They Were For MoveOn Before They Were Against It

An hour is an eternity in politics. Or so it seemed Thursday.

Eleven Democrats voted against a measure condemning MoveOn.org during a committee vote Wednesday morning before then voting for it on the House floor later that afternoon.

Democrats overwhelmingly bit the hand that claims to feed them Wednesday in a symbolic vote criticizing the prominent anti-war group for airing its now-notorious ad referring to the commanding general in Iraq as "General Betray Us." (See the previous Crypt item.)

One hundred forty-six Democrats joined every Republican voting on a procedure measure to condemn the MoveOn ad. They included House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (D-Md.), Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) and Democratic Caucus Chairman Rahm Emanuel (Ill.).

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) did not vote - speakers rarely do - making Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, who chairs the Democrats' campaign committee in the House, the sole member of the majority leadership to vote against the measure. In general, the anti-war movement, and MoveOn.org, in particular, took much of the credit for wresting the majority last fall from congressional Republicans.

But a MoveOn spokesman directed his complaints to Republicans rather than Democrats while defending the substance of the ad - that Army Gen. David Petraeus did, in fact, betray American voters and troops on the ground by delivering the briefing he delivered.