Why Don't Democrats Have (Actual) Secret Cabals?

For all the hype that surrounds the Left's use of online organizing, such as Net Roots and Barack Obama's presidential campaign, the old fashioned ideas of memos and in-person meetings still gets the results in legislative battles. And the Republicans are still the unquestioned masters at this game. Take this anecdote from a recent Washington Post story: (h/t Ballon Juice)
In November, the morning after Election Day, a conservative blogger in Georgia blasted an e-mail to 65,000 people. Erick Erickson's 5 a.m. "Morning Briefing" seemed counterintuitive -- the election of a Democrat to a U.S. House seat in Upstate New York held by Republicans for more than a century, he wrote, was "a huge win for conservatives." Yet the missive immediately was posted online by the conservative publication Human Events, a corporate sibling of Erickson's blog, RedState. It next reached the Web site of the American Spectator magazine, whose publisher, Alfred S. Regnery, sits on the board of the conservative publishing house that owns RedState and Human Events. Ricocheting inside the Beltway, Erickson's analysis fueled discussion later that morning at two influential weekly meetings of D.C. conservatives. Next, it was endorsed by radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh, considered by many conservatives the ultimate authority. "We kept a horrible Republican from possibly winning," Limbaugh said. The ability of a single e-mail to shape a message illustrates the power of the conservative network -- loosely affiliated blogs, radio hosts, "tea-party" organizers and D.C. institutions that are binding together to fuel opposition to President Obama and, sometimes, to Republicans.
The "sometimes" bit is terrible attempt to make the passage non-partisan, because opposition to Obama from conservatives isn't going to flow to the Democratic Party. But I can't focus on every misguided effort at objectivity in the MSM. The important line in this quote is "Erickson's analysis fueled discussion later that morning at two influential weekly meetings of D.C. conservatives." I've heard of this type of standing meeting among DC Republicans for a long time. Are there any Democratic counterparts? The only one I've heard of is the one that Rahm Emanuel cussed out, telling the assembled lefties to stop criticizing the President. (Emanuel also relayed a message to freshman House Democrats that they better toe the line or else the White House won't touch them with a ten foot pole come re-election time.)

Here's a list of some of the flesh and bones conservative groups that work the Congress, just from this article:
  • Let Freedom Ring
  • Students for Life of America
  • Pelican Institute for Public Policy Leadership Institute
  • Tea Party Patriots
  • Americans for Tax Reform
  • Heritage Foundation
  • Accuracy in Media
  • Family Research Council
  • Health Care Freedom Coalition
  • FreedomWorks
  • Federalist Society
  • Jesse Helms Center
  • Competitive Enterprise Institute
  • National Taxpayers Union
  • State Policy Network
  • Sam Adams Alliance
  • Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity
  • American Majority
  • Americans for Prosperity
  • Media Research Center
Wow! And these are not all astro-turf front lawns for houses full of movers, shakers and donors. The State Policy Network is a consortium of 57 conservative and libertarian think tanks. The Family Research Council has a staff of 12 and a budget of $12 million. And this list just scratches the surface.

Hold on, a conservative could say, there's a laundry list of liberal lobbies as well. What about them? Sure they exist, but do they feed off each other to increase the success of their efforts? Not like this:
[O]ne of numerous social conservatives who have worked closely with economic conservatives to fight Democratic health bills. Such coordination is increasing. Inside the Beltway, much of it is fueled by the Conservative Action Project (CAP), a new group of conservative leaders chaired by Reagan-era attorney general Edwin Meese III. CAP, whose influential memos "for the movement" circulate on Capitol Hill, is an offshoot of the Council for National Policy, a highly secretive organization of conservative leaders and donors.
I want a highly secretive organization of liberal leaders and donors! Why don't the Democrats have one?


Anonymous said...

Having just watched again the Ghandi film I noticed your link to Wikisource and the letters between Tolstoy and Ghandi. Fascinating insights to the history of the nonviolence movement. I read once that Martin Luther King visited Ghandi when he was advocating nonviolence in the US civil rights struggle.

Another example of the influence and power of writings in any movement.

Norwegian Shooter said...

Agreed, thanks for the comment. I sometimes wonder why I post a revolving list of links without posting on them. Glad you read it.