The Left's new infrastructure

Gary Andres makes a very important point about the Left's new infrastructure in a recent Washington Times article.  The whole thing is very worth reading, but I want to focus on the infrastructure.

Democrats regularly benefit from well-organized, well-financed and effective outside liberal advocacy groups who relentlessly investigate, attack and criticize Republicans. The GOP lacks this kind of advocacy infrastructure.

Glenn Reynolds calls this sort of thing "battlespace preparation".  It's an appropriate term.

These outside groups have long existed, but the rise of the new media has accelerated the Left's political machine.  The organic elements, such as Moveon.org, Daily Kos, MyDD, Atrios, Talking Points Memo, etc, arose between 1998-2003, and they have been reinforced since then by very savvy, cultivated elements, such as the Center for American Progress, Media Matters, the Center for Independent Media and many more. 

The Left has taken their existing coalition and grassroots-based infrastructure, and combined it with this new internet-based Progressive Infrastructure to move messaging, mobilization and money into more effective channels.  They have seen three benefits from this.

  • Better information and strategy coordination among coalition groups and the broader movement
  • New channels for signaling and mobilizing the activist base
  • Better targeting and influence of the media

Gary Andres continues...

Liberal activists have grown increasingly restive and well-organized over the past 15 years. Their grievances mounted when Republican political power grew in Washington between 1995 and 2006. Impeachment, the disputed 2000 election and the Iraq war all have helped focus liberal anger like a laser. [...]

[The Right has] also suffered over the past decade because they lacked a coherent narrative about what they would do with government once they controlled it - or at least a vision that could sustain a majority of American public opinion support. They needed new ideas and communications channels for these policies. Liberals are working on such a comprehensive model. [...]

[The Right] will never possess liberals' passion for the prize. But they need to build new advocacy institutions simply to fight back against the increasingly sophisticated and effective liberal infrastructure. If they don't, the "just leave me alone" conservatives will get some unwelcome company, overrun by the insurgent liberals at the gate.

This cannot be emphasized enough.  The Right is not just being beat at the polls.  That pendulum will swing back and forth.  The Right is being beat at the communications game.   You cannot lose the communications game and expect the pendulum to swing back in your direction.  It may swing away from the Left again, but it will not swing back to a "limited government, leave-us-alone" Right unless the Right can identify its unifying grievance, and communicate a clear, coherent, consistent and compelling narrative - an alternative vision of government to the one currently being sold.  

New distribution channels do not simply allow us to communicate "more"; they will allow us to move messaging, money and mobilization outside of the traditional establishment channels - from the entrenched bureaucracy of the Right, to a new, more vigorous and relevant "leave us alone" movement.

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re: More relevant 'leave us alone' movement

jon, the parameters of the leave us alone movement are mostly upscale, and of limited use in stressful economic times. We need to distill a comparative narrative that itemizes the cost of what is spent/wasted by washington (D or R) and a scorecard that shows what it could have done. A state by state model that shows how things could have been spent, or rebated to the people (al la Sarah Palin..) granted the extra 1200 dollar check she sent back was mostly oil money, but it was an Individual renumeration, and ceratainly seems to have impacted her approval ratings.

We need to focus on breaking the metrics of group constituency expenditures, and try the Alaska model, (where the general population is the constituency) so each election has that fundamental $ locality literacy avaliable.  That is something the leave us alone R's will be able to find common ground with Independents and conservative dems.

Enjoyed the LI class. and always enjoy your posts.

 

Do you really mean it!

I like the "leave us alone" message.  As a conservative/libertarian I am a huge fan of limited government.  I want the federal government to butt out and stick to its' original constitutional duties.  Where I differ with some on the Right is that I believe the leave us alone part applies to social control as well as fiscal control.  Get the message out that the Right will stay the heck out of both areas and you will have a lot more luck.

Here is another issue that goes along with social control - religion.  You do not need to be a god-fearing christian to be a good American.  I was raised Catholic but have no use for organized religion today.  I dislike the religious right as much as the leftists.  My wife, really dislikes them and she is absolutely conservative.  The religious right has hurt the conservative movement a lot more than it has helped it as far as a winning message. 

Like I said, I like the "leave us alone" message.  But do you really mean it!

Jon, thrilled that you...

...are covering this. Where are "our" Soros's? Where is our MoveOn org's?   My prime frustration with the conservative movement ? -  we bring a pocket-knife to a gun fight.  We must battle the left using the same weapons they use. This is a war for the survival of our nation.  We're so poorly funded in this area. Certainly there must be some wealthy people on our side that would bank roll a serious counter attack.

