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How to waste $80 million (liberal "think" group)
Armavirumque ^ | 17 August 2005 | James Piereson

Posted on 08/18/2005 11:10:46 PM PDT by Lando Lincoln

"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."

This is the opening sentence of a most interesting article written by reporter Thomas Edsall and published last week (August 7) in The Washington Post. The $80 or more million so raised in this effort will be channelled through something called the Democracy Alliance, the brainchild of Rob Stein, a Democratic party strategist and self described "venture capitalist" who has made a careful study of the conservative network of research institutes and advocacy groups. This network, in his opinion, has been greatly responsible for the success of Republican candidates and conservative initiatives in recent decades. He concludes that Democrats and liberals can be just as successful if they can only build a parallel network. The logic is sound, but the premise may be faulty: because the conservatives did it, it does not follow that the liberals can do it, too. But this objection is perhaps irrelevant right now.

The results of last year's election, and the continuing erosion of Democratic strength in the Congress and in many state governments around the country, has convinced Stein and these wealthy donors that the time has come to try something a little different -- and perhaps a little desperate. George Soros and friends spent as much as $100 million or more last year trying to defeat George Bush, but once the votes were counted, there was not much left to show for the expenditure of all that money. It now appears (according to the article) that two of the key Soros-funded groups -- the Media Fund and America Coming Together -- are in financial distress, and may not even survive much longer. Soros, however, has assumed only a "modest role" in the new Democracy Alliance.

Stein and his associates are fairly hard-headed in their assessment of the reasons behind the failure of Democrats and liberals to develop attractive ideas and proposals. Liberal groups, they say correctly, are organized mainly to protect an agenda that was enacted by Democratic majorities stretching back to the 1930s. They might have added that they are organized also around a few important Supreme Court decisions, primarily dealing with abortion and affirmative action. In any case, such a posture has made them reactive and reactionary rather than forward looking. As a consequence, they have not adjusted to new political and economic circumstances.

This is, as noted, correct as far as it goes, except that it does not go very far in diagnosing what ails the liberals. They should remember, as many Americans do, that liberals had an opportunity to enact their agenda in the 1960s and 1970s, and almost wrecked the nation in the process. It was conservatives and Republicans who rescued the economy, won the Cold War, and saved the cities from crime, stagnation, and welfarism. The liberals, because they controlled the television networks and the news media in general, along with the universities, concluded that they were in a position to dictate terms to their fellow citizens, and did not need to persuade anyone with facts, evidence, and argument. Thus the typical liberal approach to any situation was to issue demands or to file a lawsuit -- approaches that dispensed with the need to persuade anyone that their ideas were best for the nation. The rise of alternative television networks and newspapers has now rendered these tactics hopelessly ineffective. Now no one (except unfortunate college students) is required to pay any attention at all to the liberals. And most do not.

New thinking may be required, but there is precious little evidence in this article that such thinking is in fact underway. Mr. Stein and his colleagues have outlined a thoughtful strategy, but have not said what they seek to accomplish. They have presented a road map but have not identified any destination. Nor have they identified any dead ends that they will now abandon. They will find out soon enough that their main difficulty is not so much the absence of new ideas but the real presence of powerful constituent groups that refuse to adjust their goals or allow new groups to take their place.

Mr. Stein must be a very persuasive fellow to have convinced all these donors to ante up $1 million apiece for this initiative. It would be a most difficult task to emulate this achievement on the conservative side. Still, one has a sense that he has pulled a fast one on these wealthy liberals. He claims that conservative groups outspend progressive groups by some $295 million per year to just $75 million, a disparity that is not even remotely close to the real facts of the situation. For example, in a recent year the following liberal and progressive groups spent the following sums:

· The American Civil Liberties Union, $60 million;
· The Urban Institute, $80 million;
· the Natural Resources Defense Council, $55 million;
· World Wildlife Fund, $118 million;
· the NAACP, $40 million.
And this listing only scratches the surface, as it does not include such groups as the Urban League, the Sierra Club, National Organization for Women, National Abortion Rights Action League, Alliance for Justice, the Environmental Defense Fund, La Raza, and others too numerous to mention or even to count. Nor does it include the various university programs designed to propagandize in favor of the progressive agenda. By any reasonable measure, progressive groups outspend conservative groups on an annual basis by a factor of at least 10 to 1.

