I have followed the misadventures of MoveOn.org since the organization first formed to urge Congress to drop the impeachment proceedings against Bill Clinton. Undaunted by its initial failure, it tried to whip up the left during the 2000 presidential election, warning that voting for Ralph Nader could throw the election to George W. Bush. Not since Cassandra of Troy has an entity been so simultaneously prescient and impotent.
In 2002, MoveOn.org circulated online petitions opposing war in Iraq. In 2003, it held a virtual primary and selected Howard Dean as the Democratic Party standard-bearer and also became involved in the California gubenatorial election, actively opposing the campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger.
In 2008, MoveOn.org accidentally ruined its perfect record of quixotic failure by endorsing Barack Obama over Hillary Clinton in the Democratic Party primaries. Facing a severe identity crisis as mainstream voters moved toward Obama in large numbers, MoveOn tried to make the now-popular anti-war movement repellent to centrists with its "Petraeus Betray Us" ad.
Unfortunately for MoveOn.org, Barack Obama was elected anyway. Now, as far as many formerly-angry liberals are concerned, the windmill has been toppled. So how can MoveOn.org convince them to donate money and sign online petitions? They have to come up with some new anger-inducing issues. So they have decided to hold Obama's feet to the fire in order to make sure he follows a MoveOn-approved "progressive" agenda.
A series of "fired up and ready to go" meetings were held around the country on Thursday night. The state coordinator for MoveOn.org claims that about 350 people registered for 18 meetings around Wisconsin. However, the Capital Times reported that the Madison meeting "drew 15 people, all white and over 50." What are the odds that meetings elsewhere in Wisconsin out-drew the Madison meeting?
Compare this to the nationwide demonstrations last Saturday protesting California's anti-gay-marriage Proposition 8. Madison's event reportedly drew 417 people, and that was outside on a cold and windy day.
If MoveOn.org has any sense of self-preservation, it will take a lesson from this and join the marriage-equality bandwagon. The Human Rights Campaign has lost its credibility (at least according to Andrew Sullivan), so there is a niche for a nationally-based left-leaning organization with a huge list of small donors to lobby for the repeal of the federal Defense of Marriage Act and the military's Don't Ask Don't Tell policy.
Of course, if the gay rights activists have any sense of self-preservation, they will avoid MoveOn.org like the plague.