I'd like to see a new internet based news reporting org formed up that would do some intense investigative reporting on leftward leaning/biased msm reporters and dnc operatives.   These people have zero accountability.  I want to have PI's follow them around, take pictures of their participation in some bathhouse activities or whatever sleazy activities they're participating in .  I want accountants/attorneys to pour through their financial records.  And when massive amounts of dirt is dug up on these slime, report on it.   

There's an old saying, "if you live in a glass house, don't throw rocks".   The left does live in a glass house.  Conservatives have a big pile of rocks but seldom  throw them effectively.  We have an obligation to defend ourselves and our nation.  And to think they're going to "leave us alone" is to be in denial.  At least until we bloody them several times.  Then maybe they might. Darvin Dowdy 

We must remember the Nutroots are only a small part of the...

problem.   Their only real impact is with younger voters which incidently are the least likely voters.  They help get out the spoiled trust-fund babies who attend classes taught by aging 60's radicals which is a tiny sliver of the electorate.

Remember its the MSM that makes people think they are more impactful than they really are because unfortunately it is the dinosaur media that still controls much of the narrative.  That is why talk-radio has been their bane because Rush Limabugh, Sean Hannity, Neal Boortz etc. has really destroyed much of their credibility and has gone a long way towards swinging voters to the right.  Lets face it, if weren't for Rush their would have been no GOP congressional majority elected in 1994.  That is why they want the Orwellian "Fairness Doctrine" in hopes shutting down talk radio because as evidenced by their sorry attempts, they suck at it.  They simply can't compete in that medium.

Only when DailyKos is promoted as a mainstream movement with "legitimate" complaints against Republican-controlled administrations, Congress or state governments do they influence more moderate voters.  But if we use our resources to accurately portray them as the far left-wing extremists they really are does their credibility suffer and thus much of their influence wanes.

P.S. Can we get over the religious right thing.  They are not really a threat to civil liberties (although I do diasgree with many of their social positons, libertarian leaning conservative like myself can respectfully do so).  We must realize that they are part of the coalition and without them we lose.  The MSM knows that which is why they claim that they are driving voters away from the GOP in hopes that the right will abandon them.  On the left, labor unions have much to disagree with their own allies such as radical enviromentalists but they still stick with each other because they know that dividied they fall.  Besides the same poeple who bad mouth that "evil Christian right" are the same people who have no problems with the "grow the welfare state for Jesus" crowd on the religious Left.

One more thing...

Mr. Andres says: "Conservatives will never possess liberals' passion for the prize. "

Gary I could NOT disagree with you more.  You are absolutely wrong about that.  Conservatives out here in the heartland, middle America are scratching our heads in befuddlement as we watch "you" so called conservative strategists, adviser and consultants and how passion-less you all apparently are.  For almost 8 years we've watched the doormat, George W. Bush lie down and allow the democrats to walk all over him. 

Certainly Mr. Andres, I'm beginning to believe that  "Republicans will never possess the liberals passion for the prize".   But don't try to pin that label on conservatives, please!   For those in the GOP Hierarchy, sure, its obvious;  winning is simply not high on their list of priorities.  They can function very well under a democrat administration.  Many are very ready to become the "minority party" again.  Life is so much easier & sweeter.  More time on the golf course for sure.  And the cocktail party's, oh....!    

Such is the definition of the pathetic loser. 

Darvin Dowdy

I'm sorry, I disagree.

I swung to Obama after voting for Bush the past two terms because of the jalepenos.

 

Yes, the jalepenos. Specifcally the Mexican ones that caused the salmonella outbreak. I'm a chef by trade, so I understand just how serious a food-borne illness like this can be. And I was appalled to see how FDA couldn't contain it... and further appalled to see how badly they were underfunded. You can argue that they were corrupt or underfunded. I contend they were abused and neglected. But even an argument that they are a *bad* regulatory agency simply means that we need a *better* one, not one we give up on before we even try.

Can you explain to me how "leave us alone" as a philosophy can cope with tainted Mexican peppers? Or toxic Chinese toys? Or mortgage loans from, apparently, Mars?

Obama nailed it for me. "Leave us alone" translates to "you're on your own". You can tell the government to leave you alone, but that's a philosophy that is blind to the many, many other forces that will not let you alone. You need a government, if nothing else, to *tell* these forces to leave you alone. "Caveat emptor" simply will not do.

Government is not your mommmy

Can you explain to me how "leave us alone" as a philosophy can cope with tainted Mexican peppers? Or toxic Chinese toys? Or mortgage loans from, apparently, Mars?

It is not the role of government to solve all of your problems.  If government tries to do that, you get things like the TSA.  A government big enough to do these things is destructive to freedom.

