Left Watch: Center for American Progress

It's important for the Right to be aware of what the Left is doing.  Few, if any, on the Left are doing it better than the Center for American Progress...

[T]he Center for American Progress has become in just five years an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the new Obama administration.

Much as the Heritage Foundation provided intellectual heft for the Republican Party in the 1980s, CAP has been an incubator for liberal thought and helped build the platform that triumphed in the 2008 campaign.  [...]

To help promote its ideas, CAP employs 11 full-time bloggers who contribute to two Web sites, ThinkProgress and the Wonk Room; others prepare daily feeds for radio stations. The center's policy briefings are standing-room only, packed with lobbyists, advocacy-group representatives and reporters looking for insights on where the Obama administration is headed. [...]

CAP, which has 180 staffers and a $27 million budget, devotes as much as half of its resources to promoting its ideas through blogs, events, publications and media outreach. [...]

Podesta modeled the center on the Heritage Foundation, which became the go-to policy-research organization in 1981 when newly elected President Ronald Reagan embraced its conservative ideas embodied in a book called ``Mandate for Leadership.'' Heritage was just seven years old. [...]

Podesta likes to say, ``we're not a think tank, we're an action tank,'' said Dan Weiss, an environmental activist who joined CAP last year.

This is important.  The Center for American Progress has adapted and modernized some of the Right's best strategies and tactics.  They have a conceptually superior understanding of how best to do what they are doing.

  • They realized that information and ideas already existed, and action - the organization and application of information - was what the Left needed.  So they created a Marketing Tank.
  • They realized that a think tank was two different organizations - policy (501c3) and communications (501c4) - and those two organizations required structural separation to be most effective.  
  • They realized the Permanent Campaign was reality, so they built infrastructure to construct the permanent campaign outside of actual campaigns - to ensure the permanent campaign would be both permanent and ideological (rather than merely partisan).
  • They realized the internet was their most effective channel - their killer app - so they prioritized the internet as a more effective means of communicating and mobilizing people around ideas, resulting in ideas that very quickly enter the bloodstream of policymakers, the media, influentials and activists.  As John Podesta has said...

Address the issues—in real time. “When we got into this, conservatives had natural outlets on talk radio, Fox, etc. Progressives were weak at this. So we designed a suite of products—a daily e-mail, a blog, etc.—to engage with policy decisions every day.”

Get the long-term message out. “Traditional progressive research institutions devote about 5 percent of resources to outreach. We’re around 40 percent, and it’s paying off. In 2005 we put out a plan for affordable health care for everyone. Now all the Democratic presidential candidates are in favor of universal health coverage.”

Whatever you think of their agenda, it's difficult not to admire how smart the Center for American Progress has been about building an effective new machine that marries policy, communications and action.  In a town that had grown comfortable and complacent about building new political infrastructure, the Center for American Progress helped produce a revolution.

There is much to learn from that.


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Equally important

is for the left to see where the right is headed. Demoralized yet? If not, read Kathleen Parker's latest.

Oh Noes! We Lost Kathleen Parker!!!11!!!!1!

Pssh. Yeah, the musings of the Wonketeers and Kathleen Parker are really demoralizing. Kathleen is trying to cozy up to the other side of the aisle now that we ex-communicated her. I'm sure she will find a good home on the Left and will get plenty of face time much like Scotty did. Good riddance. The lefties will throw her away after their done marching her about on MSNBC and the progrie blogs.

Oh, and this whole concerted effort by the Left to drive a wedge between socons and the rest of the party is really, really pathetic. You can't divide us, lefties.


Kathleen who?

(crickets chirping)

Free Smart Advice

center for american progress good but not great

based on the fact that I only read their daily emails about half the time.  Sometimes (today) it is too wonky  for me, though I do visit their wonk room fairly frequently. After checking out yglesias blog today will retrun to that regularly  as well.  My favorite columnist for center left viewpoint is  EJ Dionne, who today explained two major divisions in GOP in a way tha makes sense to me.

from Dionne's column for your consideration:

       ".....But how conservatives resolve their differences will also matter to Obama's success. For now, the right is divided into ideological conservatives and dispositional conservatives.