Such facts will naturally cause liberals to wonder why so little has been achieved over the years by the expenditure of so much money. Conservatives might also feel a sense of alarm over such a disparity and also over the fact that so much new money is available to fund liberal initiatives. While conservatives may have more potent ideas and may spend their money more efficiently, they ought not to feel any sense of complacency. They, too, will have to continue their investment in ideas if they are to stay ahead in this intensely competitive game.

It would not, in fact, be all that difficult to tell the liberals what they need to do to regain the initiative in political debates and to regain a measure of popular support sufficient to win national elections. Such advice could be summarized in a few short paragraphs at a cost far less than $80 million. One might, indeed, be tempted to offer it for the good of the country. But on the other hand, maybe not.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial; News/Current Events; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: democracyalliance; fundingtheleft; leftists; robstein

Lando

1 posted on 08/18/2005 11:10:46 PM PDT by Lando Lincoln
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To: Lando Lincoln
Re: "liberal and progressive groups"

Article failed to include union labor, like the SEIU and it's various Marxist organs.
2 posted on 08/18/2005 11:17:16 PM PDT by endthematrix ("an ominous vacancy"...I mean, JOHN ROBERTS now fills this space!)
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To: Lando Lincoln
Lets hope, that this anti American effort has as much success as AIR AMERICA had.
3 posted on 08/18/2005 11:17:42 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Lando Lincoln

It helps when you actually have an argument supported by more than emotional whining. Liberals don't. Unfortunately, 50% of the country buys into emotional whining. I'll let the reader decide which 50%


4 posted on 08/18/2005 11:19:45 PM PDT by agitator (...And that no man might buy or sell, save he that had the mark)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Do you want to know how to make a small fortune? Start with a large one and vote democrat.


5 posted on 08/18/2005 11:25:25 PM PDT by bad company (when you hinder the war effort of one side, you help the other.)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Its the liberal way... throw money at a "problem"... However much of the funding is from the federal gov't..


6 posted on 08/18/2005 11:27:13 PM PDT by hosepipe (This Propaganda has been edited to include not a small amount of Hyperbole..)
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To: Lando Lincoln

What are they talking about? Conservative infrastructure?

Geez, I could've sworn the Conservatives were the ones without the infrastructure.


7 posted on 08/18/2005 11:35:27 PM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
Lets hope, that this anti American effort has as much success as AIR AMERICA had.

Yep, this is the latest liberal scam. I am reminded of the dog food story. First class company, lots of money, the best ingredients, super ad campaign, all for naught because the damn old dogs just wouldn't eat it.

When are the liberals going to learn that the American people just don't like what they are selling.

8 posted on 08/18/2005 11:37:45 PM PDT by Mind-numbed Robot (Not all that needs to be done needs to be done by the government.)
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To: Lando Lincoln

This is absurd. I can't believe that 80 millionaires could be so stupid. What in the hell are the liberals going to do once they rent the building?


9 posted on 08/18/2005 11:39:12 PM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats: We must become more effective at fooling people.)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
When are the liberals going to learn that the American people just don't like what they are selling.

What? Nonsense. The problem is that their message just isn't getting out. ;o)
10 posted on 08/18/2005 11:41:55 PM PDT by Jaysun (Democrats: We must become more effective at fooling people.)
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To: Mind-numbed Robot
Alpo ?
11 posted on 08/18/2005 11:44:40 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Jaysun
" What? Nonsense. The problem is that their message just isn't getting out. ;o) " .. let's hope that is sarcasm,, right ?
In the liberals case, as in , the old saying " don't blame the messenger for the message " ... but, in the liberals case, blame the message and the messenger.
12 posted on 08/18/2005 11:48:06 PM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Excellent!


