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Below are all three parts of this series of articles.


The Shadow Party: Part I
By: David Horowitz and Richard Poe
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, October 06, 2004
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=11100



Origins

 
"My family is more important to me than my party," declared  Senator Zell Miller, a Georgia Democrat, as he spoke from the podium of the Republican National Convention on September 1. "There is but one man to whom I am willing to entrust their future and that man's name is George Bush." [1]

Many Democrats howled in outrage at Miller's "betrayal" - former President Jimmy Carter in particular. In an angry personal letter to the Georgia senator, Carter accused Miller of "unprecedented disloyalty" and declared, "You have betrayed our trust. [I]t's quite possible that your rabid speech damaged our party..." [2]

But nothing Miller said could possibly have damaged the Democratic Party more than its own leaders had done in making the war in Iraq a partisan issue and embracing the anti-war cause. In his anger, Carter had mistaken the symptom for the disease. Long before Zell Miller's démarche, Ronald Reagan -- a Roosevelt Democrat who re-registered as a Republican in 1962 -- followed a similar course, explaining, "I didn't leave the Democratic Party; the Democratic Party left me."[3]

The leftward drift of the Democratic Party accelerated through the Vietnam years, spurred by the anti-war candidacies of Bobby Kennedy, Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern. When the congressional Democrats pulled the plug on aid to our allies in southeast Asia in the 1970s, a contingent of anti-Communist "Scoop" Jackson Democrats crossed the aisle in protest and became Republicans - an act for which they were labeled "neo-conservatives." Rank-and-file Democrats staged a silent but even more devastating walk-out after four years of Jimmy Carter's "blame America" Administration, casting their ballots by the millions for the Gipper.

The Democrats' current presidential aspirant John Kerry has ambitiously modeled his political career after John F. Kennedy’s. Yet their politics bear little resemblance. If Kennedy were alive today, Democrats would condemn his sweeping capital gains tax cuts as a sop to the rich. His militant anti-Communism would evoke charges of right-wing "paranoia."  And the vow he made in his inaugural address to confront tyranny anywhere in the world would win him the label of "neo-conservative" imperialist among today’s Democrats. Instead of calling on Americans to "support any friend" and "oppose any foe" -- as Kennedy did in his famous address - many Democrats are busy sabotaging our war effort in Iraq, with speeches as strident as any that emanated from the New Left during the Vietnam era.

The devolution of the Democrats from the Cold War party of Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy to the progressive party of Edward Kennedy and John F. Kerry has long been in progress, and is not quite complete. But the Democrats' final transformation into a party of the left in the European mode may not be far off. Barely noticed by political observers, an activist juggernaut has seized control of the party’s national electoral apparatus, organized, financed and directed by the left.

This party within the party has no official name, but some journalists and commentators have begun referring to it as the Shadow Party, a term that we will use as well. It denotes a network of non-profit groups presently raising hundreds of millions of dollars for deployment on the campaign battlefield. This money pays for advertising, get-out-the-vote-drives, opposition research, dirty tricks and virtually every aspect of a modern electoral campaign. But it does so through independent groups with no formal connection to the Democratic Party.


Follow the Money

The Shadow Party emerged from the dense thicket of campaign finance reforms engineered by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold. Thanks to the soft-money ban enacted by the McCain-Feingold Act of March 27, 2002, the Democratic  Party entered the current election cycle hard pressed to raise enough money legally to undertake  a winning campaign. This created an imperative that found its inevitable loophole (as critics of McCain-Feingold always warned it would). Consequently, the driving force in the political war against George Bush is now a group of billionaires and millionaires operating through the veiled structures of the Shadow Party.

Under McCain-Feingold, political parties and candidates can only accept “hard money” contributions – that is, contributions given to a specific political party for a specific political campaign. Such contributions must be reported to the Federal Election Commission, and are limited to a $2,000 maximum per donor for each candidate, or $5,000 per donor if they are paid to a federally registered political action committee (PAC). Historically, Republicans have enjoyed a 2-1 advantage over Democrats in raising hard-money contributions from individual donors. Democrats have relied much more heavily on soft-money contributions from large institutions such as unions.

Soft money refers to political contributions, which for one reason or another have been exempted from the limits imposed by the FEC. Before McCain-Feingold outlawed such contributions, soft money donors could give as much money to political parties as they wished. Their contributions often numbered in the millions of dollars. McCain-Feingold deprived the Democrats of their soft money, but the Shadow Party has provided an alternate channel for collecting unlimited contributions. For example, government unions used to lavish multi-million-dollar contributions on the Democratic Party – money which the unions drew from their members, through mandatory dues. The unions still collect their membership dues, but, under McCain-Feingold, they may no longer pass that money along to the Democratic Party, at least not directly. The solution? They give it to the Shadow Party instead.

The Shadow Party uses various expedients to evade McCain-Feingold’s limits. First, it works through independent non-profit groups that ostensibly have no connection to the Democratic Party, either structurally or through informal coordination. The Shadow Party contains many types of non-profit groups, but most of its big fundraisers are “527 committees” – named after Section 527 of the IRS code – sometimes called “stealth  PACS” because, unlike ordinary PACS (political action committees), they are not required to register with the Federal Election Commission nor to divulge their finances to the FEC (except in special circumstances).

