Pundit Watchdog

The Passion of the Michael Moore

This man did more for Dems than the DemsThe Democratic leadership, strangely following the lead of Republican pundits, have made a New Years resolution: publicly bludgeon Michael Moore. Senator Joe Lieberman appeared on the December 24 edition of Hannity & Colmes and blasted Michael Moore as an extremist and definitely not representative of where the Democratic Party needs to go in the next four years.

Though Lieberman is much more inclined to acquiesce to Republicans than he is to appeal to the progressive base of his party, he's really doing nothing but parroting the GOP post-election spin: "You losers should marginalize Michael Moore if you ever want to win!"

Ironic posture from the party of Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Michael Savage, Sean Hannity, and G. Gordon Liddy, no? Yet the comparison to these shmendricks is unfair to Moore.


1) Unlike the pundits listed above who are operatives for the Republicans, Moore is by no means an operative for the Democratic Party. His politics are self-admittedly non-partisan. He's blasted President Clinton for bombing Iraq during the '90s, and he's routinely criticized the Democrats for being inactive, soft, and silent.2) He's a muckraker in the style of Studs Terkel and Ralph Nader, packaged in the wrappings of a skilled and effective filmmaker.3) He ripped George W. Bush and the Iraq War because BOTH are just plain wrong -- not because he’s a puppet of the Democrats who, by the way, followed the lead of Moore and Howard Dean in criticizing Bush, not the other way around. The Democrats definitely did not set the bar on this front.4) Had the last four years transpired under an equally dubious, incompetent, and suspicious Democratic president, it's a safe bet Michael Moore would've made the same movie.5) Michael Moore, while fashioning his arguments in the same persuasive style as an effective debater, is grounded in well-researched information. Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and the like play solely on the visceral emotions of their slow-witted, easily-led, dittohead fans and have been proven to repeatedly lie. Very few GOP pundits ever cite respected source material and rely on rants rather than documentation. Even though Moore has been known to rant, he's always grounded in research.So the idea of the Democratic Party backing away from Michael Moore is a false argument implying Moore was an avowed operative in the first place. Michael Moore never intended to couple himself with the institutional Democrats in the first place. He's wholly independent, and primarily a filmmaker. On the other hand, the Democrats would do well to take some notes from Moore's style and technique.Yet Moore arguably did more for rallying Democrats to vote and speak out against Bush than the party machine accomplished on its own. Fair-weather friends, political parties are. So because John Kerry "lost" in November, they're slowly backing away, turning, and bolting. Had Kerry won, however, Moore would have been lauded as a hero by the Democrats and, with faint-praise, as a "savior of an ailing Democratic Party" by the Republicans. Instead, the Democratic Party, like a battered spouse, is caving in to the Republican spin and ditto-ing the post-election crucifixion of Michael Moore.So the alternative, we can deduce, is to go back to the capitulating, centrist, fire-brand dynamism* of Joe Lieberman style Democratic politics. You know... because it was so effective on its own, before an "extremist" like Michael Moore screwed things up.*Joke.