are involved in an illegal tools business--that Amway co-founder Ricard DeVos admitted was "an out-and-out illegal pyramid"; and that 2) Amway and many of its kingpin distributors--such as tools scammer Dexter Yager--are a major funding source of the Republican Party as well as anti-progressive forces such as Jerry Falwell. Most people told me they thought of Amway the same as a quaint vestige of the 1970's--an odd group of people who engaged in cult-like motivational rallies. Even though the Federal Trade Commission under Bush is not doing anything about the illegal tools operation, there is a lot that Democrats could have done to address this. For one thing, they could have used the media to call for investigation of the tools business. They could have contacted U.S. Attorneys to investigate the scam. They could have used the media to denounce the scam (for instance, they could have used used the publicity from the 2004 Dateline NBC story to generate more media interest in the scandal). None of this happened because national Democrats don't know the score.
Case Study Number Two: The Non-Arrest and Non-Deportation of Sun Myung Moon
After I had written posts about Sun Myung Moon, the response was similar to what people said about Amway: they just viewed Moon as a throwback to the 70's who jumped the shark decades ago. These people had been shocked to find out that 1) Moon is currently more powerful than he ever was in the 70's by dumping billions of dollars into a reactionary media empire that is an integral part of what David Brock called the Republican Noise Machine (e.g., here); 2) Much of Moon's money that he uses to court the American right has been derived from scams such as the Spiritual Sales scam in Japan that netted Moon billions of dollars; and 3) Moon has committed immigration fraud and statutory rape as an accomplice--both crimes that are easily verifiable and make him subject to deportation.
About a year ago, I contacted the office of my House member, Susan Davis (D-CA) and requested that she direct the INS to investigate the completely verifiable claims that Nansook Hong made that Moon engaged in immigration fraud to bring Hong (then 15 years-old) to the United States to be the illegal bride of his son, Hyo Jin. I wasn't expecting a Congressional Medal of Honor but I didn't even receive a form letter from her office.
Let's suppose you're a political novice and I tell you that a friend of your political opponents is spending large amounts of money, like say $3 billion, to slime you and it turns out that the friend of your enemy is an enormously unpopular cult leader who is an resident alien who has committed verifiable crimes that make him subject to deportation. The icing on the cake of this scenario is that many prominent members of the opposition have sucked up to this megalomaniacal lowlife(click here and scroll to paragraph five). If you're a political novice and you don't respond that a good strategy would be to refer the case to the proper authorities and have the person deported and to then publicize how your political opponents curried favor with this sexual predator, then you need to get into another line of work.
This is precisely what I think about professional Democrats. They leave vast amounts of political capital on the table because they're clueless. If progressives and Democrats went after a huge fraud operations like Amway and Moon's Unification Church the same way that the right goes after Hollywood, they could move mountains.
Finally, one of the ironies of Moon is that he was sent to jail for tax evasion primarily because of the activities of a Republican, Bob Dole. Go figure.
UPDATE: Here are some videos: Here is the trailer for the documentary film The Downline Movie. . .John Gorenfeld narrates this short video of prominent politicans sucking up to Moon. Note that Pat Boone was the MC for a Moonie event; Boone has shilled for both Moon and for Amway:
Additional Update: Great news! There's a new class action lawsuit against Quixtar and some of the kingpin distributors (notably Bill Britt who was featured in the Dateline NBC story) over the tools scam.