Another expedient used by the Shadow Party is to claim that it is not engaged in electioneering at all. Most Shadow Party groups say they are soliciting funds not to defeat a particular candidate, but to promote “issues” and non-partisan get-out-the-vote drives. Of course their issue promotions have, in most cases, turned out to be savage attacks on the opposing candidates and their get-out-the-vote drives have used sophisticated demographic marketing techniques to target exclusively Democratic constituencies. All of this casts doubt on the Shadow Party’s claim to be aloof from the electoral struggle and therefore exempt from FEC regulation.  However, a pliant Federal Elections Commission has conveniently declined to rule on the Shadow Party’s legality until after the election, when it will no longer matter.

Needless to say, McCain-Feingold also bars the Republican Party from raising soft money. However, Republicans never had a problem raising individual contributions for their candidates and never made a habit of raiding union treasuries for “soft money.” Thus Republicans have felt less urgency than Democrats to seek alternative fundraising methods, and they have proved slower in pursuing the 527 escape route from McCain-Feingold. Republicans have built no network of independent, non-profit groups comparable in numbers or scale to the Democrat Shadow Party.

No one knows who first coined the term “shadow party.” The term has become popular among journalists, but likely originated among the freelance fundraisers themselves. In the November 5, 2002 Washington Post, writer Thomas B. Edsall wrote of “shadow organizations” springing up on both sides of the political fence to circumvent McCain-Feingold’s  soft money ban.[4] Lorraine Woellert  of Business Week appears to have been the first journalist to apply the term “shadow party” specifically to the Democrat network of 527 groups, in a September 15, 2003 article titled, “The Evolution of Campaign Finance?”[5] Other journalists followed her example.


The Soros Factor

According to conventional wisdom the Shadow Party began taking form shortly after March 27, 2002 – the date President Bush signed the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act, popularly known as McCain-Feingold. However, the Shadow Party’s earliest origins predate the Reform Act by many years. The principal mover behind the Shadow Party is Wall Street billionaire and leftwinger George Soros. A New York hedge fund manager, global investment banker and currency trader, Soros has a personal net worth in the $7 billion range. Under his aegis, the Shadow Party has created a new power base for the left, independent of the mainstream party apparatus – a leverage point from which to tilt the party in an ever-more-radical  direction.

Only Soros knows when he first conceived the idea of forming this network. However, clear hints of his intentions began to appear as early as the 2000 election. By that time, Soros had already baffled friend and foe alike with his increasingly strident attacks on capitalism – the very system which had elevated him from a penniless Hungarian refugee to one of the world’s wealthiest men. In his 1998 book The Crisis of Global Capitalism, Soros predicted an imminent collapse of the global financial system. Financiers like himself were largely to blame, he wrote, for they had allowed greed to overwhelm their humanity. “The  (global capitalist) system is deeply flawed,” wrote Soros. “As long as capitalism remains triumphant, the pursuit of money overrides all other social considerations.” [6]

Soros offered no coherent solution to the problem. He simply continued his long-established pattern of pouring money into a hodge-podge of fashionable leftwing causes, such as promoting mass immigration into the United States; financing anti-gun lawsuits and lobbyists; demanding voting rights for felons; seeking the abolition of capital punishment; exacerbating  Palestinian unrest; promoting abortion; feminism; population control; gay liberation; euthanasia; radical theories of education; marijuana legalization  and global government.

In 2000, Soros stepped up his attack on the status quo – dramatically raising his profile in U.S. electoral politics in the process – by sponsoring the so-called “Shadow Conventions.” Organized by author, columnist, social climber and political gadfly Arianna Huffington, the Shadow Conventions were counter-cultural events that gave a spotlight to critics of the electoral mainstream, most from the far left. In an effort to lure news crews away from the national party conventions, Huffington held her “Shadow Conventions” at the same time and in the same cities as the Republican and Democratic  conventions in Philadelphia and Los Angeles respectively.

The largest single donor to the Shadow Conventions was George Soros, who put up about one third of the cost, according to Time magazine.[7] Media commentators at the time played the Shadow Conventions for laughs. Yet these events conveyed a serious message; a comprehensive radical agenda which Soros evidently endorsed.

Third Force

The Shadow Conventions promoted the view that neither Democrats nor Republicans served the interests of the American people. Like the New Left of the 1960s and today’s Green Party, both of which dismiss the major parties as instruments of the “corporate ruling class,” Huffington declared that US politics needed a third force to break the deadlock. Among the issues highlighted at the Shadow Conventions were racism, special interest lobbies, marijuana legalization  and the allegedly growing concentration of wealth – a radical hobgoblin since Karl Marx first raised its specter 150 years ago. Most speakers and delegates at the Shadow Convention hewed to a hard-left line, their views resonating with the “Free Mumia” chants that erupted periodically from the crowd and with Jesse Jackson’s incendiary charges that Republicans were racists. Huffington herself was a sometime conservative whose cult-like worship of Newt Gingrich had formerly evoked titters of amusement from media gossips. At the Shadow Conventions, she told reporters: “I have become radicalized.”

Not all the speakers were hucksters in the Jackson mold, however. Senator John McCain whose campaign finance crusade had put him at odds with both parties was one of the few mainstream politicians to accept Huffington’s invitation to speak. He made an impassioned plea for campaign finance reform, a crusade which – perhaps not coincidentally – George Soros had been a major force in pushing since 1995.

The Shadow Conventions were symbolic affairs. They represented no party and nominated no candidates for office. However, many of Soros’ activities  during the 2000 campaign went beyond symbolism. It was during the 2000 election cycle that Soros first began experimenting with raising money through 527 committees. He assembled a team of wealthy Democrat donors to help him push two of his favorite issues – gun control and marijuana legalization.  Soros collected contributions greatly exceeding  the $5,000 limit allowed to federal PACs, but he evaded those limits by using 527 committees.

