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Unity08 Member: Please, Stop Asking Questions. My Response…

User “GEA” at Unity08 writes with the following request:

GEA on January 23, 2007 – 10:36am

In my humble opinion James, you are damaging your own credibility by placing too much emphasis on this. The thought “Thou Doth Protest Too Much” comes to mind. The second thought is that if you don’t like it, don’t participate. Continuing to do this makes you appear like a republocrat mole.

Frankly I’d rather that Unity08 expend whatever resources they have on other things right now than filling out paperwork. Indeed, if it were me, I’d simply ignore the federal government’s attempts to quelch the revolution.

Mind you I am not saying you are wrong, just that it seems most are suspending their disbelief at this point.

For what its worth, its an observation from the bleachers.

Here’s my response to GEA:

The Shakesperean quote isn’t apt, since I’m not protesting my innocence of anything. I’m talking about Unity08. But if you want to check on me, go ahead. Since you’ve just accused me of being a “mole,” Let me give everyone my contact information yet again:

James M. Cook
1287 Hunter Avenue
Columbus, OH 43201
Married, two cats, one dog
Never a Democrat
Never a Republican
Never a member of any political party
Never paid or compensated by any political party.

I am not a mole. And neither am I a sheep. I am a citizen who lives in a nation of laws. These laws include requirements for, as you call it, “paperwork.”

Why? The spirit of these legal requirements is exactly what Unity08 has repeatedly committed itself to: transparency to the public. The history of American politics is replete with groups of powerful insiders trying to game the system to gain power. Financial transparency, as required by law, is aimed at preventing that by keeping any shenanigans above board and reviewable by the public. That is why, as Unity08 itself wrote, “Transparency is essential to the public trust.”

If Unity08 will come out and say, “Never mind that transparency business, we didn’t mean it, we’d like to hide from our public what we’re doing, please stop asking,” then I will stop behaving as though its stated commitment to public transparency is sincere. Until then, I will expect it to live up to legal requirements and its own commitments.

Unity08 is telling you that it wants to build a movement built on small donations. Yet it is suing the government so it can build a movement based on donations of unlimited size.

Unity08 is telling you that it is a “grassroots” organization. Yet it is run by wealthy veterans of politics and public relations who have put their own social contacts on the Founders’ Council, who have not disclosed their social connections to the people writing the highly favorable media accounts you read, and who have put the headquarters of the organization in the same physical location as the headquarters of a P.R. firm.

Unity08 is telling you that it is committed to financial transparency. Yet as of today there are no complete and accurate financial disclosure documents available to the public. Not for the fall of 2006. Not for the summer of 2006. Not for the spring of 2006. And Unity08 is not responding to requests to post these documents online. It is currently suing in federal court to avoid having to post thorough disclosures of the sources of its loans.

Unity08 is telling you that you’re part of the team that will go all the way in 2008, with a national online secure nominating convention that will come through error-free. But it has become apparent that its current operations are riddled with error, and it has one year’s time to accomplish this unprecedented feat, with no details on how that will happen forthcoming. And while we little people are able to post on a bulletin board, and vote in substanceless online polls, and give our money, and are expected to help the organization in its ballot drive as foot soldiers, has Unity08 given leadership to its “grassroots?” Has Unity08 even bothered to post minutes of its meetings?

I see a pattern here. I see a pattern of Unity08 saying one thing and doing another. And given that they want to put a president and vice president of the most powerful nation in the world in the White House, that’s a problem. I think we should expect answers from an organization that aspires to such great power in the world.

Questions. That’s all they are. If Unity08 answers them, everything will become clear. And if they are really so piddling and unimportant as you and Doug Bailey suggest, then nobody else will care, right? But if they aren’t unimportant, and they are relevant after all, then it’s vitally important to the preservation of an open system of politics — free of the “fat cats” Unity08 is simultaneously deriding and run by — that these questions be asked, even if I am the only one doing it.

And if that “damages my credibility” in your eyes, GEA, so be it.

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