Tuesday, April 12, 2005

Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy to Meet

ABC's The Note reports today that a group of liberal movers-and-shakers is meeting this weekend to mount a "vast left-wing conspiracy." (NB: The latter link is to the National Review website; lefties beware!) According to the Note,

For years now, wealthy liberal activists have formally strategized about the creation of a center-left message machine, similar to the pyramid Bill Bradley described in the New York Times last week and equal in heft and influence to what conservatives built through the Scaife and Bradley funds and the Heritage Foundation. Rob Stein, formerly a top aide to the late Ron Brown, has been the project's intellectual and organizational whip.

Stein and dozens of top party fundraisers will meet this weekend in Scottsdale, Arizona to plan the future of his enterprise, called the Democracy Alliance. These are folks who have seen his fabled PowerPoint and who have agreed to help build a grassroots, communications and think-tank network for liberals and progressives.

From this preliminary meeting, according to several Democrats who planned to attend but who asked not to identified for fear of losing their invitation, will come more concrete proposals down the road for groups, political entities, think tanks, and coordinating bodies.

Some fundraisers have ties to top party officials, although very little time will be spent discussing electoral politics per se.

The Bradley piece mentioned above is must-read (it can be found, via Common Dreams, here). In it, he argues for a stable base of big donors, a second level of think tanks, a third level of political candidates and operatives, topped off with an ideological media effort. (Right now, according to Bradley, the Democrats operate under an inverted pyramid.) Most importantly, this structure would produce new ideas.

Everyone on the left can agree that new ideas are important and should be cultivated in a manner similar to conservative efforts. But what I'll be interested to see is whether this new liberal effort - the Democracy Alliance - buys into the George Lakoff model of "reframing" the left's positions. If so, it will be a waste of time. (I hope to explain my dissatisfaction with Lakoff's approach in the near future; in the meantime, take a look at this piece by Marc Cooper in last month's Atlantic.)


At 10:02 PM, Anonymous nathanielbsmith@earthlink.net said...

Although money is important, I didn't agree with Bradley that rich people are the future of the party. I write this letter, unpublished, to the NYTimes:

To the editor,

Bill Bradley (“A Party Inverted," 3/30) makes some good points, most of which have been flying around on the Internet since election day, when many people recognized that, like the post-Goldwater Republicans, the Democrats needed to start over from the bottom. 
The Republican bottom is conservative foundations; the Democratic bottom is the people. Howard Dean knew this, and now he is in charge. 
Bradley seems to lament: Why can’t the D’s be more like the R’s? It’s simple: D’s don’t think and feel like R’s; they aren’t going to act like them either.
Across the country, in November, committed Democrats began building grassroots organizations based on values and neighborhoods rather than on money and politicians. This is happening in the 18,000-person town of West Chester PA, which voted 70% for Kerry; it is happening in countless communities. These organizations will prosper, involve ever more people, and become the new Democratic party.


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