One of Soros’ committees was an anti-gun group called The Campaign for a Progressive Future, which sought to neutralize the influence of the National Rifle Association (NRA) by targeting political candidates whom the NRA endorsed. Mainstream Democrats had backed off the gun control issue when candidate Al Gore learned that 40 percent of union households owned guns. However, Soros was no mainstream Democrat. He personally seeded The Campaign for a Progressive Future with $500,000.[8]

During the 2000 election,  Soros’ Campaign for a Progressive Future funded political ads and direct mail campaigns in support of state initiatives favoring background checks at gun shows. Soros and his associates also funneled money into pro-marijuana initiatives, which appeared on the ballot in various states that year.[9] Donors to Soros’ stealth PACs during the 2000 election cycle included insurance mogul Peter B. Lewis and InfoSeek founder Steven Kirsch, both of whom would turn up later as major contributors to Soros’ Shadow Party during the 2004 campaign.


The Southampton Meeting

To the extent that the Shadow Party can be said to have an official launch date, July 17, 2003 probably fits the bill.[10] On that day, a team of political strategists, wealthy donors, leftwing labor leaders and other Democrat activists gathered at Soros’ Southampton beach house on Long Island. Aside from Soros, the most noteworthy attendee was Morton H. Halperin. Soros had hired Halperin in February 2002, to head the Washington office of his tax-exempt Open Society Institute – part of Soros’ global network of Open Society institutes and foundations located in more than 50 countries around the world. Given Halperin’s history, the appointment revealed much about Soros’ political goals.

Halperin has a long and controversial track record in the world of Washington intrigue, dating back to the Johnson Administration. Journalists sympathetic to Halperin’s leftwing sentiments give him high marks for blowing the whistle on the Vietnam War, but his activism helped undermine America’s war effort and contributed to the Communist victory.

The Johnson Defense Department placed Halperin in charge of compiling a secret history of U.S. involvement in Vietnam, based on classified documents. This secret history later emerged into public view as the so-called “Pentagon Papers.” Halperin and his deputy Leslie Gelb assigned much of the writing to leftwing opponents of the war, such as Daniel Ellsberg who, despite his background as a former Marine and a military analyst for the Rand Corporation, was already evolving into a New Left radical. In his memoir, Secrets, Ellsberg admits to concluding, as early as 1967, that, “we were not fighting on the wrong side; we were the wrong side” in the Vietnam War. [11] Evidently Ellsberg had come to view Ho Chi Minh’s Communist regime as the wave of the future.

With Halperin’s tacit encouragement – and perhaps active collusion – Ellsberg stole the secret history and released  it to The New York Times, which published the documents as “The Pentagon Papers” in June 1971.[12]  This was a violation of the Espionage Act, which forbids the removal of classified documents from government buildings. Not surprisingly, “The Pentagon Papers” echoed Halperin’s long-standing position that the Vietnam War was unwinnable, and ridiculed Presidents Kennedy and Johnson for stubbornly refusing to heed those of their advisors who shared this opinion. It marked a turning point in America’s failed effort to keep Indo-China from falling to the Communists. The government dropped its case against Ellsberg as Nixon’s power collapsed during the Watergate intrigues.

Halperin went on to become the director of the American Civil Liberties Union from 1984 to 1992 and head of its "National Security Archives." From this position, he waged open war against U.S. intelligence services, through the courts and the press, seeking to strip the government of virtually any power to investigate, monitor or obstruct subversive elements and their activities.[13] It did not take long for Halperin to go the next logical step and argue for abolishing America’s intelligence  services altogether. “Using secret intelligence agencies to defend a constitutional republic is akin to the ancient medical practice of  employing leeches to take blood from feverish patients. The intent is therapeutic, but in the long run the cure is  more deadly than the disease,” Halperin wrote in his 1976 book, The Lawless State: The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence  Agencies.[14]

In a March 21, 1987 article in The Nation, Halperin expanded on this theme and, like Ellsberg, took the position that America was the real villain in the Cold War. He wrote, “Secrecy does not serve national security. Covert operations are incompatible with constitutional  government and should be abolished.”[15] This was a call for unilateral disarming of our intelligence services to match the universal disarmament of our military which has long been a staple of the radical agenda.

Evidently, Soros wishes Halperin to continue his war on America’s intelligence services. According to an Open Society Institute press release, one of Halperin’s principal assignments on the Soros team is to battle “post-September 11 policies that threaten the civil liberties of Americans.” [16]


The Plan

No one has published a full list of the attendees at Soros’ July 17 meeting in Southampton, at which Soros laid out his plan to defeat President Bush.[17] However, a partial list is available in accounts that appeared in the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal. These include an impressive array of former Clinton administration officials, among them Halperin. Prior to working for Soros, Halperin had served eight years under Clinton, first as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy and finally as Director of Policy Planning for the Clinton State Department.

