Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 4, 2010

THE RIGHT'S RESPONSE TO THE LEFT'S RESPONSE TO THE RIGHT.... We learned late last week that some prominent Republican officials are in the process of creating something called the American Action Network.

Led by luminaries such as Norm Coleman, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour, and Karl Rove -- some of the same GOP leaders involved in the "rebranding" debacle of last year -- the group was created to ... well, that part was unclear. We were told the American Action Network was poised to get moving, but no one knew why.

The NYT fleshes out some of the details today.

A group of prominent Republicans is forming an organization to develop and market conservative ideas, copying a successful Democratic model and hoping to capitalize on the fund-raising and electioneering possibilities opened up by a recent Supreme Court ruling.

The organizers, including former Senator Norm Coleman of Minnesota and Douglas Holtz-Eakin, the senior policy adviser to Senator John McCain's presidential campaign, describe their emerging American Action Network as a center-right version of the Center for American Progress, the six-year-old group for progressive policies that was founded by John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton and an informal adviser to President Obama.

It's odd to think we've reached this point. When the idea for the Center for American Progress was first coming together, it was widely apparent to progressive leaders that the left lacked the intellectual infrastructure of the right. Conservatives already had plenty of think tanks -- Heritage Foundation, AEI, Cato, and to a lesser extent, the Family Research Council -- churning out right-wing ideas and serving as something of a farm team for Republican administrations and congressional leaders. The left decided it needed to keep up and create some parallel entities.

And now the right looks at CAP and thinks, "Hey, we need one of those."

It's worth noting, though, that the American Action Network intends to go further, serving as a think tank and engaging in partisan politics/campaign activities. Indeed, following the Citizens United case, the American Action Network apparently expect to "take unlimited contributions from corporations and individuals to use to advertise for or against political candidates." Coming soon to a campaign near you.

As for the policy work, I'll believe it when I see it. A think tank led by folks like Coleman, Barbour, and Rove helping shape a credible, substantive agenda? Color me skeptical.

Steve Benen 9:20 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (20)

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Comments

"As for the policy work, I'll believe it when I see it. A think tank led by folks like Coleman, Barbour, and Rove helping shape a credible, substantive agenda? Color me skeptical."

It depends on how you define "credible, substantive agenda."

Posted by: bdop4 on February 4, 2010 at 9:25 AM | PERMALINK

There variations of an Einstein quote about not solving a problem with the same minds that created it that fits here.

Seriously Karl Rove and Haley Barbour are going to be involved with rebranding of the GOP? If they really want to rebrand they need to look to the future of the GOP not it's past.

Posted by: ET on February 4, 2010 at 9:26 AM | PERMALINK

That didn't take long, did it? Ilito, you want to tell us again how great this is for free speech? Right. The more money you have, the more speech you can buy. Doesn't sound very free to me. Average man and woman, that crunching sound you are hearing is the noise of you being stepped on yet again.

Posted by: In what respect, Charlie? on February 4, 2010 at 9:28 AM | PERMALINK

Coleman, Barbour and Rove: Three of the most unscrupulous Repugnants of their generation, my friends, and that is saying a lot!

They will go far in increasing their personal wealth and destroying democracy in America -- as they have most of their lives. Now with more corporate backing! Yahoo! Whatta country!

Posted by: neill on February 4, 2010 at 9:33 AM | PERMALINK

"A think tank led by folks like Coleman, Barbour, and Rove helping shape a credible, substantive agenda?"

Actually, this would be more appropriately be referred to as a "Stink Tank".

Posted by: Bo on February 4, 2010 at 9:35 AM | PERMALINK

I'm beginning to think emigration would be simpler.

Posted by: I'm nobody on February 4, 2010 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

I'm sure this newly formed pile of Concerned Republicans for American Piety will do wonders for our nation.

Posted by: berttheclock on February 4, 2010 at 9:48 AM | PERMALINK

If you're going to report about our newly formed group, liberal scum, at least have the decency to get the name right.

It's the Action Network of America's Leaders. ANAL stands for everything that represents the conservative movement in America. We're not afraid to look liberal socialists squarely in the brown eye. No, ANAL is going to ram its agenda in, no matter how uncomfortable it makes you.

