Yesterday, an organization so small its 17 employees don’t even have a central office, found itself under attack by not only President Bush, who said the ad was “disgusting,” but also by the Democratic-controlled Senate, which passed a resolution 72 to 25 expressing its own outrage. Many Democrats blamed the group for giving moderate Republicans a ready excuse for staying with Bush and for giving Bush and his supporters a way to divert attention away from the war. . . .

Many Democratic strategists were privately furious at the group for launching an attack on a member of the military rather than Bush, arguing that it gave Republicans a point on which to attack the Democrats and to rally around the administration’s war policy. The displeasure underscores the uneasy alliance between MoveOn and the party.

If one assumes that MoveOn was out to help MoveOn, rather than the Democratic Party, this all makes sense. It has, I gather, been a fundraising boon to them, and it’s raised MoveOn’s profile within the party. Their capacity to mess things up only means that people have to pay more attention to them.

Public choice theory explains things once again!

UPDATE: A similar dynamic in a different organization.