The guests at Soros’ beach house also included Clinton’s former chief of staff John Podesta; Jeremy Rosner, former special advisor to Clinton’s Secretary of State Madeline Albright; Robert Boorstin, a former advisor to Clinton’s Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin; and Steven Rosenthal, a leftwing union leader who served the Clinton White House as an advisor on union affairs to Labor Secretary Robert Reich. Carl Pope, executive director of the Sierra Club, and Ellen Malcolm, founder and president of the pro-abortion lobby Emily’s List, also attended the meeting, as did such prominent Democrat donors as auto insurance mogul Peter B. Lewis; founder and CEO of RealNetworks  Rob Glaser; Taco Bell heir Rob McKay; and Benson & Hedges tobacco heirs Lewis and Dorothy Cullman.

Months earlier, Soros had hired two political analysts to probe Bush’s defenses. They were Tom Novick, a lobbyist for the Western States Center – a group of radical environmentalists in Oregon – and Democrat media strategist Mark Steitz, president of TSD Communications in Washington DC, whose clients have included the Democratic  National Committee and the Clinton presidential campaigns of 1992 and 1996. Jeanne Cummings of The Wall Street Journal reports that both Novick and Steitz were present at the Southampton meeting, to brief the team in person.

Working independently, the two analysts had reached similar conclusions. Both agreed that Bush could be beaten. Voter turnout was the key. The analysts proposed massive get-out-the-vote  drives among likely Democrat voters in seventeen “swing” or “battleground” states: Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Washington.

“By morning,” reports Cummings, “the outlines of a new organization began to emerge, and Mr. Soros pledged $10 million to get it started.”  The name of that organization was America Coming Together (ACT) – a grassroots activist group designed to coordinate the Shadow Party’s get-out-the-vote drive. ACT would dispatch thousands of activists – some paid, some volunteers – to knock on doors and work phone banks, combining the manpower of leftwing unions, environmentalists, abortion-rights activists and minority race warriors from civil rights organizations.

ACT was not exactly new. A group of Democrat activists had been trying for months to get it off the ground. But, until George Soros stepped in, ACT had languished for lack of donors. Laura Blumenfeld of The Washington Post describes the scene at the July 17 meeting at Soros’ beach house: “Standing on the back deck, the evening sun angling into their eyes, Soros took aside Steve Rosenthal, CEO of the liberal activist group America Coming Together (ACT), and Ellen Malcolm, its president. … Soros told them he would give ACT $10 million. …Before  coffee the next morning, his friend Peter Lewis, chairman of the Progressive Corp., had pledged $10 million to ACT. Rob Glaser,  founder and CEO of RealNetworks, promised $2 million. Rob McKay, president of the McKay Family Foundation, gave $1 million and benefactors Lewis and Dorothy Cullman committed $500,000. Soros  also promised up to $3 million to Podesta's new think tank, the Center for American Progress,” which would function as the policy brains of the new network.[18]

The Shadow Party had been born. Three weeks later, on August 8, The New York Times announced the official roll-out of America Coming Together (ACT), describing it as a political action committee led by Ellen Malcolm and Steven Rosenthal.

Soros next summoned California software developer Wes Boyd to meet him in New York on September 17. Boyd was best known among computer users for his “Flying Toasters” screen saver. The political world knew him as founder of the radical Web site MoveOn.org, the Internet force behind Howard Dean’s anti-war presidential campaign. Boyd had launched the Web site during the Clinton impeachment trial in 1998, offering a petition to censure the President and “move on” to more important matters. Hundreds of thousands of readers responded, and Boyd quickly began milking his growing membership for political contributions. His Web site raised millions for Democrat candidates in three national elections – two mid-terms and one presidential race. When they met in New York, Soros offered Boyd a deal. He and his associate Peter Lewis would donate $1 to MoveOn.org for every $2 Boyd could raise from his members, up to $5 million total from Soros and Lewis combined. Boyd accepted.[19]

By November 2003, the Shadow Party was ready to go public. As Cummings notes in the Wall Street Journal, Soros calculated that the best way to launch his network would be to issue a public statement, calling attention to the record-breaking  contributions he had pledged to the Shadow Party. Such an announcement would “stimulate other giving” from Democrat donors still sitting on the fence, Soros thought.[20]

He chose The Washington Post to carry his message.  Soros sat down with reporter Laura Blumenfeld and issued his now-famous call for regime  change in the USA. “America  under Bush is a danger to the world,” Soros declared in that November 11, 2003 interview. Toppling Bush, he said, “is the central focus of my life… a matter of life and death. And I’m willing to put my money where my mouth is.” Would Soros spend his entire $7-billion fortune to defeat Bush, Blumenfeld asked? “If someone guaranteed it,” Soros replied.

