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March 22, 2006

What People Mean When They Criticize "The Democrats"

-- by Dave Johnson

At MyDD there is an excellent post on a right-wing corporatist organization called ALEC: Exposing The Machinery Of The Corporate Right,

Up in Wyoming, the local Casper Star-Tribune decided to take a look at the machinery that pushes conservative laws in the state's legislature. Many here at MyDD may be well aware of ALEC, the American Legislative Exchange Council, the corporate-funded rightist law-writing factory that works behind the scenes to cram their agenda on the states. But I have a feeling it's a group that isn't discussed very often among readers of the Star-Tribune (or, for that matter, any local paper outside of Washington, DC). That's why their coverage of ALEC is so important.
Please go read the post.

Well I left a comment, based on a line in the post. Readers here might be familiar with this, but repetition works, and this can't be said often enough:

"If you ever find yourself frustrated that the Republicans seem to be better tacticians than Democrats, you should know that ALEC is one of the reasons why."

Let me add something here. We all find ourselves criticizing "The Democrats" for one thing or another. And it's usually in contrast to the way "The Republicans" are doing something - messaging, jumping on an issue, strategerizing, etc.

But I think it's a key to understanding how to fix the problem, if we realize that ALEC isn't "The Republicans" at all. And it's almost always the ALECs -- Heritage Foundation or CATO or AEI one of those hundreds of non-Party organizations -- that we are talking about! ALEC is legally a non-partisan organization. Same with Heritage, etc. But these organizations, all part of the "conservative movement," all largely corporate-funded, have really taken over the Republican Party. It is THESE organizations, not the Repubican Party, that are out there talking to the general public, publishing books, paying pundits and geting them on TV and the radio, and all the other things that we credit "The Republicans" with doing so well.

The Democrats don't have an infrastructure of similar organizations employing an army of operatives. And this is why "The Democrats" are not responding to events as effectively as "The Repubicans" are able to do.

What this means to us is that we need to understand the need to build up an infrastructure of organizations designed to reach the public and persuade them that progresive values are better for them than conservative values, and that a progressive approach to issues and progressive candidates are better for them than conservatives. (If you have read Crashing the Gate, you'll recognize this idea.)

This means sending money - real money - to PLAN and other organizations that are trying to counter this Republican machines. (Commonweal Institute is another such organization.) Start donating money to these organizations and you'll start seeing a difference.

Posted by Dave Johnson at March 22, 2006 9:05 AM

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