Michael Moore: Why I'm Not Now and Have Never Been the Democrats' "Rush Limbaugh"
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Think about this road I've traveled. At the beginning of the Bush years, I was pretty much an outsider, referred to as being on the "far left." I usually found myself holding viewpoints that differed from the majority of the people in this country. When I spoke out against the war—before it even started—I was marginalized by the mainstream media and then booed off the Oscar stage in " liberal Hollywood" for commenting about a "fictitious" president. Seventy percent of the public back then supported the war and approved of the job George W. Bush was doing.
But I stuck to what I believed in, kept churning out my movies, and never looked back. The Right and the White House spokespeople came after me time after time. President Bush 41 called me an "a**" on TV, and I became a favorite punching bag at both the 2004 and the 2008 Republican National Conventions in speeches by John McCain and Joe Lieberman. On the front page of this morning's Washington Post, Mark McKinnon, a top adviser to George W. Bush, revealed—for the first time—the Bush White House strategy of singling me out in the hopes of turning the country against me and the Democratic Party. Here's what the Post said:
Mark McKinnon, a top adviser in President George W. Bush's campaigns, acknowledged the value of picking a divisive opponent. "We used a similar strategy by making Michael Moore the face of the Democratic Party," he said of the documentary filmmaker.
In the end it all proved to be a big strategic mistake on their part. Thanks to the Republican attacks on me, average Joes and Janes started to listen to what I had to say. Contrary to Richard Wolffe's assessment that "there were no Democrats as far as I can remember who were saying they stood with Michael Moore," Democrats, in fact, have stood side by side with me during all of this. Here's the Congressional Black Caucus supporting me on Capitol Hill in 2004. Here's Terry McAuliffe, the head of the Democratic National Committee, enthusiastically attending the premiere of "Fahrenheit 9/11" with two dozen senators and members of Congress. Here's a group of Democratic congresspeople endorsing my film "Sicko" in the chambers of the House Judiciary Committee in 2007. And here's President Jimmy Carter inviting me to sit with him in his box at the Democratic National Convention. Far from making me into a pariah, the Republicans helped the Democratic leadership realize that to identify themselves publicly with me meant reaching the millions who followed and supported my work.
Though John Kerry lost in 2004, my focus that year had been to get young voters registered and out to vote (I visited over 60 campuses). And so, just a few short months after the release of "Fahrenheit 9/11," America's young voters became the only age group that John Kerry won. They set a new record for the largest 18- to 24-year-old turnout since 1972, when 18-year-olds were given the right to vote, thus sending a signal about what would happen four years later with the youth revolution that ignited Obama's campaign.
After "Fahrenheit," I kept speaking out, the Republican machine kept attacking me, and two years later, in 2006, the American public sided with me—not Rush Limbaugh—and voted in the Democrats to take over both houses of Congress.
And then, finally, two years after that, we won the White House.
That's the difference—The American people agree with me, not Rush.
The American public believes that health care is a right and not a commodity.