NOTES:
[1] “Text of Zell Miller’s Speech at RNC,” The Associated Press, 1 September 2004
[2] “Carter to Miller: `You Have Betrayed Our Trust,’” Cox News Service, 7 September 2004
[3] “The Life of Ronald Wilson Reagan: 1911-2004,” The Washington Times, 7 June 2004, A12
[4] Thomas B. Edsall, “Campaign Money Finds New Conduits As Law Takes Effect: Shadow Organizations to Raise `Soft Money,’” The Washington Post, 5 November 2002, A02
[5] Lorraine Woellert, “The Evolution of Campaign Finance?” Business Week, 15 September 2003, 62
[6] George Soros, The Crisis of Global Capitalism (New York: PublicAffairs, 1998), 102
[7] Andrew Ferguson, “The Arianna Sideshow,” Time Magazine, 31 July 2000, 22
[8] Barry Massey, “Ads in New Mexico Paid For By `Stealth PACS,’” Associated Press, 4 November 2000
[9] Aimee Welch, “When Voters Are the Legislators,” Insight on the News, 11 December  2000, 22
[10] Jeanne Cummings, “Soros Has a Hunch Bush Can Be Beat,” The Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2004
[11] Daniel Ellsberg, Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers (New York: Viking, 2002)
[12] Ellsberg, Secrets, 2002; Seymour M. Hersh, “Kissinger and Nixon in the White House,” The Atlantic, May 1982
[13] Morton H. Halperin and Jeanne M. Woods, “Ending the Cold War at Home,” Foreign Policy, Winter 1990–1991, 136.
[14] Morton H. Halperin, Jerry Berman, Robert Borosage and Christine Marwick, The Lawless State: The Crimes of the U.S. Intelligence Agencies  (Washington, DC: Center for National Security Studies, 1976), 5
[15] Morton Halperin, “The Case Against Covert Action,” The Nation, 21 March 1987, 345
[16] Andrea Pringle, “George Soros Opens Washington Office: Wants Open Society Institute to Have Added Impact on Policy” (press release), Open Society Institute, Washington DC, 10 June 2002
[17] Jeanne Cummings, “Soros Has a Hunch Bush Can Be Beat,” The Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2004
[18] Laura Blumenfeld, “Soros’s Deep Pockets vs. Bush,” Washington Post, 11 November 2003, A03
[19] Blumenfeld, “Soros’s Deep Pockets vs. Bush”; Michelle Goldberg, “MoveOn Moves Up,” Salon.com, December 1, 2003
[20] Cummings, The Wall Street Journal, 5 February 2004


The Shadow Party: Part II Continued
By: David Horowitz and Richard Poe
FrontPageMagazine.com | Thursday, October 07, 2004
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=11083



Center for American Progress (CAP)
Launched July 7, 2003


The Center for American Progress (CAP) is widely understood to be what one inside source called, “the official Hillary Clinton think tank” – a platform designed to highlight Hillary’s policies and to enhance her prestige as a potential presidential candidate.[1]

Robert Dreyfuss reports in the March 1, 2004 edition of The Nation: “The idea for the Center began with discussions in 2002 between [Morton] Halperin and George Soros, the billionaire investor. … Halperin, who heads the office of Soros’ Open Society Institute, brought [former Clinton chief of staff John] Podesta into the discussion, and beginning in late 2002 Halperin and Podesta circulated a series of papers to funders.” [2]

Soros and Halperin then recruited Harold Ickes – chief fundraiser and former deputy chief of staff for the Clinton White House – to help organize the Center. It was launched on July 7, 2003 as the American Majority Institute, but has operated under the name Center for American Progress (CAP) since September 1, 2003.

The official purpose of the Center was to provide the left with something it supposedly lacked – a think tank of its own. Where was the left’s Heritage Foundation, asked Soros and Halperin? Of course, the left had plenty of think tanks, including the Brookings Institution, the Urban Institute, the Economic Policy Institute, the Center on Budget and Policy, the Institute for Policy Studies, and the Progressive Policy Institute – not to mention the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard and numerous similar academic institutions firmly under leftist control. But Shadow Party leaders seemed to be looking for something different – something that no existing institution on the left offered.

Regarding the alleged need for CAP, Hillary Clinton told Matt Bai of The New York Times Magazine on October 12, 2003, “We  need some new intellectual  capital. There has to be some thought given as to how we build the 21st-century policies that reflect the Democratic Party’s values.”[3] Expanding on this theme, Hillary subsequently told The Nation’s Dreyfuss, “We’ve  had the challenge of filling a void on our side of the ledger for a long time, while the other side created an infrastructure that has come to dominate political discourse. The center is a welcome effort to fill that void.”[4]

Soros and Hillary seemed to understand the need for the new Center, even if they did not always succeed in explaining it to others. They found fault with every existing leftwing think tank. Even Bill Clinton’s personal favorite, the Progressive Policy Institute, was too moderate, too middle-of-the-road for their purpose. But what was their purpose?

Hillary Clinton tries to minimize the depth of her involvement with CAP – as indeed she does habitually in all matters concerning the Shadow Party. Beltway insiders are not fooled, however. Persistent press leaks confirm that Hillary calls the shots at CAP – not John Podesta. “It’s the official Hillary Clinton think tank,” an inside source confided to Christian Bourge of United Press International.[5]

Many ideological purists on the Left dismiss the Center as a platform for Hillary’s presidential ambitions. No doubt, they are right. Dreyfuss notes the abundance of Clintonites on the Center’s staff, among them Clinton’s national security speechwriter Robert Boorstin; Democratic Leadership Council staffer and former head of Clinton’s National Economic Council Gene Sperling; former senior advisor to Clinton’s Office of Management and Budget Matt Miller; and so on. Dreyfuss writes: “[T]he  center’s  kickoff conference on national security in October [2003], co-organized with The American Prospect and the Century Foundation, looked like a Clinton reunion, featuring Robert Rubin, Clinton’s Treasury Secretary; William Perry, his Defense Secretary; Sandy Berger, his National Security Adviser; Richard Holbrooke and Susan Rice, both Clinton-era Assistant Secretaries of State; Rodney Slater, his Transportation Secretary; and Carol Browner, his EPA administrator, who serves on the center’s  board of directors.” Hillary Clinton also attended the event, notes Dreyfuss.

