Center for American Progress

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The Center for American Progress is a think tank founded in 2003 by John Podesta, as an organization dedicated to progressive ideas and action.[1]



"Who we are"

According to the organization's website[1]:

The Center for American Progress is a think tank dedicated to improving the lives of Americans through ideas and action. We combine bold policy ideas with a modern communications platform to help shape the national debate, expose the hollowness of conservative governing philosophy, and challenge the media to cover the issues that truly matter.
CAP is designed to provide long-term leadership and support to the progressive movement. Our ability to develop thoughtful policy proposals and engage in the war of ideas with conservatives is unique and effective.
Our policy experts cover a wide range of issue areas, and often work across disciplines to tackle complex, interrelated issues such as national security, energy, and climate change. This year, we are pushing to keep four leading issues at the center of the national debate:
  • Restoring America's global leadership to make America more secure and build a better world.
  • Seizing the energy opportunity to create a clean, innovation-led economy that supports a sustainable environment.
  • Creating progressive growth that's robust and widely shared, and restoring economic opportunity for all.
  • Delivering universal health care so that quality, affordable health services are available to all Americans.

Influence

Since the advent of the Obama administration CAP is often regarded as the most influential think tank in the US[1];

Through dialogue with leaders, thinkers, and citizens, we explore the vital issues facing America and the world. We develop a point of view and take a stand. We then build on that and develop bold new ideas.
We shape the national debate. We share our point of view with everyone who can put our ideas into practice and effect positive change. That means online, on campus, in the media, on the shop floor, in faith communities, and in the boardroom. Our progressive partners—including the CAP Action Fund—take our ideas to Congress and statehouses.

Infiltrating the Obama administration

Mark Rudd was a leader of the '60s mass radical organisation Students for a Democratic Society and its terrorist splinter group-Weather Underground Organization.

Rudd claims that the Center for American Progress serves as a "government in waiting" for the Obama administration.

In 2007 Mark Rudd served on the board of the Movement for a Democratic Society, which is the parent body of Progressives for Obama, the leading leftist umbrella group behind Obama's presidential campaign.

Progressives for Obama was designed to unite radicals behind the Obama campaign, defend Obama from attack and "explain" Obama's positions to radicals who don't understand his subtle approach to socialism. Rudd was also a Progressives for Obama endorser.

Movement for a Democratic Society unites leaders of the four major Marxist organisations backing Obama-Democratic Socialists of America, Communist Party USA, Committees of Correspondence for Democracy and Socialism and the Freedom Road Socialist Organization.

Movement for a Democratic Society also groups together many former leaders of both the Students for a Democratic Society and the Weather Underground Organization-several of who-Bill Ayers, Bernardine Dohrn, Carl Davidson and Mike Klonsky know Barack Obama personally.

Rudd posted an article on the Movement for a Democratic Society aligned The Rag Blog, November 27 2008, just after the election, when many "progressives" were alarmed at some of Obama's "moderate" appointments.

Rudd's purpose was to calm his wavering radical friends. To assure them that Obama was on their side, but must work tactically to achieve his radical goals.

He also specifically urged his comrades to watch the Center for American Progress.

If you're anything like me, your inbox fills up daily with the cries and complaints of lefties. Just the mere mention of the names Hillary Clinton and Lawrence Summers alone conjure up a litany of horrendous right-wingers appointed to top level positions.
Betrayal is the name of the game.
But wait a second. Let's talk about a few things:
  • Obama is a very strategic thinker. He knew precisely what it would take to get elected and didn't blow it...But he also knew that what he said had to basically play to the center to not be run over by the press, the Republicans, scare centrist and cross-over voters away. He made it.
So he has a narrow mandate for change, without any direction specified. What he's doing now is moving on the most popular issues -- the environment, health care, and the economy. He'll be progressive on the environment because that has broad popular support; health care will be extended to children, then made universal, but the medical, pharmaceutical, and insurance corporations will stay in place...the economic agenda will stress stimulation from the bottom sometimes and handouts to the top at other times. It will be pragmatic...On foreign policy and the wars and the use of the military there will be no change at all. That's what keeping Gates at the Pentagon and Clinton at State and not prosecuting the torturers is saying.
And never, never threaten the military budget. That will unite a huge majority of congress against him.
And I agree with this strategy. Anything else will court sure defeat. Move on the stuff you can to a small but significant extent, gain support and confidence. Leave the military alone because they're way too powerful. For now, until enough momentum is raised. By the second or third year of this recession, when stimulus is needed at the bottom, people may begin to discuss cutting the military budget if security is being increased through diplomacy and application of nascent international law.
  • Obama plays basketball. I'm not much of an athlete, barely know the game, but one thing I do know is that you have to be able to look like you're doing one thing but do another. That's why all these conservative appointments are important: the strategy is feint to the right, move left. Any other strategy invites sure defeat. It would be stupid to do otherwise in this environment.
  • Look to the second level appointments. There's a whole govt. in waiting that Podesta has at the Center for American Progress. They're mostly progressives, I'm told (except in military and foreign policy). Cheney was extremely effective at controlling policy by putting his people in at second-level positions.

