Sunday, August 07, 2005

Liberals Aim to Level the Playing Field

From WaPo:
80 wealthy liberals have pledged to donate $1 million each to the Democracy Alliance. The goal is to fund liberal groups to compete " compete with the potent conservative infrastructure built up over the past three decades."
The Democracy Alliance will act as a financial clearing house. Its staff members and board of directors will develop a lineup of established and proposed groups that they believe will develop and promote ideas on the left. To fulfill their million-dollar pledge, each partner must agree to give $200,000 or more a year for at least five years to alliance-endorsed groups
As alliance officials see it, many liberal groups are designed to protect an agenda that was enacted by past Democratic majorities -- as opposed to generating new ideas and communication strategies to win support from voters who do not belong to labor or other traditionally Democratic constituencies.

There has been a flourishing of new, pro-Democratic think tanks and advocacy groups in recent years. Clinton administration chief of staff John D. Podesta established the Center for American Progress; former Democratic congressional aide David Sirota recently set up the state-oriented Progressive Legislative Action Network; and author David Brock helped create Media Matters for America last year, among others. All these groups are potential recipients of money from alliance partners.
In addition, the number of liberal bloggers on the Web has been growing at a fast pace, and their blogs have become both central forums for debate over party strategies and hugely successful vehicles for campaign fundraising, including raising through online contributions more than two thirds of the $750,000 used in the surprisingly competitive House campaign of Democrat Paul Hackett in Ohio. Rosenberg has created the New Politics Institute, an organization that works with bloggers.

I think this is a good move. Certainly competition for funds will create problems. But that is far better than the extreme differential we face now in competing with the conservative agenda.

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