February 07, 2006

"Rock"ed By Crisis

The LA Times has an article this morning about the current financial troubles of "Rock The Vote".

The organization, founded in 1990, operates under the stated goal of registering millions of new voters and is aimed at the 18-25 year old demographic - the "MTV" generation. However, with most of its funding coming from the entertainment industry and promoted by celebrities who are pretty clear about their dislike of President Bush and Republicans in general, a more accurate stated goal would be to register millions of new Democrat voters. In more recent years, its activities have been more focused on the development of millions of young Left-wing activists.

Now in its 16th year, the first wave of the youths that it targeted are now well into their thirties. But "Rock The Vote" has found itself in dire financial straits:

Saddled with about $700,000 in debt, the group has cut its staff from more than 20 people in 2004 to just two today. Its president, who left last summer amid disagreement about the organization's direction, has yet to be replaced. And last month, Rock the Vote was sued for the second time in just eight months.
While RTV's tone was more subtle in the early nineties when it energized supporters to help put Bill Clinton in the White House, it's become increasingly more partisan as its successes become fewer and farther between. Beginning in 1994, Democrats lost both the House and the Senate and, in 2000, the White House. During President Bush's term, the GOP increased its representation in Congress with each election cycle.

In 2004, in association with MTV's "Vote Or Die" campaign, RTV waged an aggressive campaign against the President prouncing a second Bush term as the beginning of the end for today's youth. Bush won reelection anyway. In 2005, it joined with the AARP to fight Social Security reform on the premise that Republicans wanted to take away this generation's guaranteed retirement benefits - "guaranteed" if you believe the Federal Government's false promises that the money is actually going to be there if we don't fix the system, that is. Dan Lips looks at RTV's activities in a column he wrote for National Review last March:

Rock the Vote, while reliably backing leftist causes, has at least masqueraded as non-partisan in its decade-long campaign to urge younger Americans to register to vote. Last year, such champions of democracy as Leonardo DiCaprio and Justin Timberlake took to the airwaves to stress the importance of voting. The message: If the younger generation doesn't vote, the environment would be destroyed, America would soon have a draft, and government funding for higher education would be eliminated.

But with its preemptive strike against President Bush's proposal, Rock the Vote has finally chosen to wear its partisan stripes with pride. The group plans to launch a seven-figure campaign, including public-service announcements, billboards, and online advertising opposing reform. "We are opening the door to be the defender of young people's policy interests," explained Hans Reimer, Rock the Vote's political director, "This is a great issue to do it."

Reimer feels the "young people's policy interests" equate to big-government Liberalism and preserving the status quo. But, in reality, RTV's effort to kill Social Security reform goes against the interests of today's young people who will bear the financial brunt of a system that will be broken if nothing is done to change it.

Despite their efforts, most of today's young people are smart enough (and perhaps cynical enough) to see "Rock The Vote" for what it is - Liberal propaganda packaged and sold by the "cool" heroes of pop culture. And it hasn't been translating to meaningful results on election day. And the further Left it goes, the more irrelevant it becomes. The LA Times poses the question: Will "Rock The Vote" survive?

[RTV Founders] Ayeroff, Goldring and others say yes, as long as they can jump-start fundraising. Board members are meeting with donors, and the group has brought in a successful television executive, Lawrence Lyttle, to fix what's broken for a salary of $1 a year.

But Lyttle says he has no fundraising experience. And the group's political director has announced he may take time off in the coming year. Unless more staff members are hired, Rock the Vote will be left with only one full-time employee: its webmaster.

It's looking increasingly likely that an organization formed to light a political fire in a new generation might not even last a generation.

Posted by: Gary at 09:30 AM | No Comments | Add Comment
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