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October 16, 2005

Three Democratic Wishes

By Neil the Ethical Werewolf

Suppose you had the money and power to start three small liberal organizations -- 527 groups, think tanks, PACs, ninja strike teams, or whatever. What would they be? Leave your answers in the comments if you like. Here are the answers that come to my mind:

1. A 527 group devoted to publicizing problems with the current health care system and paving the way for single-payer.

2. An institute to promote the liberal Christian leaders of the future. It would give a few promising young religious lefties summer internships and post-college jobs, allowing them to network with each other and the rest of the liberal community.

3. A publishing house aimed at giving lucrative book contracts to Democrats who have done great deeds on the party's behalf without adequate compensation. It's not so much for the books themselves, but to set up some financial incentives for valor.

(I realize that our Republican readers will be tempted to suggest groups like "People For Yelling Really Loud Whenever Howard Dean Talks, So Nobody Can Hear Him." Okay, if you've got something amusing to say, you can play too.)

October 16, 2005 in Democrats | Permalink

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Neil the Ethical Werewolf in a post on Ezra Klein's blog: Suppose you had the money and power to start three small liberal organizations -- 527 groups, think tanks, PACs, ninja strike teams, or whatever. What would they be? The... [Read More]

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» Three Wishes from Lone Star Democracy Builders Association
Neil the Ethical Werewolf in a post on Ezra Klein's blog: Suppose you had the money and power to start three small liberal organizations -- 527 groups, think tanks, PACs, ninja strike teams, or whatever. What would they be? The... [Read More]

Tracked on Oct 19, 2005 11:46:06 PM

Comments

I don't see much here addressing the Dems' problems with the media. That's so overwhelmingly important that almost anything else is irrelevant in comparison.

Posted by: Rebecca Allen, PhD | Oct 16, 2005 2:39:16 PM

Well, Rebecca, I really don't know what kind of group one starts to address media problems. Do you?

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Oct 16, 2005 3:01:18 PM

What fun!

1. People for yelling really loud when Tom DeLay talks.
(Sorry - couldn't resist)

2. Use the money to expand Teach for America. If public-school education doesn't improve, we are sunk. I may as well bump that up to number one.

3. Funds for a control group that investigates and tests and QAs electronic voting machines.

Posted by: Pepper | Oct 16, 2005 4:40:25 PM

A 527 devoted to ending media conglomeracy?

Posted by: Fr33d0m | Oct 16, 2005 4:48:18 PM

Whining about the media is all well and good, and the right wingers do it well, but you also need to learn how to work the media, which means learning how to put stories in the papers and on tv that back your cause. If you are working with the Dems on universal healthcare you work it out so say a reporter/writer such as Ezra writes up a great article on healthcare and what we can do to fix it, then you work the phones getting this article in the local papers and then you take young Ezra and teach him how to be effective during a tv debate then you book him on CNN, MSNBC, and Fox News the day the Dems roll out their healthcare plan.

Basically I'd take all the cash and use it to get the liberal ideas out to the public through the media the same way the right wingers have moved their ideas into the mainstream through the media.

Posted by: jbou | Oct 16, 2005 5:33:48 PM

I would keep your #1, definitely. #2 would be a group advocating for public financing of congressional campaigns--large dollar amounts, indexed to inflation. My #3 would be a 527 dedicated to redistricting reform that's specifically focused on creating competitive districts (even at the price of compactness etc).

Posted by: Dan Miller | Oct 16, 2005 6:44:19 PM

An institute to promote the liberal Christian leaders of the future.

Is that really something that needs to be started, or just an issue of supporting institutions that already exist? Liberal religious institutions are already pretty common. Do you want this to be an explicitly political group (separate from churches)? Do you want this to be an umbrella for church groups?

Here in Pittsburgh, we have the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network (http://piin.beliefnet.com/), and the Thomas Merton center (http://www.thomasmertoncenter.org/). I think that the East End cooperative ministry (http://www.eecm.org/) and the Pittsburgh Theological seminary (http://www.pts.edu/) are pretty liberal also.