13 posted on 08/18/2005 11:55:39 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lando Lincoln
The rise of alternative television networks and newspapers has now rendered these tactics hopelessly ineffective. Now no one (except unfortunate college students) is required to pay any attention at all to the liberals. And most do not.

This is the only part of the column that falls down. "Alternative television networks and newspapers"?? Certainly 24-hour cable TV news (Fox News, Cspan) has been critical, but Rush Limbaugh (talk radio) and the internet MUST be mentioned here.

14 posted on 08/18/2005 11:59:33 PM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: coconutt2000
What are they talking about? Conservative infrastructure?

Ideas that make sense to normal, traditional American families.
That's the "conservative infrastructure".

Last I heard, the Democrats were "trying to figure out what our core values are" (Senator Barak Obama) and hiring a professional linguistics dude to teach them how to lie better. The Democrats have also decided that they need to swallow hard and learn to fake the religion thing.

15 posted on 08/19/2005 12:05:24 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lando Lincoln

The liberal program writ large since the sixties has been a disaster. But liberals don't think that. They think they've had huge successes culminating with the Clinton years who of course enacted a number of successful laws that were originated by conservatives (welfare reform, tax reform) ...because The Great Fornicator knew that liberalism is bunk but couldn't admit it for obvious reasons. They think the only reason their programs aren't more successful is because stingy conservatives cut the money supply or killed their "successful" programs. Even after liberal program after liberal program was proven to be a disaster, they still believe in liberalism. Results don't matter to libs, only intentions.


16 posted on 08/19/2005 12:41:43 AM PDT by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: Lando Lincoln

Think tank? I'd call it a sewage treatment facility.


17 posted on 08/19/2005 12:49:49 AM PDT by taxesareforever (Government is running amuck)
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To: Lancey Howard

Ah... I've a term for that, "The Conspiracy of the Common Sense", which is why the Right Wing appears to have a Vast Conspiracy...


18 posted on 08/19/2005 1:21:43 AM PDT by coconutt2000 (NO MORE PEACE FOR OIL!!! DOWN WITH TYRANTS, TERRORISTS, AND TIMIDCRATS!!!! (3-T's For World Peace))
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To: driftless
successes culminating with the Clinton years who of course enacted a number of successful laws that were originated by conservatives (welfare reform, tax reform)

Welfare reform was signed by Clinton (even if it was watered down), but "tax reform"? Not during Clinton. The only thing we got from Clinton (who was elected in part on his lie to support "middle class tax cuts") was the largest tax hike in history.

It was Dubya who came along and cut taxes. That's why tax revenues to the federal government are now soaring, the deficit is coming down fast, and the economy is chugging along better than ever.

19 posted on 08/19/2005 1:50:44 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: Lancey Howard

Apparently he did sign some kind of reform bill that allowed home sellers to not be taxed up to 500 grand on profits from selling their homes. Market analysts said that that has played a large part in the housing boom. Even Sean Hannity and a few other conservatives on NRO have mentioned that. I don't give Clinton much credit for too many things, but we have to give credit where credit is due. His biggest failures were in the areas of national security as is being currently proved. He was lucky in Bosnia, but that didn't involve national security. Ultimately Clinton was the luckiest and shrewdest pol I've ever seen. But his overall grade is in the minus category even if we disregard the Lewinsky scandal.


20 posted on 08/19/2005 2:14:42 AM PDT by driftless ( For life-long happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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i'm surprised someone mentioned foxnews and cspan together? Is cspan a right thing outlet? I've been watching it and its one of the most neutral sources out there


21 posted on 08/19/2005 2:56:05 AM PDT by 4rcane
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To: endthematrix
Also there are various and numerous "arts non-profits," and a pletora of NGO's.

Where most of the money goes is to pay salaries for leftists who in turn treat their place as a sort of melding of high school, colleges and social clubs.

