The thinking behind the Democracy Alliance was to create a venture capital fund for new progressive groups. (The Center for American Progress and Media Matters for America were two of the charter recipients.) A central tenet of the alliance in those days was that it wanted nothing to do with the Democratic Party or elections, per se. The alliance was about creating a bolder alternative to the status quo.If you want thoughtful and open-minded, this generally isn't the way to go...
It didn't take long, though, for the alliance to deviate from that course. The Silicon Valley and Wall Street contributors who were most focused on modernization started to drift away, exhausted by the endless conference calls and the knee-jerk resistance to any rethinking of the liberal agenda. The remaining "partners," as the alliance calls them, were overwhelmingly aging boomers who clung to 1960s orthodoxies.
Eventually, the alliance became, essentially, a convener and funder of the party establishment. It welcomed several big unions to the table and took up side collections for candidates. And now it's formalized that role by electing Stocks as its chairman, replacing Rob McKay, heir to the Taco Bell fortune.
To be clear, the problem here has nothing to do with Stocks personally, whom I've never met, and who has been described to me as a thoughtful and open-minded guy. It also has nothing to do with teachers generally, many of whom are nothing short of heroic, and who are struggling to adapt to the turmoil in their industry, same as the rest of us.
But if you were going to sit down and make a list of political powerhouses that have been intransigent and blindly doctrinaire in the face of change, you'd have a hard time finding a better example than the country's largest teachers union.
Monday, June 23, 2014
Rich Boys' Club
What happens when wealthy liberals become wealthy Democrats: