I’m all for grass-roots politics, but there is no denying the tremendous influence that conservative think-tanks have had on the contemporary political climate. Both domestic and foreign policy have been hijacked by right-wing ideologues with well-financed institutional backing. So I’m glad to see that the left is starting to fight back:
John D. Podesta … wants to give the left of the American political spectrum a think tank to match the Heritage Foundation on the right.
… Hatched amid the ruins of the post-Watergate Republican Party, Heritage has grown into a $30 million-a-year operation — a hatchery of ideas, yes, but also a packager, promoter, expediter, wholesaler, matchmaker and orchestrator. It is the hub of a network of loosely aligned conservative brain barns with budgets totaling $100 million or so.
It would be nice if the best ideas would rise to the top without such “wholesaling,” but that just doesn’t seem to be the case. I hope this new think-tank is able to make a difference.
UPDATE: George Lakoff on why we need a liberal think-tank (via Boingboing.net):
“…Conservatives, especially conservative think tanks, have framed virtually every issue from their perspective. They have put a huge amount of money into creating the language for their worldview and getting it out there. Progressives have done virtually nothing.”