Taking Back America: a report, some signs of life, and some ground to cover
by Peter from WI, Mon Jun 18, 2007 at 12:15:48 PM EDT
Warning: No candidate-fluffing here
With some fanfare, but certainly not enough, the Campaign For America's Future (which also makes happen TomPaine.com), released a report the other day, entitled "The Progressive Majority: Why a conservative America is a myth." (Also note, the report was a joint project of CAF and Media Matters) I read it cover to cover in about 25 minutes, and it's a wonderful little compilation. Besides some mention on a few blogs and on various websites (including the aforementioned TomPaine.com), I have heard scant little about it. Although my local AirAmerica affiliate broadcasts "Ring of Fire" and they discussed it along with an interview with CAF president Robert Borosage, a favorite of mine, there has been really no larger-scale media coverage. This week, CAF is leading the effort to put on this year's version of the Take Back America conference.
More on this, and other things (including a link to the aforementioned report), after the jump.
First off, some housekeeping. Read Robert Borosage's piece on TomPaine.com about the failures of conservativism and the need to advance a compelling progressive agenda. You can find that here. You can also play the Ring of Fire programming from this week via Air America's website here, on which Mr. Borosage talks about many of the same things. Both of these revolve around the report of which I spoke, which is quite the doozy. I would definitely encourage you to read the full report from CAF on the realities of a progressive majority in the U.S..
Second, the American Prospect is running in their current edition an in-depth look at "after the failure of conservativism." If you don't already subscribe to the Prospect (I don't know why you wouldn't), you should do so now so you can read the full articles on their website now - and get a shiny new copy of the best magazine in the land every two months.
So perhaps you're asking yourself, what's the connection here?
Well the first major thing is that well, good for CAF and Media Matters for putting together an important piece of research. This is very succinct summary of what a lot of us around here have known intuitively and have seen confirmed in anecdotal data and institutionally-compiled data before. This is important in that this report is a nice tight little package. You know, so that important people can read something simple very quickly and get it. I say that only slightly snidely.
Another big positive here is that our message machine is getting cranked up. No, we're not the wurlitzer of the right (and we never should seek to copy their processes - and people), but we're getting better and bigger. TAP is writing on some of the same things on which CAF and Media Matters are doing research. TomPaine.com and other outlets are writing and driving conversation on the need for the progressive movement to deliver on an alternate agenda to the right and not just let them continue to crash and burn - we all know the latter idea is just dead.
But to continue that momentum and to really make an impact in strengthening and progressifying the current version of the progressive movement, and most in particular, our Democratic party, we need to get better.
Take Back America 2007 is going on this week, and I haven't seen darn near any blogging on it besides on the TBA site. I was going to try to go, but I just couldn't take three days off of work and my political work at this time of the year. So I wanted to keep up with what's going on, and there's nothing to be had. What major media outlets are going to have stories at the end of this week or next Sunday? CPAC gets media hits, why not TBA?
And out of TBA, how are grassroots leaders going to know about some of the strategic and theoretical advances of thinkers on the left? How are state and local elected officials going to get the message and the strategy ideas? What about progressive non-profit staff or Democratic Party and campaign staffs? None of these people should go for want of reading CAF/Media Matters' report nor go without knowledge of the goings-ons of TBA.
I think that is where we need to come in to fill the gaps in our message machine and movement, in one way that differentiates us from the right-wing conservative movement of the past 30 years and today. For example, I am going to work with our local chapter of DFA (which here is Democracy for Wisconsin, sorry, no link, we need to get working on that) to distribute copies of the report to anyone and everyone we can think of involved in progressive politics. We with DFW exist outside of the party political structure - but not completely. We exist in the party political structure as far as most progressive groups are concerned - but not completely. So we have a unique space in which to drive distribution of this and to get the political professionals thinkin about the ideas in this report. We with DFW are working to build a stronger and more progressive Democratic Party and build a progressive movement, with the understanding that a progressive party is a stronger party, and vice versa, and that a stronger, more progressive Democratic Party helps the progressive movement and vice versa. So distribution of this report will be part of our work in that avenue, specifically because this report ties it all together.
BUt what are other folks going to do with what CAF/Media Matters has put out? How are we going to drive more networking of communication, and especially amongst ourselves are those concentrically closest to us? Discussion and ideas here much appreciated