Rock the draft
October 25, 2004 9:12 AM   Subscribe

Rock the Vote last month sent out about 600,000 emails to prospective voters regarding the possilbility of a draft. Now GOP Chairman Ed Gillespie has sent a cease and desist letter to try to get RTV to stop. You can read Gillespie's letter(pdf) as well as Rock the Vote's head Jehmu Greene's response(pdf).
posted by bitdamaged (21 comments total)
Condensed version follows:


RTV: You wish.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:23 AM on October 25, 2004

Why is this not spam? Because your "friend" signs you up?
posted by smackfu at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2004

"There's a place for that kind of sentiment (and your threats), but it's not here in this country."

Hey, someone tied to Big Media actually says the king is wearing no clothes. The neocons are an unamerican bunch that have replaced conservativism with immoral fanaticism. If we don't vote them out and win the subsequent lawsuits and get the Supreme Court to vote with America this time around, we are royally screwed.
posted by fleener at 9:24 AM on October 25, 2004

"By your logic, there should be no debate about anything that you disagree with."

Wow. Where's she been the last three years?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:29 AM on October 25, 2004

" ... this urban myth regarding the draft has been thoroughly debunked by no less than the President of the United States ..."

Interesting viewpoint into the world of the RNC. Just cuz the prez says it doesn't make it so. After all, all his talking about WMD in Iraq didn't make them appear and the initial talk of victory and "Mission Accomplished" didn't make that happen either.

Bush's ability to debunk anything regarding military matters these days is pretty suspect. He used to have the benefit of the doubt, but his record of incompetence is there for all to see.

It's also a pretty heavyhanded letter for the RNC to be sending out to a pretty big voter registration group. They didn't realize that this would go over like a lead balloon? Did they think that they were dealing with CNN or Fox News?

Sad to say that Rock the Vote has more backbone than our "news" organizations.
posted by rks404 at 9:30 AM on October 25, 2004

I liked how Jehnu CC'd a bunch of comedians with his response. The "point and laugh" defence is usually very effective.
posted by lowlife at 9:31 AM on October 25, 2004

damn, can't spell and can't get genders right. A two-fer.
posted by lowlife at 9:34 AM on October 25, 2004

It was nice of the RNC to keep this story alive as long as possible by threatening to sue Rock the Vote.
posted by rcade at 9:45 AM on October 25, 2004

Bwahahaha. CC'ing the talk show hosts is a brilliant response to Gillespe CC'ing those network heads (and Vince McMahon!). It just belies the fact that the RNC just doesn't "get" who speaks to that demographic.

The draft is a very real issue. At 32, I'm coasting out of draft eligibility for all but a major outbreak of war, but the prospect of seeing people I know get called up because the Bush Administration is too stubborn to ask nicely for help in Iraq scares the piss out of me.

More importantly, the draft needs to be talked about during *any* global conflict, because it reminds us all who's actually doing the fighting.
posted by mkultra at 10:07 AM on October 25, 2004

It pretty much struck me the same as what rks404 just said. What is to prevent Bush from saying, "There will be no draft", then doing it in a year or two. Not like he can run again anyway. Carte Blanche to say anything you want. At least if Kerry said it and then switched and did it he could be defeated in 4 years time.

.... does it strike you the system is *ahem* a little screwed up? Seems like we need some more checks and balances.
posted by edgeways at 10:12 AM on October 25, 2004

If we have another major conflict, we'll need a draft, or we'll need to pull most of the troops out of Iraq. The president and the RNC can promise whatever they want about no chance of a draft, but if they think their policies aren't setting us up for one I think that says a lot about their lack of forethought and objectivity.

Bush is leading us towards world war. He's also misled us about military matters. We have four years of policies that we can point to. He can't run from his record.

Kerry on the other hand has promised to pull us back from the unilateral, we-don't-care-if-you-hate-us Bush doctrine.

Voting for Bush = voting for war. And if you trust Bush's word when it comes to war, you're not paying attention.
posted by y6y6y6 at 10:22 AM on October 25, 2004

.... does it strike you the system is *ahem* a little screwed up? Seems like we need some more checks and balances.

it strikes me that the system is FUBAR. I don't think checks and balances will fix it. I think it is time for a major overhaul. I also think that neither candidate is capable of performing the overhaul.

If a true need for a draft becomes reality, it really won't matter who is President.

We are in the earliest of the dark days. Darker ones are on the horizon.
posted by a3matrix at 10:24 AM on October 25, 2004

Hey Kids,

When I look at this situation, I'm thinking about my eldest daughter, who is about to turn 13. I'm worried about the possible draft -- which it looks like we may need, if this keeps up -- five years down the line (and further for my younger daughter).

I'm too old (and hideously out of shape), but I'm very worried about my children.

On a related note, I ran into a neighbor's son last night who is briefly back from basic and about to ship out to Kuwait. This is not a kid I ever really cared for (to be brutally honest), but it saddened me deeply to see this young man square his shoulders and head east.

I will say that military training has matured him a bit and he seemed like a better young man for his time in service so far. But the possible price....
posted by mmahaffie at 10:58 AM on October 25, 2004

mmahaffie, if you don't want your kid going to war, it's time to start thinking about citizenship in another country, or building a secret living space in your basement or attic. Seriously. Or, vote the neocons out of office before this country goes completely to hell.
posted by fleener at 11:14 AM on October 25, 2004

Well, fleener, I'm pretty certain I can at least try the last thing you mention.....
posted by mmahaffie at 12:15 PM on October 25, 2004

As much as I adore RTV and also SEIU, I'm not sure that it's the smartest thing for RTV to be housed in an SEIU office (look up 1313 L Street).

