Technology with attitude



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