I just don't understand when our headquarters are in the airport in Minneapolis, though? My office is small enough to be a bathroom stall!

Posted by: Karl Rover on February 4, 2010 at 9:56 AM | PERMALINK

Rich Republican corporations will prevail in elections unless something is done immediately such as Donna Edwards amendment to the Constitution. I believe 2/3 vote is needed . Do you think we will get it? Probably not from the corporate controlled Senate and corporate controlled blue dogs. Definitely not from Republicans who set up the conservative Supreme court for just such an issue.

Posted by: mlJohnston on February 4, 2010 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

Yep, and Alito and Roberts are now ejaculating all over themselves .......

Posted by: stormskies on February 4, 2010 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

A think tank led by folks like Coleman, Barbour, and Rove helping shape a credible, substantive agenda?

Without Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin, they will never be able to connect with the average American.

Posted by: qwerty on February 4, 2010 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Does one have to be able to think, to work at a "think" tank? Or can one have simply tanked?

Posted by: bigwisc on February 4, 2010 at 10:26 AM | PERMALINK

Their agenda?

RETURN AMERICA to thea semblance political and economic structure of the late 19th CENTURY.

That should be obvious from the Bush Admin's gutting of the FDA, EPA, the anti-trust division of the Justics department. Their imperial attitude with regards to the rest of the world and worship of mega corporations.

It should be obvious in their attitudes towards women, the poor and minorities. It should be obvious in their religous opposition to medical research such a stem cells and enviromental standards.

It should be obvious in their wanten corruption with regards to the transfer of the logistical support for the war to private corporations. And their undo paranoia about socialism and communism.

This is all very consistant with the attitudes and feelings of the late 19th century.

WHAT I tell you three times is true:

The implicit Republican agenda? RETURN AMERICA to thea semblance political and economic structure of the late 19th CENTURY.

The implicit Republican agenda? RETURN AMERICA to thea semblance political and economic structure of the late 19th CENTURY.

The implicit Republican agenda? RETURN AMERICA to thea semblance political and economic structure of the late 19th CENTURY.

Posted by: Kurt on February 4, 2010 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

Just a matter of time untill the supremes get a crack at Roe vs Wade. Any guesses on how thats going to turn out?

Posted by: FreeThinkingredneck on February 4, 2010 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

Rove v. Wade won't be overturned. It't too powerful of a tool to control single-issue voters.

Posted by: Little Dick on February 4, 2010 at 10:41 AM | PERMALINK

It seems to me that the American Action Network doesn't need to shape an agenda of any kind, especially not one that is credible or substantive. It will have ample funding to create an atmosphere in which anything is possible. Only what comes after that will reveal what the "agenda" is.

Yes, it's Paranoid Thursday. You hadn't heard?

Posted by: Gaia on February 4, 2010 at 11:46 AM | PERMALINK

So these clowns are going to get a boatload of money from clueless donors, just to repeat the same talking points that you can hear for free after listening to an hour of conservative talk radio?

Who came up with this ponzi scheme, Dogbert?

Posted by: 2Manchu on February 4, 2010 at 12:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well, they did need to find Norm Coleman a job. He's not good for much else. Ahhhh, I love the smell of wingnut welfare in the morning.....

Posted by: Curmudgeon on February 4, 2010 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure if you asked any good nitwitwingnut - someone who says the things Al writes, BUT MEANS IT - I'm sure they'd tell you (with a heavy sigh, like they're being forced to explain nuclear energy to a child) that Heritage, AEI, Cato and the Family Research Council are all unbiased, neutral think tanks that focus on family values, and it's certainly not THEIR fault Democrat are so godless and corrupt and incapable of salvation that they don't see their good work AS good work. No, the Dems had to wreck it by creating their political kamikaze organization, the CAP, and destroy America with it. Well, two can play that game.

You see, when you've been raised like veal to believe that lies are the truth, then the truth seems mighty unbelievable.

Posted by: slappy magoo on February 4, 2010 at 10:23 PM | PERMALINK

I think someone at the Heritage Foundation once said something like "Hey, where else are washed up, white, middle class, conservative guys gonna go?"
So I guess Heritage, CATO, AEI, etc are fully staffed.

Posted by: VaLiberal on February 5, 2010 at 12:29 AM | PERMALINK
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