If you want to find liberal religious organizations, I suggest contacting your local Unitarian Universalist church or United Church of Christ.

Posted by: Adam | Oct 16, 2005 6:57:06 PM

Certainly there are liberal religious organizations. I was thinking about something to groom liberal Christian TV personalities / activists who are well-integrated with the Democratic network. Jack Abramoff and Ralph Reed go back a long way, and I'd like to see a left-wing version of that duo, except that they work together on passing good policy rather than being horribly corrupt. I don't think there's a left-wing Ralph Reed equivalent out there anywhere, as far as religious identification and party connections go.

Posted by: Neil the Ethical Werewolf | Oct 16, 2005 7:03:48 PM

I'm with Rebecca and Fr33d0m (and also with dbou, in the 'bad cop and good cop' tradition).

Media Matters does a good job of getting the facts straightened out. E&P does some good work too, along with the rest of the liberal blogosphere. But these groups are preaching to the converted.

We need a hard hitting, sock them in the mouth, political group that attacks the media with paid advertising that rebuts and publicizes the media attrocities commmitted to the benefit of the conservatives and against progressives/liberals.

The average person does not see in their media ANY attacks against the media itself. We need for their scandalous bias and slant to become common knowledge - then we can work with them to overcome their current and much-worse-future poor regard by citizens as dbou suggests.

We also should be advocating dissolution of media conglomerates like Viacom, Time Warner, etc - in the style of the breakup of Ma Bell AT&T many years ago, now nearly reversed again. [and advocate also against SBC, Verison, Bell South, Comcast, etc. growing domination of communications nets as well.]

Media and Network Trust Busters! That's what we need, and to make it happen, a vigorous, continuing attack and truth-telling campaign against the corporate media interests.

Posted by: JimPortandOR | Oct 16, 2005 9:50:40 PM

I'm against yet more groups that attack the media. Part of conservative's success hasn't been in dominating the media so much, as knocking down what objective voice they could ever provide (see Ezra's post on Good Night and Good Luck earlier). Playing into that game and making Fox News just as bad so that the media isn't respected anymore than politicians may help "level the playing field" for us, but it's not the best thing we can do for America. Finding some way to actually build up trust in objective institutions is much harder, but much more important.

Posted by: Tony Vila | Oct 17, 2005 11:02:15 AM

Well, we all know how baddass totally flipping out ninjas are so thats what I'm going with. Except I would train a new breed of ninja. The Liberal Ninja. Able to stalk out prey by the smell of shit in their past. They would recognize the waves eminated by corporate cronyism and bold-face lies. And they would strike, not with swords, but with the most truthful, yet elegant rhetoric currently unmatched in the public sphere.

So I guess that means 2. by your choices above.

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 17, 2005 3:07:46 PM

Yes, the Liberal Crusades.

Oops, maybe I shouldn't have said that.

Posted by: Adrock | Oct 17, 2005 3:09:25 PM

I want a group where people who really need what liberal politics/philosophy offers learn how the systems work so they can advocate for themselves. I also want people of (even slight) privelege to learn how to help people in need in a way that doesn't make either of them "other." (This is something I've been thinking about, but didn't quite have quite the right phrase for until I looked at the Poor Magazine [www.poormagazine.com] website.) I want a liberal group where people from very different economic backgrounds hang out together, participate in social activities together, so they understand the realities of each other's lives. I want folks from different backgrounds to "get" each other.

Posted by: Mary | Oct 17, 2005 4:40:57 PM

"The summer interns of the Heritage Foundation have arrived...The 64 interns are each paid a 10-week stipend of $2,500, and about half are housed in a subsidized dorm at the group's headquarters..." After reading that NYTimes article in June (http://www.nytimes.com/2005/06/14/politics/14heritage.html if you want to pay for it), I think we should build a dorm for the progressive Washington summer interns.

Give preference to future opinion leaders working at think tanks, non-profits, government agencies, etc. Let them talk to each other. Ideally fund and staff and promote the top two or three ideas they come up with each year. Build cooperation and the next generation of progressive ideas.

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