“In looking at Podesta’s center,” Dreyfuss muses, “there’s no escaping the imprint of the Clintons. It’s not completely wrong to see it as a shadow government, a kind of Clinton White-House-in-exile – or a White House staff in readiness for President Hillary Clinton.”[6]

“Rapid Response”

Another of CAP’s missions is to carry out “rapid response” to what it calls conservative “attacks” in the media. CAP’s Web site promises that it will soon be capable of “responding effectively and rapidly to conservative proposals and rhetoric with a thoughtful critique and clear alternatives.”  To this end, CAP offers a stable of talking heads – coiffed, credentialed  and fully briefed – ready to appear at a moment’s notice on national talk shows to interrupt, side track, browbeat and otherwise prevent conservative commentators from getting their message out. Notable among CAP’s line-up of talking heads are The Nation’s Eric Alterman – who claims expertise on the subjects of media and democracy – and Morton H. Halperin, who offers to speak on national security.

CAP helped launch Media Matters for America, a 501(c)(03) public charity better known for its Web site MediaMatters.org, which opened for business on May 3, 2004. Inasmuch as Media Matters aspires to serve as a media watchdog,  monitoring  “rightwing” journalists for errors and ethical violations,  it is odd, to say the least, that David Brock has been appointed its President and CEO. Brock is a former conservative journalist who defected to the Left amidst an outpouring of dramatic public apologies and confessions that he had built his career  on lies, writing political hit pieces filled with flimsy evidence and outright fabrications.  Even so, whatever Brock lacks in credibility, he more than makes up for in the quality of his schmoozing. Brock told The New York Times that he conferred with Senator Hillary Clinton, Senator Tom Daschle and former Vice President Al Gore before launching his Web site.[7]

The New York Times, which generously provided a 1,041-word feature article to announce Brock’s grand opening, reports that, “Mr. Brock's project was developed with help from the newly formed Center for American Progress…. [CAP president John] Podesta has loaned office space in the past to Mr. Brock and introduced him to potential  donors.” Brock received $2 million for the start-up. His donors include friend-of-Hillary Susie Tompkins Buell, co-founder of the fashion company Esprit; former cable TV mogul Leo Hindery Jr.; and San Francisco philanthropist James C. Hormel, an enthusiastic promoter of the “gay lifestyle” whom Clinton appointed ambassador to Luxembourg in the 1990s.[8]

In its short life, Media Matters has already acquired a reputation for zombie-like partisanship and reckless disregard for the truth. Brock and his team seem to sleepwalk through their work, rubberstamping, with mind-numbing monotony, virtually every conservative utterance that finds its way into major media as a “lie,” a “smear,” a “slander,” or a factual “error.”

War on Rush Limbaugh

Among Brock’s high-priority projects is a campaign to pressure Congress and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to ban Rush Limbaugh from American Forces Radio and Television Service (AFRTS) – thus depriving our troops in Iraq of one of the few radio programs they are allowed to hear that wholeheartedly supports them and the cause for which they fight. Only one hour of Limbaugh’s three-hour show is broadcast on one of AFRTS’s thirteen radio channels, five days per week – constituting less than one percent of the network’s total weekly programming. [9]  Nevertheless, that is one percent too many for the Shadow Party and its operatives.

Shortly after Media Matters began its campaign, Democrat Senator Tom Harkin of Iowa obligingly proposed an amendment to the 2005 Defense Authorization Act mandating “political balance”  on AFRTS. The Senate approved Harkin’s amendment unanimously on June 16.  It stops short of banning Limbaugh outright, but the amendment effectively requires AFRTS to balance Limbaugh with more leftwing commentary. Given the fact that one of the network’s two news channels currently airs National Public Radio 24 hours per day, seven days per week, it is hard to imagine how AFRTS can broadcast more leftwing commentary than it already does.[10]  Even so, Senator Harkin complained in a June 17 Senate speech, “[T]here is no commentary on the service that would even begin to balance the extreme right-wing views that Rush Limbaugh routinely expresses on his program.” [11]

In the interests of full disclosure, it should be mentioned that both co-authors of this article have been targets of stunningly mendacious hatchet jobs on Mr. Brock’s Web site.

NOTES
[1] Christian Bourge, “Liberal Think Tank Debuts,” United Press International,  July 7, 2003
[2] Robert Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats,”  The Nation, March 1, 2004, 18
[3] Matt Bai, “Notion Building,” The New York Times Magazine, October 12, 2003, 82
[4] Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats”
[5] Bourge, “Liberal Think Tank Debuts”
[6] Dreyfuss, “An Idea Factory for the Democrats”
[7] Jim Rutenberg, “New Internet Site Turns Critical Eyes and Ears to the Right,” The New York Times, 3 May 2004, 21
[8] Rutenberg, “New Internet Site Turns Critical Eyes and Ears to the Right”
[9] Hans Nichols, “Limbaugh Stirs Democrats’ Angst Over Forces Radio,” The Hill, 14 September 2004, 6; Suzanne Gamboa, “Liberals Want More Antidote for Limbaugh on American Forces Radio,” The Associated Press, 28 June 2004; Jake Thompson, “Limbaugh Protests Harkin Move,” Omaha World-Herald, 19 June 2004, 04A;
[10] Nichols, “Limbaugh Stirs Democrats’ Angst Over Forces Radio” The Hill; “Harkin Leads Senate in Unanimous Vote Demanding Political Balance on American Forces Radio and Television Service,” US Newswire, 16 June 2004
[11] “Statement of Senator Tom Harkin on American Forces Radio,” harkin.senate.gov, 17 June 2004


