We won’t have Unity08 to kick around anymore. Since they won’t need their cool graphics and logos, DWSUWF (Divided We Stand United We Fall blog), being the environmentally sensitive sort, has been rummaging through the detritus to recycle what we can. Unity08 was always more a slick, professional PR and marketing effort as opposed to the the grass roots political movement they pretended to be, so they’ve got some pretty nice stuff. The hot air expelled and greenhouse gas burned in the short life of Unity08 probably raised the temperature of the globe by a full degree. It is incumbent on us to recycle and make use of what we can from the Unity08 waste products.

The first indication of the impending Unity08 demise was the story by Elizabeth Benjamin writing in the New York Daily News Politics blog, saying that “Unity08 to jump on Bloomberg Bandwagon“:

“A source familiar with the Bloomberg for president movement says the bipartisan Unity08 effort is poised to shut down its Web site, reconstitute as a Draft Bloomberg site and launch its own 50-state signature-gathering operation on behalf of the supposedly reluctant would-be independent presidential candidate.”

I checked out the Unity08 site and found, buried deep in a forum comment thread, one reference to the story:

A member was understandably concerned about the NY Daily News story, since the raison d’etre for Unity08 was for the members/delegates to select and nominate a centrist, non-partisan ticket. Unity08 supporting Bloomberg now appeared to skip a few steps. Even though the site shutdown was only hours away, for whatever reason, Bob Roth, VP Marketing, Unity08 saw fit to mislead this member by implying the story was false, while actually only “correcting” one aspect of it – the connection to Bloomberg. Ha! Ha! Good one, Bob!

It seems obvious now, that from the beginning Unity08 was indeed a Mike Bloomberg stalking horse, funded and staffed by Bloomberg loyalists. They couldn’t pull off the Bloomberg run within the Unity08 structure, so they suddenly close up shop to make room for the imminent Bloomberg Independent candidacy, redirecting management and money resources to the impending campaign. The Unity08 tombstone is enlightening:

“And, of course, waiting in the wings should the divide persist, is the potential of a serious non-partisan candidacy in the person of the Mayor of New York (and indeed we have lost two of our leaders, Doug Bailey and Jerry Rafshoon, to a committee forming to draft Mayor Bloomberg should the circumstances seem right)… Unity is in the air right now, and Mayor Bloomberg seems poised to run on his own (and the fact is that two independent candidacies wouldn’t work) if the parties leave the sensible center open – but all this could change in a matter of weeks.”

[The above quote is from the Unity08 announcement as it was originally posted on the site. Later in the day, it was replaced by a revised version saying simply that Baily and Rafshoon had resigned and no mention of them going to the Bloomberg campaign.]

Unity08 had over 120,000 members and raised over a million dollars. Not as much as they wanted, but nothing to scoff at. I liked the idea of a Hagel/Bloomberg Unity08 candidacy, which is why, although dubious, I signed up as a “delegate”. I feel bad for those who put their heart and soul into the effort, as they have been treated rather shabbily by the organization. The whole thing smells so manipulative, so contrived and betrays such cynical contempt for the Unity08 supporters that I would find it difficult to support Bloomberg now.

But Unity08 is dead, and let us not speak ill of the dead. Let us instead reflect on the short life of Unity08, with a brief retrospective of DWSUWF’s greatest Unity08 hits.

Unity08 was created with much fanfare and a big publicity splash in June of 2006, in the same timeframe that DWSUWF published our first blog post. We’ll admit to some popularity envy, as Unity08 was embraced by pundits, bloggers and columnists, while the infant DWSUWF readership was langusihing in the high single digits.

Our first post focused exclusively on Unity08 was October 16, 2006, where we announced the formation of “Disunity ’06“, comparing and contrasting the differences in our approach to the 2006 midterm elections and the problem of a dangerous single party Republican government spinning wildly out of control:

“Now in my simpleminded view, the solution here is not to find ways to hold a civil discourse with the party in power to politely register dissatisfaction with the path they have taken. My view is that very first step is solving these problems, is to rip some the power away from the single party on watch when the problems were created, and give that power to the opposition party. This is a fairly simple solution that can be implemented on November 7 of this year… If the Democrats achieve a majority in both the House and Senate in 2006, vote for a Republican president in 2008. If the Republicans maintain a majority in the House and Senate in 2006, vote for a Democratic President in 2008…”

By November 3, 2006 – just a week before the midterms, it became clear that “Disunity06 kicks Unity08 butt“:

“It is just so painfully obvious that the “unity” in Unity08 will last exactly as long as they support no actual candidates, have no platform, and have no opinion on any actual issues, and will not last one minute longer… Lets just call this post a place-holder for me to link with a giant “I told you so” post a year or two from now… “

Umm – I told you so.

Continued at Divided We Stand United We Fall

  • Punky Brewster

    Whatever Unity08’s future is, it is clear that voters around the country are looking for something different. Out in Seattle they are trying to do away with party politics at the local level. Seems worth supporting if you ask me. http://www.independentgovernment.org,

  • http://www.UniteForMike.com Andrew MacRae

    You can always pick up with the independent volunteer citizen led effort to Draft Mike Bloomberg for President at UniteForMike.com.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    Thanks, no.

