Unity08 gives you another reason to distrust it this week, providing its third switch in substantive position in the last five months alone, changing to follow the direction of the shifting political winds.
Switch #1. Back in 2006 and the first quarter of 2007, Unity08 complained that only a few states got the early vote to determine a presidential nominee, and that the new Unity08 was here to address that problem. But as the months passed in 2007 and it became clear that a majority of states would have votes early enough in the process to determine the presidential nominee, Unity08 couldnâ€™t name that as a problem any more for Unity08 to fix, and soâ€¦ it switched its argument completely, now complaining that to have all these states voting early and being part of the process was just plain â€œstupid,â€ a pileup to be fixed by, why, surprise surprise, Unity08!
Switch #2. On December 23, 2007, Unity08 somehow managed to switch its position on negativity in politics between different paragraphs of the same message! Now that takes flexibility. Unity08 CoFounder Douglas L. Bailey somehow managed to frown through his keyboard when writing:
Unfortunately, it is the same old Politics-As-Usual that has not given us a very warm feeling. The candidates are actively pointing fingers at each other which they simply canâ€™t resist doing.
… and then in the next section of his message to Unity08 supporters, picked on John Edwards and Mitt Romney for being hair-obsessed, called Alan Keyes scary, called Fred Thompson lethargic, insinuated that maybe Barack Obama is still a drug user, called Bill Richardson fat, recalled that Mike Huckabee used to be fat, and reminded everyone that from time to time, Rudy Giuliani has dressed in womenâ€™s clothing.
Switch #3. When rolling out Unity08 on June 15, 2006, Unity08 CoFounder Douglas L. Bailey was asked what’s wrong with the current political parties. Bailey responded:
Both parties seem to believe that the way to win elections these days is to maximize their base and then turn it out. To do so they use polarizing issues that turn out their base, enflame the other side’s base, and turn off the middle.
Here’s Bailey again on May 31, 2006, describing how the evil parties just cater to their bases:
what we’re talking about is to reach the middle of American politics, means to reach probably 60 percent of the voters. I don’t mean that they’ll all vote for this particular candidate or the nominee of the Unity08.com effort.
But what is true is that about 60 percent of this country is in the middle politically. And to the degree that they are given a candidate who is willing to talk about some issues other than the issues that turn on the base of the far-right or the far-left, like global climate change or energy independence or the soaring national debt.
Those are subjects that don’t get any discussion in Washington, despite the fact that both parties are here. Their leadership is here, but there is no serious discussion of serious and major issues.
The idea that parties just serve their extremist bases became a common theme for Unity08 in 2006 and 2007. Just to give you a couple more examples of this, in November of 2006 Bailey resurrected the claim:
Many voters consider both parties too dominated by their base. To them, Republicans come off as crazy and Democrats as empty. Lots of people donâ€™t much like either one.
… and in the Washington Post on February 25, 2007, Bailey repeated himself:
…the usual game is to target the base of your party, rile it up with wedge issues and ignore the middle. If they do that again, we will be ready. It is possible the parties can right the ship themselves, but I don’t have a lot of confidence in that happening.
But then Joseph Lieberman endorsed John McCain, and Rudolph Giuliani declined to explain his religious preferences, and Barack Obama started getting kind words from Independents and even some moderate Republicans, so golly gee whizzikers, the “middle” wasn’t being ignored any more. If Unity08 couldn’t fix that problem any more because it wasn’t actually a problem, what could Unity08 complain about?
How about the exact opposite? On January 2 — the day before Barack Obama attracted a record number of independents in Iowa, along with a plurality of Republicans who switched parties to caucus for Democratic candidates — Unity08 trotted out a new version of the problem with America that Unity08 will fix. Unity08 now says that the political parties aren’t pandering strongly enough to their bases. I know, you think I must be kidding, but I’m not kidding. Here’s the new problem that Unity08 says it’ll fix:
If They Can’t Connect With Their Core Voters, How Can They Unite ALL Of America? According to the latest Associated Press/Yahoo News poll, just 42% of Democrats “are very or extremely satisfied with the amount of attention their favored candidates are giving to the issues that matter most to them,” while only 32% of Republicans feel that way about their candidates.
Unity08 is the snake oil of 2008, promising to fix whatever ails the nation, even if some of those ailments are the exact opposites of one another. This is what happens when you get a pretend-populist organization with no platform run by a bunch of public relations executives whose job is to sell their product no matter what. Unity08 has no compunction about doing a 180-degree turn on its positions, even in public. Why? Because Unity08 is not here to solve any particular problem. Problems are just tools for Unity08. No, Unity08 is here to get you to give it money for big, fat consulting contracts. And if Unity08 needs to completely reverse its superficial complaints about politics to get your money from you, it will do it. Once, twice, even three times.
Unity08 is a joke. Any candidacy that affiliates itself with Unity08 is either so desperate as to need whatever Unity08 can give it, so careless as to not check in on Unity08’s history, or so unconcerned about principles that it just doesn’t care.