From Sunday’s Washington Post: Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks – Aim Is to Compete With Conservatives,
At least 80 wealthy liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades.
[. . .] The goal of the alliance, according to organizers, is to foster the growth of liberal or left-leaning institutions equipped to take on prominent think tanks on the right, including the Heritage Foundation, the Hoover Institution, the American Enterprise Institute and the Cato Institute, as well as such training centers as the Leadership Institute and the Young America’s Foundation.
[. . .] Liberal groups have been disproportionately dependent on one-year foundation grants for specific projects, Stein said, while the money flowing to conservative groups has often involved donors’ long-term commitments with no strings attached. Stein noted that of 200 major conservative donors, about half sit on the boards of the think tanks they give to, increasing the strength of their commitment.
The Right spends between $400-500 million every year in just the think thank, training, and legal advocacy groups in its machine. That number doesn’t even include their network of media outlets.
$200 million over four years doesn’t seem like a lot comparatively, and it technically isn’t. But their machine was built for 20th century politics. Ours doesn’t have to be as big and expensive as theirs. And we can craft ours to better suit the digital political warscape we face in the years ahead.
I wonder if any of this money trickles down to bloggers – after all, we provide a lot of bang for the buck.
On a more positive note, it looks like some Democrats are finally going to get off their checkbooks and begin to fund some progressive advoacacy organizations. Gee, the New American Fascists have had a pretty exclusive playing field for quite a number of years funded by the Scaifes, Olins and others…it’s nice to see that the money is going to be forthcoming for some non-lying advocacy…’bout time.
Now the “advocacy” groups just need to remember that the objective is not to save the spotted owl, but to retake the reins of government to help protect all the owls in the forest, sensibly and with a “plan”. I think that any efforts need to start with drilling home the lying, cheating and shredding of the Constitution that the 1600 Crew and their allies has been doing and how that’s about as un-American as you can get (especially the Shredding the Constitution part), and still retain citizenship in the US of A.
John at AMERICAblog writes:
Communication strategies, yes indeed, but “new ideas”? What new ideas could they mean?
And where’s Liberal TV? (And no, it’s not Al Gore’s new thing, which is something else.) I think people need to see what an actual liberal media would really look like.
That is not much compared to the Right’s yearly expenditures, but it is a move in the right direction. The fact that the commitments extend for five years are also a good sign. it suggest the people involved understand the magnitude of the task. The right wing has a message machine the likes of which the Left cannot even approach, and countering that is not the work of a few lazy summer afternoons. These people seem to understand that.
I like this. I like this a lot. I feel like we are finally starting to get it. While the right will still massively out-fund us even when this gets off the ground, the truth and 21st century strategies will allow us to do more with less.
The idea that Democrats could expect to win by throwing a lot of money into an election without an underlying infrastructure and strategy was probably a little naive. Afterall, it took the Right a generation to get to where they are today, and whether it will take the Left that long to get back on track, I’m not sure. I’m sure, though, that this is the type of long-term strategic thinking and planning that can only help the party and its policies.
[. . .] However, it’s important to note that we can’t afford to wait for a generation of progressive talking heads and strategists to grow up within the infrastructure and then be ready to contribute to this strategy. Ideally, we would need something in place that could be effective by 2008, which means that media strategy and training needs to be a primary focus of the Democracy Alliance and its future offspring. Fortunately, from what I’m reading, this seems to be understood.