  • sglover

    I liked the idea of a Hagel/Bloomberg Unity08 candidacy

    Ah yes, Hagel, the source of so many pleasing words, unsullied by a single concrete action. And Bloomberg — because billionaires just don’t have enough influence in American politics.

    How could anyone NOT swoon, with a line-up like that?!?

  • Dave

    You’re an ass. Fuck you as you laugh at the failure of something good.

    Good for you Seattle, and anyone else trying to push forward to try to change the political system we have that doesn’t care to serve the public anymore. Keep pushing for American government to serve America again, for the concept of country above party, for true and honorable public servants, for all Americans to involve themselves in the process, and for a process that we look forward to participating in, instead of the hopeless process we have now.

    MW, Keep going how you see fit. Keep being negative, keep dragging down, keep your efforts focused on being a dickhead. Do what you like, it’s your choice. But what’s your goal? To destroy everything you disagree with until nothing but your thoughts are left? I doubt that’s a successful tactic. Disunity is the future, huh? That’s what keeps things honest? Ok, the two party system is good. Tension is needed. But when 2 choices have no interest in aiming to be the best for the whole common good, and instead choose that dragging the other down so all they have to be is barely better than the other is the highest standard they choose to hold themselves to (which I’d argue is the current state), what good is that? Who are you helping by cheering for the demise of Unity08? Do you believe that their motives were tainted from the start? What have you done to contact them, to get to know them, and to discover if in fact that’s true? If this site and negative rhetoric is serving nothing more than your ego, all the rest of us are better without it. Stay vocal if you’re trying to contribute and not just detract. Your vanity is showing.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    Thanks for your commentary. I’ll give it all the consideration it deserves.

    One thing. In case you didn’t notice, I had nothing to do with the demise of Unity08. You and your fellow followers failed to behave like the big money, pr professionals, and Washington insiders that dreamed up Unity08 wanted you to behave. You didn’t contribute enough money, you didn’t get behind the presumed enlightened leadership, and you did not get enough of your friends and family to support an organization that took no stands on any issues, fielded no candidates, and stood for nothing meaningful. Not my fault. Like I said I feed sorry for the people that invested hopes, dreams, money and energy in a cynical organization that betrayed the people who supported it.

  • Bob Roth

    MW, the truth of the matter, if you are interested, is that the closure of Unity08 was not a process of tranfering, redirecting, re-allocating, re-structuring, re-constituting, or re-organizing into a pro-Bloomberg effort. No member information or money was moved from one organization to the other. They are completely separate organizations.

    My comment to the members in the Unity08 forum was the result of their having been a false rumor started that day. We were operating on a time line to close the virtual doors of the organization which we advanced due to the nature of the press report. I felt that I owed it to the membership to tell them what I could since these particular members had worked avidly with me on the movement.

  • http://www.donklephant.com Justin Gardner

    Bob, you could have been out in front of this story both on this blog and other centrist blogs, but you decided to ignore us. That’s why you’re seeing the current backlash.

    Also, some of us warned you last year that not having a coherent exit strategy was not the smartest move. Obviously, that warning was ignored. So for everybody’s benefit and in the spirit of transparency, I’d like to hear what you’ll be doing now since you won’t be picking a ticket or holding a convention or getting ballot access. Will Unity08 give any of the money they raised back? Or has it all just gone to line the pockets of the people who are working at there?

    These are fair questions Bob, and they deserve real answers.

  • http://westanddivided.blogspot.com/ mw

    Thanks for stopping by to provide that clarification. Much appreciated. Clearly any linkage between Unity08 and the Bloomberg effort is speculative and purely circumstantial. There just seems to be an awful lot of those convenient circumstances in evidence, most notable the founders of Unity08 now in the Draft Bloomberg camp.

    So just out of curiosity Bob, since Unity08 no longer needs a V.P. of Marketing

    – where are you going?

  • Bob Roth

    MW, I’ve decided to retire to my home state to spend some time with family while also helping out some friends get a few different projects off the ground. As I am sure you might find if you read several political blogs, one of those projects happens to be the draftbloomberg.com movement.

    Justin, “out front with the story on centrist blogs?” If you are suggesting that I should have leaked the story, then you don’t understand my integrity. Unfortunately, I’ve found that embargoed info doesn’t typically stay embargoed either.

    I don’t consider what is being written necessarily a “backlash.” I see that there are many I-told-ya-so’s out there, but what I have found in the world of politics is that there are a lot of name-callers and few action-takers. I can leave Unity08 with my head held high because I worked the insane hours and slept at the office to try and make a difference and thereby improve our country. You can argue whether it was right or wrong, but I took action.

    Finally, you make an assumption that there was money in the bank when it was all said and done… we had ballot access efforts, direct mail in the works, an office of staff, new site technology built… and we stretched a million and a half dollars in donations over an amazingly long time period equal to about a year and a half. I don’t know about you, but the startups that I have worked for have had a much higher burn rate than that.

    Good luck to you all!