August 10, 2005
-- by Dave Johnson
In Minnesota think tank goes to college the Minneapolis Star Tribune takes a look at a local right-wing "think tank," the Center of the American Experiment (CAE). According to the article CAE is launching an attack on academia, saying it is "leftist."
One of the subjects of the story is the CAE's close ties to the Republican Party, even though the think tank is a "501(c)(3)" organization which means donations are tax-deductible and the organization must be strictly non-partisan.
Like many of the center's leaders and writers in recent years, Meeks is steeped in Republican politics. Her husband, Jack, was until recently the state's representative on the Republican National Committee. The center's new management team recently hired as its communications director Randy Wanke, a savvy operative who did the same job for the Minnesota Republican Party.According to the law, any affiliation with The Party is illegal. But who would prosecute? Who would deny them their tax-deductible status? The Republican Justice Department? Republican-operative judges?
Almost all its directors and advisers are Republicans, and three of the last four state GOP chairmen have been deeply involved in the center.
In reality - just like the Heritage Foundation and the rest of the Right's network of PR organizations - the Center of the American Experiment illegally operates as an adjunct to The Party. There is no line between The Party and these organizations.
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And even if there were to be actual enforcement of the law, they could always get a few demcorats (DLC, of course) on the boards of all these corrupt joints.
Do you doubt for a moment that they could recruit all the demcorats they need? Really?
So don't make too much of this counting repugs thing. Repug/demco, what the hell difference does it make? It's not that the right-wing tanks are adjuncts of the Party, it's that the Party, the tanks, the media, and alas most of the demcorats are all adjuncts of the real rulers -- the right-wing corporate elite.
In addition to the problem Richard points out, there is the flip side of the coin. Even if Democrats had think tanks handing them ready made talking points, would they use them?
It isn't so much of a lack of progressive talking points, as a preference for Republican talking points. Take away the Congressional Black Caucus in the House and all you have left are a bunch of craven white guys who can't jump, because they don't have a spine.
Take Karl Rove and Tom DeLay for example. Do you really need a think tank to attack Karl Rove and Tom DeLay? How is it possible that Democrats can't even bring down a traitor and the most corrupt politician in American history? Sea slugs have more spine than Democrats.
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