The Shadow Party: Part III
By: David Horowitz and Richard Poe
FrontPageMagazine.com | Monday, October 11, 2004
http://archive.frontpagemag.com/readArticle.aspx?ARTID=11035


At the Shadow Party’s "Take Back America" conference in Washington on June 3, 2004, following a glowing introduction from Hillary Clinton, George Soros stepped to the podium to explain to the audience that when it came to electoral politics in the USA, he was a newcomer. Only his outrage over Bush’s invasion of Iraq had stirred him to get involved in the partisan struggle. "[I]t is the first time that I feel that I need to stand up and do something, and become really engaged in the electoral process in this country," Soros said.[1]

This was far from the truth, however. Whatever reasons Soros had for entering party politics, they clearly pre-dated the war in Iraq or George W. Bush. Soros has been neck-deep in Democrat intrigue since at least 1994. Three weeks after Republicans swept Congress in the mid-term elections that year, Soros dtated in a November 30, 1994 speech that he wished to "do something about… the distortion of our electoral process by the excessive use of TV advertising." [2] Evidently, Soros realized that the most efficient way to control political advertising would be to control the flow of "soft money" earmarked for the political parties. Within eight months of Soros’ speech, Democrat Senator Russ Feingold obligingly rose on the Senate floor to denounce soft money abuses, thus setting in motion the political steamroller that would ultimately flatten all opposition and give us the McCain-Feingold Act of March 27, 2002.

Few Americans realize that it was George Soros who bankrolled the seven-year lobbying effort without which McCain-Feingold never would have seen the light of day. As a Wall Street Journal editorial noted, "Combine… the $1.7 million that Mr. Soros gave the Center for Public Integrity, the $1.3 million he gave Public Campaign, the $300,000 to Democracy 21, the $625,000 to Common Cause, and the $275,000 to Public Citizen – and you can be forgiven for believing Mr.
Soros got campaign finance passed all by himself." [3]

But to what end did he do it?  Why did Soros spend seven years and millions of dollars pushing a soft-money ban through Congress, only to turn around in 2004 and mount an equally ambitious effort – through the Shadow Party – to circumvent  that ban and bankroll  the John Kerry campaign?  Many critics have accused Soros of "hypocrisy" for playing both sides of the McCain-Feingold fence. However, his actions may not be as contradictory as they appear.

By pushing McCain-Feingold through Congress, Soros cut off the Democrats’ soft-money supply. By forming the Shadow Party, Soros offered the Democrats an alternate money spigot – one which he personally controlled. As a result the Democrats are heavily – perhaps even irretrievably – dependent on Soros. It seems reasonable to consider the possibility that McCain-Feingold, from its very inception, was a Soros power play to gain control of the Democratic Party.

With Ted Kennedy well into his 72nd year, and the Kennedy clan in overall decline, no dynasty of comparable wealth or ambition has stepped forward to lead the Democrats. George Soros may well aspire to fill the vacuum that the Kennedys have left. At age 74, his thoughts have turned more and more to dynasty building. Soros has five children; three by his first wife Annaliese and two by his second wife Susan. Since September, Soros has effectively placed his two eldest sons in charge of his financial empire. Robert Daniel Soros, 41, and Jonathan T. Soros, 34, now handle the day-to-day investment decisions of Soros Fund Management, as chief investment officer and deputy chairman respectively.[4]

Robert and Jonathan have also followed their father into politics. As mentioned in Part 2, Jonathan Soros is a MoveOn.org activist, a financial sponsor of MoveOn, and a contributor to other Shadow Party groups as well. His brother Robert is focusing, for the time being, on state-level politics. Robert and his wife Melissa gave $100,000 to the New York State Democratic Campaign Committee in 2004. "I live in New York and understand the importance of state government," Robert explained to the New York Post.[5]

If indeed the Soros family means to rule the Democrats – perhaps even more comprehensively than the Kennedys once did – they have found a power base for their ambitions among the party’s left wing. A cover story for The New York Times Magazine of July 25, 2004 – on the very eve of the Democratic Convention’s opening ceremonies in Boston – provided a glimpse of the tidal force now sweeping the destinies of Democrats and their Party in its wake. Written by Matt Bai, the story bore the title, "Wiring the Vast Leftwing Conspiracy," but it might just as well have been called, "The Democratic Party is Dead – Long Live the Shadow Party!" For that was the clear message its contents conveyed.[6] "As Democrats converge on Boston this week to hold their party convention and formally anoint Kerry as their  nominee, all the talk will be of resurgence, unity and a new sense of purpose. Don't be fooled," Bai warned. According to Bai, the unspoken question haunting the convention would be, "in the era after big government," what "is the party’s reason for being?"

With the Democratic Convention’s opening ceremonies only 24 hours away, Bai urged readers to, "be sure to take a long, last look. The Democratic Party of the machine age, so long dominant in American politics, could be holding its own Irish wake near Boston's North End. The power is already shifting -- not just within the party, but away from it altogether."

The independence of Soros’ Shadow Party has proved a double-edged sword for Democrats. On the one hand, it allows Democrats to circumvent the law, by delegating what amounts to a new form of "soft-money" fundraising to an outside agency. On the other hand, Democrats today have become so dependent on that outside agency that some Shadow Party operatives have begun to question whether they even need the Democrats any longer. Why not break off and form their own party, they ask?  In his article, Bai regaled his readers with a dismal recitation of figures documenting the collapse of Democrat power. He wrote:

"Since the 1950's, when nearly half of all voters called themselves Democrats, nearly one in six Democrats has left the party, according to a University of Michigan study, while Republican membership has held close to steady.… [T]he Democratic Party has seen an exodus of the white working-class men who were once their most reliable voters. In the suburbs… the percentage of white men supporting the party has plummeted 16 points just since Bill Clinton left office. …[Democrats] have spent most of the last decade  in the minority, and during that time they have never enjoyed a majority of more than a single vote.”

