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Democracy Alliance Shouldn't Forget Those Who Brung 'Em This Far

by Steve Young

Rich Liberals Vow to Fund Think Tanks

Believe it or not, they didn't really crawl out of the slime. In the beginning there was Rush Limbaugh, who begat right wing talk radio, and from that evolved Fox News. The latest members of the family are the right wing blogs, trying hard to make the Internet another cog of the Republican message machine.

The opposite took place on the Left, where it was Internet sites -- there long before Al Franken was a twinkle in Air America's eyes -- that screamed bloody murder for a liberal talk radio vehicle to emerge and respond to the uninterrupted propaganda of the Right. For years their calls were dismissed or ignored and for that little oversight, I bring you Fox News, Whitewater, impeachment, Bush, Congress, Senate, Bush and Iraq, unabated.

With this weekend's news that at least 80 well-heeled (and might I add, extremely bright and attractive) liberals have pledged to contribute $1 million or more apiece to fund the Democracy Alliance, a network of think tanks and advocacy groups to compete with conservative infrastructure.

I hasten them to not ignore what has worked before. And I don't mean copying what has worked for the right winged blowhards. Not too many on the Left would buy into the one-note, 24/7 "we are good and they are evil" yammerings of Rush, Hannity and the rest of the Lords of Loud.

While I fight the urge to first persuade them to adopt me, it is more imperative for them to make sure that they look to where the momentum already exists: The Net.

If there be any people who remain one step ahead of the curve, it is those who have built both a rock-hard foundation of instant rebuttal to the distortions of the Right, as well as a forum for fresh concepts to develop what people/voters will respond to. While there are sites that are so far ahead of the curve that they may sometimes drive completely off the curve and right into Whack-Job Gully, it is just that design that allows for mistakes and failures, from which to learn, that so-called think tanks need to better breed fresh ideas. Ignoring these little-sites-that-could, idea-entrepreneurs of the Net could mean another presidential disaster.

Be sure, I'm not speaking of the forums that have become outlets for ripped-underwear, living-at-their-basement computer, essayists who offer their "how to fix 'merica" thoughts with as much validity as a bar swag on his 6th beer and chaser. I'm talking about those who have actually accomplished something with their minds, sites and, even more impressive, far too little funding.

Carolyn Kay, high lordess and master of pushed so hard for liberal talk radio that she became a conduit for Sheldon Drobny to gather the early Air America talent. That much of what she offered was ignored may have led to some of the early bumps in the road for AA. David Brock, he once of the American Spectator's attempt to slander Anita Hill, has found God and a gold mine of the media's daily (moment-to-moment?) "mistakes" that have for so long irritated and regularly defeated the Dems. And you just got to know that Brock's efforts at are working. If not, Bill O'Reilly wouldn't find it so irresistibly enticing to regularly bash Brock's site for it's "far-left-lunacy."

So it is that I beseech you, ye made of mucho moolah, when you spread the cash around, when you seek the experts to consult and debate, don't ignore those who have already been on the front lines of the war against the far right talk machine. Don't forget Kay, don't forget Brock, don't forget the Net.

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Albion Monitor August 7, 2005 (

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