Fascinating article in the latest issue of The Nation, analyzing the attempt of left-wing philanthropists to mimic the legendary infrastructure of the right through an effort called the Democracy Alliance. I recommend it as a pick-me-up for anyone down about Republican chances in the election: if this is what the left is up to, they can count on resuming their long-term decline after a brief blip in this election. It bears all the hallmarks of stupid liberal policy: excessive centralization and an obsession with process.
A secondary problem is the struggle these well-meaning wealthy Democrats have had in getting their own house in order. Since its inception, the Alliance has been unabashedly elitist, while also poorly run. The criteria for choosing winners have been maddeningly opaque and the grants themselves contradictory. Far from speeding up the funding of progressive organizations, the Alliance has slowed certain things down.
Meanwhile, for would-be recipients, the process of applying for money was bewildering: completely secret and seemingly changing all the time. . . The small number of groups chosen, some of whom were already well funded, and the secrecy of the process infuriated organizations excluded from the club. No one knew exactly why the nine groups had been picked. Funding progressive infrastructure was all well and good, but no one bothered defining precisely what "progressive" meant. The partners themselves, with their business backgrounds, focused on the process by which groups were funded, not what they would do with the money. "There was an almost complete lack of actual substance," one adviser to a major donor said of the Atlanta meeting. The groups were selected to mirror the right but were far less anti-establishment than their conservative counterparts.
In the second round of funding, however, the Alliance fell into the common liberal trap of needing to be all things to all people. After two grant cycles the Alliance is overextended. . . To date the Alliance hasnt been deeply involved in idea creation in the same way conservatives have been. . . A funding shortfall only partially accounts for the Alliances inattention. There are philosophical reasons as well. Idea creation takes time, media development is expensive and both are risky. And the Alliance is highly risk-averse.
Clearly they have their work cut out for them, especially since this (scroll down a bit for the chart) is how so many of their target audience conceive the right. Looks to me like LSD is making a comeback.