Bai summed up the damage thus: "… Thirty years ago, Democrats could claim outright control of 37 state legislatures, compared with only 4 for Republicans; Democrats now control just 17." Democratic strategist Pat Caddell, a participant in the Soros-Huffington Shadow Convention, agreed: "The deterioration is steady, and it's spreading like a cancer. So much for thinking that if we could just go back to the glorious 90's, the party would be fine. The 90's were our worst decade since the 1920's."

What To Do?

According to Bai, the last best hope for "progressive" politics in America lies in what he calls the "vast leftwing conspiracy," by which he means the network of independent, non-profit issue groups controlled by Soros, Ickes and their allies: the Shadow Party. "This is like post-Yugoslavia. We used to have a strongman called the party. After McCain-Feingold, we dissolved the power of Tito," exulted Soros supporter Andrew Stern, a former SDS and anti-Vietnam war activist, now president of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) which has spent $65 million to beat Bush. Shadow Party co-founder Harold Ickes extolled the hip, youthful spirit that MoveOn.org’s online activists have brought to political organizing on the left. He told Bai:

"‘When you go out and talk to them, people are much more interested in something like MoveOn.org than in the Democratic Party. It has cachet. There is no cachet in the Democratic Party. MoveOn raised a million dollars for a bunch of Texas state senators, man. Plus their bake sale. If they continue with their cachet and really interest people and focus their people on candidates -- boy,  that's a lot of leverage. No party can do that. And what the political ramifications of that are –‘Ickes's voice trailed off. He shrugged. ‘Who knows?’"

Bai’s article shined a spotlight on what he called "next-generation liberals" –  rising Young Turks of the Shadow Party like Silicon Valley entrepreneur Andrew Rappaport and Jonathan Soros. According to Bai, these young leftists "have come to view progressive politics as a market in need of entrepreneurship, served poorly by a giant monopoly – the Democratic Party." The solution? "People like Andy Rappaport and Jonathan Soros might succeed in revitalizing progressive politics -- while at the same time destroying what we now call the Democratic Party."

SEIU leader Andrew Stern agrees with Bai. Despite the $64 million he has poured into the Kerry campaign, Stern seems oddly apathetic toward the party Kerry represents.  "There is an incredible opportunity to have the infrastructure for a third party," he told Bai. "Anyone who could mobilize these groups would have the Democratic Party infrastructure, and they wouldn't need the Democratic Party." It would be a radical dream come true.

What exactly would a third party – guided by George Soros and his radicals – envision and seek to accomplish that today’s Democrats cannot or will not do? The possibilities are endless. In the past, Bai explains, contributions to the Democratic Party simply vanished down a black hole, to be spent as Party leaders saw fit. The 527s allow "ideological donors" such as George and Jonathan Soros to apply their money to specific projects which enable them to shape Party goals and strategy – or even to by-pass the Party altogether.

New Democrat Network president Simon Rosenberg told Bai that independent 527s would be free to attack ideological foes with a forcefulness mainstream Democrats would never dare display. Insurgents such as Rosenberg are looking for a "more defiant kind of politics," which confronts head-on the "sharp ideological divide between them and the Rush Limbaugh right," notes Bai.

In the final analysis, the movers and shakers of the Shadow Party may or may not decide to break off and go it alone, forming a Progressive Party to the left of the Democrats as Henry Wallace and the Communist Party did in 1948 (Wallace lost and the Progressive Party disintegrated after a pitiful showing in the 1952 elections). The defiant statements to Matt Bai, on the other hand, might be merely shots across the bow – warnings to Democrat moderates to take the Shadow Party and its leftwing agenda seriously, or risk a devastating party split. Either way, the Shadow Party emerges a winner and is here to stay. Barring a change in the campaign funding laws, its power will continue to grow, whether as part of a coalition that includes the Democratic Party or not. Already, Shadow Party control of Democrat fundraising has given Soros and his minions influence over the party’s platform , strategy and candidate. Should John Kerry take the White House in this election, the Shadow Party will have a throne in the West Wing.


NOTES
[1] Comments by George Soros, Take Back America Conference, Federal News Service, Washington DC, 3 June 2004
[2] Speech by George Soros, Alexander Ming Fisher Lecture Series, Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, 30 November 1994
[3] “The Soros Agenda: Free Speech for Billionaires Only,” Wall Street Journal, 30 December 2003; In a letter to the Wall Street Journal, Public Citizen President Joan Claybrook indicated that the $275,000 Soros gave to Public Citizen was earmarked for projects other than campaign finance reform (Joan Claybrook, “Clarifying Soros Funding,” Wall Street Journal, 6 January 2004)
[4] Riva D. Atlas, “2 Soros Sons Get More Control of the Business,” The New York Times, 6 October 2004, C1
[5] Fredric U. Dicker, “Soros Jr.’s Splurge – Tycoon’s Son Spends Liberally on N.Y. Dems,” New York Post, 10 August 2004, 6
[6] Matt Bai, “Wiring the Vast Left-Wing Conspiracy,” The New York Times Magazine, 25 July 2004, 30


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