You gotta be kidding me

You are smart enough to poke around rightie blogs but dumb enough to fall for the shallow strawman arguments of the Democrats????

Obama nailed it for me. "Leave us alone" translates to "you're on your own".

Except it is a strawman argument. GOP is not 'on your own'. And "leave us alone" is about people who can and do WANT to make choices for themselves to not be hampered by mommy-crat government. The Govt that protects you from everything in life is a cradle-to-grave monstrosity that prevents you from LIVING your life.

The Govts job is to protect your rights.

if you recall the GOP convention had the slogan - "COUNTRY FIRST". Which part of that message says "you are on your own"?  It's says the opposite - we are in this together, so let's do things for the good of all.

You can tell the government to leave you alone, but that's a philosophy that is blind to the many, many other forces that will not let you alone. You need a government, if nothing else, to *tell* these forces to leave you alone.

Which is why Republicans talk about a strong military and winning the war on terror, to defeat foreign threats. And why republicans talk about safe communities and defending law-and-order, so that your rights are not violated on a dark corner one night by muggers. Republicans want to tell these forces that will kill or harm you to leave you alone.

"Caveat emptor" simply will not do.

Obviously, something is amiss with Mexican food quality and we ought not let in infect us (pun intended), but I missed the memo where the GOP called for abolishing the FDA. Again, this is a strawman argument. You are a fool if you are voting for Obama on this mistaken basis.

Goodness will prevail.

First, "I swung to Obama after voting for Bush the past two terms because of the jalepenos."

The FDA was "abused and neglected."  Sweet Jesus. How do you speak reason into that?

Back to: "liberal advocacy groups who relentlessly investigate, attack and criticize Republicans. The GOP lacks this kind of advocacy infrastructure."

And they don't know they lack it. I contact friends in the McCain campaign infrastructure days before the bad news with material from research on the net and they're just sure, despite their hostility to the media, that the truth will out. Goodness will prevail. What will prevail is media bias and moonbat propaganda.  

The operative word in the bold print above is "relentless." It's just ducky that Governor Palin has energized the base for a while but the question remains:  to do what?

Now, Rohan I'll follow . . .

 . . .probably to a certain doom, though.

Rohan said:  "Where I differ with some on the Right is that I believe the leave us alone part applies to social control as well as fiscal control."

There are many, many of us who follow just that mapping - economic conservatism, slightly liberal social-values leanings, and an almost-libertarian "get out of my face" attitude about exactly how much influence the government (i.e., all of the rest of you) ought to have - deserve to have - have any damn call even asking to have - over my private, non-injurious behaviors, and even over many of my public, non-injurious behaviors.

If I want to worship the Holy Appendix of The Mighty Grath, or charge someone a fee for having great sex with them, or smoke some kelp, or marry my goat, or wear my helmet, or say horrible, awful, vile things about other People of Pallor, great! My choice!  (But, if I get too many people PO'ed at me, well, again, MY bad choice!)

Feel free to tell me you disagree, or to not hire me, and definitely don't inhale when you're near me and you see smoke in the air, but don't presume that  your narrow experiential viewpoints and opinions should have any significance for me.

 

(But, Rohan, problem is, without coalition, we're not winning any elections.  We either invite Brother Graham and his flock to our party, or start renting a much smaller hall for it.)

Herding cats

I agree.  The "leave us alone" group does need allies.  But independent people have a tough time joining groups and forging ahead.  (Thus, the herding cats title.)

Leftisits/Dems define themselves by groups and the love of a central control so they are much easier to get going in one direction.

I have no problem riding along with the Religious Right for a while.  But when they start telling me to alter my behavior, I get off.  By the way, I am a very boring, straight, married, father, that doesn't smoke or use illegal drugs (I DO like beer) so my lifestyle is right in line with the Religious Right.  But I really do not like people passing laws limiting my rights.

I never vote democrat, so I hold my nose and vote republican.  Thus, I am doing my part in herding cats.

Leave Me Alone Christian Coalition

I have no problem riding along with the Religious Right for a while.  But when they start telling me to alter my behavior, I get off

Most religious right people say the same thing. Most dont want to dictate, they want to live their life and not have secular values shoved at them in schools, public life, etc.

I think people get caught up in the strawmen (that media is happy to push to cause RW division) and hyperbole of right-wing 'culture warriors'. We have to disentangle the cultural and political questions. Culturally, there is a lot going wrong that Christians can and should speak out on. But politically, the consensus should be for a civic order that relies on freedom and acceptance of differences in views, lifestyles and beliefs.

I personally think our future civilizational happiness requires both freedom and civic morality.

Maybe we need a Leave Me Alone Christian Coalition agenda to clarify this.. :-)