22 posted on 08/19/2005 4:12:38 AM PDT by CasearianDaoist
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To: Lando Lincoln; The Raven

The left wasting/misspending money....shocking, eh??!!


23 posted on 08/19/2005 4:13:53 AM PDT by Molly Pitcher (We are Americans...the sons and daughters of liberty...*.from FReeper the Real fifi*))
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To: Lando Lincoln

Although the article doesn't directly say so, it is clear to me that Rob Stein is setting himself so that he and his circle of friends and relatives can assume high paying "management" positions in his newly created think tank, once they have assembled $80 million or so of the suckers, oops - I mean backers money.
A think tank is the perfect vehicle for a gravy train project because you can use the money to sub contract out to consultants the real work of preparing "studies" on various topics while Rob and friends float around to conventions and talk shows passing off the position papers as their own ideas and to maximize their face time on TV.
If this sounds far fetched, just look at what the Gloria Wise charity group was paying to that clutch of managers who defrauded it for Air America's advantage. They were pulling down salaries of between $150,000 and $250,000 of the taxpayers money for doing SFA and had been getting away with it for years and years.
An alternate spelling for think tank is, "gravy train".


24 posted on 08/19/2005 4:28:35 AM PDT by finnigan2
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To: Lando Lincoln
This fiasco would have just as much success as airhead America! Bwahahahahahahahaha!!!!

LLS
25 posted on 08/19/2005 4:30:26 AM PDT by LibLieSlayer (Preserve America... kill terrorists... destroy dims!)
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To: Prophet in the wilderness
"Lets hope, that this anti American effort has as much success as AIR AMERICA had."
And,from which charity groups will they take the money from?
26 posted on 08/19/2005 5:01:02 AM PDT by Strutt9
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To: Lando Lincoln
They should remember, as many Americans do, that liberals had an opportunity to enact their agenda in the 1960s and 1970s, and almost wrecked the nation in the process. It was conservatives and Republicans who rescued the economy, won the Cold War, and saved the cities from crime, stagnation, and welfarism.

If anyone wants a current example of what unopposed liberalism can do for a city, one only needs to look at Detroit. Liberalism does not work, and the examples abound for those not so emotionally attached to the ideas of liberalism that they have blinded themselves.

Besides, why do they want to put up even more think tanks? I thought the liberals already had a near monopoly on information dissemination. The minority of conservative voices out there must be quite effective, or these rich liberals wouldn't be trying to drown them out by increasing the volume of liberal same old, same old.

27 posted on 08/19/2005 5:46:31 AM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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To: exDemMom

""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." "

Here, I can do it for free.

BRING FORTH POLICY THAT BENEFITS THE ENTIRE COUNTRY AND NOT JUST ABORTIONISTS AND GAY MARRIAGE ADVOCATES!!!!!

Now that should be worth at least a couple of mil. Cash please, unmarked bills in my Cayman Island account.



28 posted on 08/19/2005 5:57:39 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Liberal Talking Point - Bush = Hitler ... Republican Talking Point - Let the Liberals Talk)
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To: Strutt9
I was referring to them as being failed idea as Air America was.
29 posted on 08/19/2005 7:02:08 AM PDT by Prophet in the wilderness (PSALM 53 : 1 The ( FOOL ) hath said in his heart , There is no GOD .)
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To: 4rcane
i'm surprised someone mentioned foxnews and cspan together? Is cspan a right thing outlet? I've been watching it and its one of the most neutral sources out there

Yes. Cspan is like a pane of glass allowing the viewer to see Democrat politicians in all their glory on the House and Senate floors. How long could somebody watch that and still vote Democrat?

30 posted on 08/19/2005 7:29:02 AM PDT by Lancey Howard
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Cash please, unmarked bills in my Cayman Island account.

Hey, I'm going to the Caymans next month! I'll be glad to deposit it for you. ;)

31 posted on 08/19/2005 4:36:57 PM PDT by exDemMom (Now that I've finally accepted that I'm living a bad hair life, I'm more at peace with the world.)
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