MoveOn, Soros Are Heartbroken, Distressed by Bush Win

By Robert B. Bluey | July 7, 2008 | 8:22 PM EDT

( - The liberal activist group e-mailed its supporters late Wednesday acknowledging "heartbreak" over President Bush's re-election and billionaire investor George Soros called Bush's win "distressing" before departing to Europe for work on other business.

But the prominent critics of the president said they wouldn't spend too much time mourning Tuesday's election results, vowing instead to look ahead to congressional races in 2006 and the battle for the White House in four years.

"This totally sucks. But we're going to pull through it together," wrote blogger David Allen, administrator of the popular Democratic Underground website.

Unlike past elections, groups like MoveOn, America Coming Together, the Media Fund and the Center for American Progress became major political players, often upstaging the Democratic National Committee in terms of inciting anti-Bush sentiment.

Many of the new groups were funded by Soros, a liberal philanthropist, who devoted $25 million of his fortune to defeat Bush. Soros even took a trip through battleground states in October. Last week he jokingly said he would enter a monastery if Bush was re-elected.

"Obviously, I am distressed at the outcome of the election," Soros wrote in a note on his website Wednesday. "I hope, but don't trust, that the second Bush administration will have learned something from the mistakes of the first. What is at stake is our ability to recognize our own fallibility."

After Kerry conceded Wednesday, reaction was slow to trickle in from other key players in the anti-Bush movement. In an e-mail Thursday, the Center for American Progress vowed to challenge Bush if he perceived his victory as a mandate from voters.

"President Bush ran on fear and divisive cultural issues and turned out more voters than his opponent," according to the center's talking points memo. "Despite the president's sunny calls for coming together, this election was a mandate for political division not unity. Progressives must remain strong and prepare for what is coming our way."

Eli Pariser, executive director of the MoveOn PAC, wrote the "heartbreak" e-mail, which was jointly signed by the 22-member team at MoveOn and distributed late Wednesday. Pariser called it "a dark day" in America.

"That you put so much into this effort makes the loss more painful in some ways," Pariser wrote. "But the fact that so many of us were involved offers true hope for the future of democracy. In the campaign to defeat George Bush, you have proven that real Americans can have a voice in American politics. In the months and years to come, that revelation will change everything."

MoveOn also used the opportunity to thank its supporters and claim credit for Kerry's victories in New Hampshire and Wisconsin. Pariser stated that more than 70,000 people worked on behalf of MoveOn on Election Day.

"Our heartache does not diminish our pride in what you've done," Pariser wrote. "We're proud about Wisconsin, where MoveOn volunteers turned out over 27,000 voters and Kerry won by only 11,813 votes. And New Hampshire, a former Bush state where we turned out 9,820 of the people on our list and Kerry won by 9,171 votes."

For liberals looking for a place to cope, the Democratic Underground blog offers two forums: "General Discussion: Help and Support" and "General Discussion: Fighting and Acrimony." Allen, the blog's administrator, told readers not to be angry.

"If you ever feel so angry that you want to disrupt or pick fights, or deliberately piss people off, I strongly advise that you turn off your computer and turn off the cable news and go do something else that will make you feel better," Allen wrote.

The anti-Bush forces are looking ahead to future races at the federal, state and local level. MoveOn included a note in its e-mail from one supporter named "Chris" who had already asked Pariser for help running a congressional race in 2006.

"Our journey toward a progressive America has always been bigger than George Bush," Pariser wrote. "The current leg is just beginning - we're still learning how to build a citizen-based politics together."

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