The ideological conservatives hold to a faith linking small government and tax-cutting to extreme social conservatism. That mix is increasingly incoherent and out of step with an electorate that is more diverse and more suburban than ever. Ideological conservatives talk obsessively about returning to the glory days of Ronald Reagan and sometimes drop Sarah Palin's name as a talisman.

Dispositional conservatives have leanings and affections but not an ideology. They have had enough with rigid litmus tests, free-market bromides irrelevant to the current economic downturn and anti-government rhetoric that bears no relationship to the large government that conservatives would inevitably preside over if they took power again. "


smirk one of my strategical friends

says this may truly be the End of Ideology, as we move toward a more pragmatic Washington.

time will tell.

$27 mil budget...

...it'd be interesting to know what percentage of the $27 mil comes from individual small to mid donors and what percentage comes from Soros and his ilk.  I'll wager that a very, very large percentage comes from the latter. 

If thats true, where are the rightroots Soros level donors? DD

Didn't you know, DD?

They have been pumping their money into their own private think tank called the Republican Party.

ex animo



I think they've been pumping...

...money into the U.S. Chamber who in turn has fought feverishly to keep the southern border porous and the flow of cheap labor uninterrupted.  Which, in my thinking, makes these worse than Soros.  DD

Oh, you've got them. But they're chinese

surely you've heard of the Moonies?

they run newspapers

Washington Times, Pgh Tribune Review, etc.

Good Information

Good information Jon, and I agree that it's important for the Right to be aware of what the Left is doing. I believe this type of information will help to shape the conservative movement and its broad national strategy.  

I also believe that it is important to have a firm understanding of the electorate.  Please take the time to read the following article by Larry Bartels titled "The Irrational Electorate" at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars:


Not that it will significantly alter the strategy of how we move forward within the conservative movement rather, it is important to understand the electorate and its overall rational in American politics.

Looking forward to working toward 2010 and 2012.

Best Regards,

Douglas Peteson




No one should emulate them

MattY is consistently intellectual dishonest. See the comment I just left (24AheadDotCom) for just one example, and do a search for all the other examples:


ThinkProgress concentrates on childish name-calling and gaffes.

Some of their studies are laughably wrong.

They support illegal activity and hide it behind opposition ot "xenophobia".

One of their senior fellows is married to someone whose former group collaborated with the MexicanGovernment and then, when she was working for NewHaven, pushed ID cards for illegal aliens.

My list of reasons to oppose Obama had CAP at #16, and they were mentioned in #14 as well. Search at my site for more on them.

$27 mil, here, $15 mil there...

...pretty soon you'll be talking about some real money! This out today - HuffPo gets $15million: ( link ) it says "fundraising from investors".   So purposely vague.  We know where that $$ is coming from.  Those that want the U.S. to be part of the "World Community".  Ceasing to exist as we know it today. 

Patrick Says: "Whatever you think of their agenda, it's difficult not to admire how smart the Center for American Progress has been about building an effective new machine that marries policy, communications and action."

No I don't admire them Patrick!  Look at the $$ thats being dumped upon them.  I admire you folks ( and rightroots) for doing what you do - operating on a shoe string budget.  If you guys/gals had the sort of money CAP and Huffpo are getting you too could dedicate 60-70 hr weeks to getting out the truth.  Attorneys, PI's and a research staff, etc could be hired. 

And the question again is, "where are the high level 'fundraising investors' for the Rightroots" ??   I can tell you they are pumping their big bucks into the US Chamber and the seditious US Chamber is lobbying hard to keep our sovereign borders open and porous and the cheap labor flowing.  These are the scoundrels operating in the shadows that need to have the spotlight aimed directly on them.  Until we expose these internal threats (within our own ranks), we're going  no where.  Let the purge begin here.  Darvin Dowdy