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A Conservative MoveOn.org

by Richard Poe
Monday, January 22, 2007

3:54 pm Eastern Time
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Rod D. Martin, Founder and Chairman of TheVanguard.org: the conservative answer to MoveOn

At last! Some conservatives are finally beginning to wake up. They are realizing that, if we want to beat the left, we must use the tactics of the left. Spearheading this rising generation of battle-hardened young activists is Rod Martin, Founder and Chairman of TheVanguard.org.

The name which Martin gave to his website reveals much about his pragmatic approach to political struggle. “It comes from Lenin’s description of the Communist Party as `the vanguard of the revolution’“, Martin explains to Human Events in a front-page feature article which appeared Thursday. (1)

Lenin argued in 1902 that the masses were too fickle and disorganized to sieze power on their own. They needed leadership, in the form of a highly trained revolutionary “vanguard“. (2)

Martin seeks to provide American conservatives with just such a revolutionary elite, through his website TheVanguard.org and its sister organization VanguardPAC.

Lenin is not the only radical leader whom Martin has studied. A former PayPal executive, Martin also borrowed a few ideas from Silicon Valley, in particular, from high-tech entrepreneurs Wesley Boyd and his wife Joan Blades, who founded MoveOn.org in 1998. (3)

“No one on our side has even begun to create anything like MoveOn,” says Martin, who admires the site’s ability to raise money, mobilize activists and form coalitions. He hopes TheVanguard.org will perform similar feats for our side. Of Martin’s fledgling site, Human Events writes:

Launched as an organization last March, TheVanguard.org already has a top-drawer cast, including Silicon Valley heavy-hitters like Eric Jackson (a former PayPal colleague of Martin’s, where he was head of marketing) and Gil Amelio (former CEO of two Fortune 500 companies, including Apple Computer), among others.

But it is far from an all-California show. Americans for Tax Reform founder Grover Norquist is on its board too, as are Club for Growth founder (and current Wall Street Journal editorial board member) Stephen Moore, famed actress Jane Russell, direct-mail pioneer Walt Longyear, compassionate conservatism’ guru Marvin Olasky, even Reagan Doctrine-architect Jack Wheeler. Martin refuses to confirm or deny rumors that Jerome Corsi–co-author of 2004’s “Unfit for Command,” which irreparably damaged John Kerry’s presidential hopes–has signed on for a similar effort against Hillary.(4)

Regular readers of this blog will be tickled to learn that your faithful correspondent contributed a quote to the above-cited Human Events article, which reads as follows:

“They’re a real Silicon Valley team,” says Richard Poe, whose New York Times best-seller “The Shadow Party” (co-authored with David Horowitz) chronicles the role of MoveOn in modern politics. “MoveOn grew from a Silicon Valley vision, Silicon Valley money, Silicon Valley talent. Conservatives have very little of that, and a great deal of what they do have is concentrated in TheVanguard.org.”(5)

To date, more than 100,000 aspiring revolutionaries have signed on as Vanguard members, but Martin told Human Events the site is still in development. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re still a beta site,” he says.

by Richard Poe
January 22, 2007 03:54 ET

Cross-posted from ShadowParty.com 01.22.07


NOTES

1. Stephanie Dube, “The Next MoveOn.org?: Another PayPal Alumnus Makes His Move. If His Peers Are Any Indication, It Could Be a Big One”, Human Events, 18 January 2007

2. “Vanguard Party“, Wikipedia.org, last modified 06:28, 11 January 2007; Vladimir Lenin, “What is to be Done?: Burning Questions of Our Movement” (Stuttgart: J.H.W. Dietz, 1902); Владимир Ильич Ленин, “Что делать?: Наболевшие вопросы нашего движения.” (Stuttgart, J.H.W. Dietz, 1902).

3. David Horowitz and Richard Poe, “The Shadow Party: A Three-Part Series (Part 2: The Network)”, FrontPageMagazine.com, 7 October 2005

4. Dube, “The Next MoveOn.org?”

5. Dube, “The Next MoveOn.org?”

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