Radical personnel

In 2008 Van Jones, later Obama "Green Jobs" Czar, was a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress[2].

Obama administration appointments

Board of directors

CAP Action Fund

CAP Trustees

"Ideas conference"

Democratic Party luminaries and 2020 presidential mentionables gathered May 2017 for an “ideas conference” organized by the Center for American Progress, the Democratic establishment’s premier think tank.

Its stated purpose was to focus not on “what could have been,” said CAP Vice President Winnie Stachelberg introducing the day, but on “new, fresh, bold, provocative ideas that can move us forward.”

Convened in a basement of Georgetown’s Four Season’s Hotel, the posh watering hole for Washington lobbyists, lawyers and visiting wealth, the conference quickly revealed how hard it is for Democrats to debate the future when Trump is taking all of the air out of the room.

Virtually every speaker dutifully invoked the theme of the day: resistance is not enough; Democrats must propose what they are for. Each then proceeded to rail at one Trump folly or another, calling on those assembled to join in defending what was achieved over the last eight years.

CAP President Neera Tanden lasted barely a minute before condemning “foreign actors” who seek to disrupt our elections and a “leader of the free world” who fires the man investigating him.

Bold, new ideas were scarce, but there was a vigorous competition on who had the best Trump putdown. Instead of the sign on Harry Truman’s desk that read “the buck stops here,” Cory Booker offered, Trump’s should read “the ruble stops here.”

“Do you get the feeling that if Bernie Madoff weren’t in prison,” Elizabeth Warren offered, “he’d be in charge of the SEC right now?” Rep. Maxine Waters topped them all by calling for Trump’s impeachment: “We don’t have to think impeachment is out of our reach,” she said. As for 2020, “We can’t wait that long,”

The first sessions of the day on the economy revealed that Bernie Sanders’ agenda is gaining ground among mainstream Democrats. LA Mayor Eric Garcetti described his success in passing a $15.00 minimum wage, a large infrastructure program, “wrap around” – pre-school, after school, and special tutoring – education reforms, and tuition free community college.

Senator Jeff Merkley, the sole Senator to support Sanders in 2016, indicted the trade and tax policies that give companies incentives to move jobs abroad, called for major investments in infrastructure, in the transition to renewable energy, and in education, including debt free college and new apprenticeship programs. Sanders’ call for Medicare for All is still off the table, however, with most focused on defending Obamacare against the Republican assault.

Even on economic reform, Trump hijacked the discussion. CAP released a new report for the conference – “Towards a Marshall Plan for America” – calling for “large scale permanent public employment and infrastructure investment program” – that would move towards a jobs guarantee for working age Americans. For CAP to call for a jobs guarantee – even though it dilutes it in the text – is a big, bold idea worthy of real attention.

Introducing Austan Goolsbee, Obama’s former economics advisor, to discuss it, CAP President Neera Tanden invited him to talk about Trump’s policies as well. Goolsbee invited people to read the report and focused his remarks on “the grubby reality” of Trump’s obscene tax plan.

Two presentations managed to offer bold ideas. Senator Elizabeth Warren took her swipes at Trump, but used her presentation to present a bigger argument for Democrats. Arguing that concentrated money and concentrated power were “corrupting our democracy,” Warren noted that “Trump did not invent these problems,” and called for sweeping reforms.