SEIU is the liberal, red-headed step-child of the Democratic Party. I'm sure RTV and SEIU are not coordinating -- RTV is probably just renting office space from SEIU -- but it doesn't seem like the smartest idea.
posted by jennak at 8:27 PM on October 25, 2004

"Rock the Vote" is an organization that professes a non-partisan mission to encourage the youth of America to vote. However, most young people around the world tend to lean leftwards; I'm assuming America is no different in this respect. If I'm right to so assume, surely this makes it implicitly favorable to the Democratic cause and thus not really non-partisan. Is that correct? Does the political affiliation of those who fund and publicly promote it evidence this pro-Democrat leaning? The Hollywood stars in this timeline would tend to suggest so. The message seems to be, 'Get out and vote... (Democrat)'. And as an interfering, Guardian-reading limey I can wholeheartedly support that sentiment. However, it does imply that the RTV is being a little bit disingenuous when stating its non-partisan goal.

I say all that because the decision to focus voter registration efforts on the draft issue is manifestly full ofpartisan intent:

"A new military draft. One of the many issues that could be decided by this election."

Really? How? There is no public policy difference between the two candidates over a potential draft and no evidence at all to suggest that the Bush administration is planning such a move. Indeed the incumbent has taken extreme measures to suggest the exact opposite. The "Debunking the Myths" section of the RTV website testifies to this.* If there's no clear difference, how can someone concerned at a potential draft cast his or her vote? The advert answers that question by suggesting implicitly - as Kerry does explicitly - that Bush does have a secret plan. Certainly, as many have already pointed out, experience teaches us to be highly skeptical of this administration's public pronouncements. But is it non-partisan to base a pro-voting advert on the assumption that Bush & co. aren't trustworthy? If no, can we truly believe that this is an organization dedicated to the non-partisan goal of encouraging young people to vote, whatever the color of that vote?

To be fair, if I was looking for an issue which would agitate young Americans and get them out on Nov. 2nd, then the draft is certainly a good one. If there was a policy difference between the main candidates then it would be a fantastic example of fitting the message to the audience. But artificially suggesting ground between the two candidates, as RTV appears to be doing seems an example of cynical electioneering.

Ideally, the draft should be an issue because there is a very real shortage of manpower in Iraq and elsewhere and thus it is more likely now than for many, many years. America needs a vigorous debate over how she will man the trenches. However - Kerry's two-division plan and his aforementioned electioneering ploy aside - neither candidate has shown any real willingness to engage in public debate over this difficult, non-vote winning issue. In part, that's a reflection of the fact that the draft might be necessary whoever becomes the next President. After all, the two candidates propose very similar future war strategies and America's military capabilities are not going to suddenly change after November 2nd/January 20th. In short, this issue just doesn't divide the two of them at all and so seems to be an inappropriate theme for a vote registration drive.

Am I wrong to be so cynical about RTV? I don't necessarily oppose it, I just thought previous comments - with the partial exception of jennak - failed to even consider an ulterior partisan motivation.

* The inclusion of this debunking section does not prove the non-partisan intent of the organization; the nature of the draft advertising stands alone as testament to its partisan slant. They do however complement each other - both tell the truth with no overt falsehoods or explicitly pro-Democrat messages and so allow Jehmu Greene to say with confidence: "We are absolutely assured that we are operating within the bounds of our 501(c)3 status."

posted by pots at 11:21 PM on October 25, 2004

pots- The difference is that Kerry has made a point of saying he's going to actively seek international military support in Iraq (and the world has pretty much said they'd go along with him, since he says "please"), which would greatly alleviate U.S. troop requirements there. Bush, on the other hand, would continue our "go it alone" strategy over the next four years. The Pentagon is already planning on adding 20,000 troops through stop-loss orders early next year, and there's only so long you can pursue that strategy.
posted by mkultra at 4:09 AM on October 26, 2004

pots RTV is saying that the if the draft is something you care about (and if I was a under 30, able bodied american not already in the forces I'd care about it) you should vote. The great power any bloc has is showing they are willing to vote against anyone who acts against their interests.

Imagine if 95% of eligable voters under the age of 25 were to cast votes. Even if they split their votes exactly 49.5-49.5-1 they would constitute a massive power bloc that all politicians would be falling all over themselves to pander to. And there would be a heck of a lot less chance of a draft being instituted if the 18-25yrs didn't feel it was the right thing to do.
posted by Mitheral at 8:27 AM on October 26, 2004

I think that this gaffe by Bush tells you a lot.

This came up when I was doing a search about reservists who were being threatened with deployment to Iraq near then end of thier enlistment unless they reinlisted.

And with stop-losses in effect, it's not a volunteer army.
posted by daHIFI at 11:48 AM on October 26, 2004

Personally, pots, I consider the truth to be the only non-partisan approach.
Anything else implies at least some "spin" one way or the other.
That make sense to you?

Tell the truth and whoever it hits, so be it.
How much more non-partisan can you get?
posted by nofundy at 12:03 PM on October 26, 2004

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