On concentrated money, she argued not simply for overturning Citizens United and moving to publicly financed elections, but for taking on the revolving door between Wall Street and giant companies and government, the “bought and paid for policy experts,” and the armies of lobbyists that distort our politics. On concentrated power, she argued for “picking up the anti-trust stick” to break up monopolies and the big banks, and revive competitive markets.

Investor and environmentalist Tom Steyer, one of the Democrats’ billionaires, provided a clear agenda for addressing catastrophic climate change, as well as savvy advice on the coalition needed to bring reform about.

Arguing Republicans are hopeless and business won’t lead, Steyer called for building a coalition around a green jobs agenda that offers jobs that pay a decent wage, reaching out to labor, people of color, and businesses that will gain in the transition in a bold plan to rebuild the country.

The foreign policy discussion, in contrast, was virtually bereft of new ideas or serious analysis. The US is mired in wars without end and without victory. Its war on terror has succeeded spreading violence and minting terrorists. Its “humanitarian intervention” in Libya has produced a failed state.

Its globalization strategy has been devastating to America’s working class. We’re facing rising tensions with both Russia and China. Both parties are pushing for spending more on the Pentagon that already consumes 40 percent of global military spending.

The clear and present danger of climate change is slighted, while we commit $1 trillion to a new generation of nuclear weapons. Surely progressives ought to be at least considering a fundamental reassessment.

Instead, Susan Rice, Obama’s former national security advisor, offered little but platitudes, calling for the US to sustain its “mantle of global leadership.” Instead of Trump’s vow to bomb the bleep out of ISIS, we should “use our full arsenal.” She called for a “balanced” approach, including strong defense (able to respond to “any threat at a moment’s notice”), skillful diplomacy, smart development and domestic strength.

On the foreign policy panel, Senator Chris Murphy, who is seen a leader of progressive foreign policy thinking, criticized Trump’s “foreign policy by improvisation,” called for a special prosecutor, and delivered a strong defense of diplomacy and the State Department.

Bizarrely, with the U.S. headed into its 16th year of war in Afghanistan, the only mention of the debacle was Adam Schiff invoking disgraced former General David Petraeus on the importance of US aid in building a competent Afghanistan government. Apparently pouring over $100 billion in that feckless effort is not enough.

The national press treated the event as a cattle show, an early audition of potential 2020 presidential contenders. This is both way premature and unfair. Kirstin Gillibrand (S-NY), Kamala Harris (S-Cal) and Terry McAuliffe (G-Va) delivered brief addresses on specific issues rather than stump speeches.

Gillibrand laid out her national paid family leave plan; Harris took apart Attorney General Session’s revival of the failed war on drugs; McAuliffe warned about gerrymandering and the importance of winning gubernatorial races before the 2020 census and reapportionment. Sen. Merkley was buried on the economics panel. Bernie Sanders wasn’t even invited.

The most interesting contrast was between Warren and Senator Cory Booker, both given star turns. Warren was full of fire and brimstone, while using her speech to put forth a clear analysis and reform agenda that pushed the limits of the Democratic debate.

Booker closed the conference with a passionate address, invoking the progressive movements that have transformed America, concluding that Democrats can’t merely be the “party of resistance,” but must “reaffirm” America’s “impossible dream.” Fittingly, it was a speech brutal on Trump, replete with good values, sound goals and uplifting oratory, and utterly devoid of ideas.[3]

CAP Staff

As of 2009;

Executive Committee

Senior Staff

Distinguished Senior Fellow

Fellows

Artist in Residence

Affiliated Scholars

California Office

Campus Progress

Communications

Development & Strategic Planning

Domestic Policy

Economic Policy

Energy Policy

Enough Project

Executive

External Affairs

Fellows

Legal

National Security

Online Communications

External links

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 About CAP
  2. http://www.americanprogress.org/issues/2008/10/green_collar_economy.html/#2
  3. [https://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/05/18/democrats-resistance-trumps-ideas Common Dreams, ublished on Thursday, May 18, 2017 by People's Action Blog For Democrats, Resistance Trumps IdeasbyRobert Borosage]