Disclaimer: Content on the YP4 blog does not necessarily reflect the views of Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation. The views, ideas, statements or claims posted on this site by members of the public cannot in any way be attributed to either Young People For or People For the American Way Foundation.
Or better yet... blame me! I was born a taxburden, and you can't even claim me as a deductible!
I was born to unwed mother... a widowed, immigrant mother of two to be exact. And we, along with millions of people like us, should have apologized for creating unnecessary burdens on the rest of society. Even if it comes twenty-something years late.
Yesterday's Washington Post article "A Gathering of Young Conservatives: Former Reagan Ranch is Site of Annual Retreat for Politically Active Students" illustrates the serious investments that conservatives continue to make in young leaders.
If you don't think such investments make a difference, look no farther than Ann Coulter. As the article mentions, "Before she became a published author, [Ann] Coulter was sent out on a speaking tour by Young America's Foundation to promote her brash brand of conservatism."
Read on for a glimpse into the experiences of 400 young activists at this annual "conservative boot camp," held on Ronald Reagan's former ranch.
Read more below.
Enter the Campus Progress Conservative Course Catalog Contest!
Those Who Can't Do, Teach
The corridors of right-wing power are looking pretty empty these days. Conservatives, from Rumsfeld to Rove, Harriet to Hastert, and now Al "Mr. Memory" Gonzales, are getting fired or fleeing their jobs faster than you can say "mandate" or "mission accomplished." But don't get too excited -- unless you're David Horowitz. Because, as they say, those who can't do, teach. Karl Rove already has announced his intention to do some teaching. More and more right wingers may soon be pontificating at a college campus near you, and their next nefarious scheme may be how to administer a particularly nasty blue book exam.
So Here's Your Homework
Campus Progress wants you to write the next course description for our Conservative Course Catalog, whether it's for Ann Coulter's Diplomacy, Newt Gingrich's Defense of Marriage, Lewis Libby's How To Shape Press Coverage, or Larry Craig's Airport Restroom Etiquette. The best entry will receive a $250 gift certificate suitable for buying textbooks or any books you want. You don't have to be a student to enter and win.
Click here for more details!
Recently the NY Times ran a story on the development of a conservative alternative to wikipedia. Citing an anti-American, anti-Christian, liberal bias, the site is modeled on wikipedia but aptly called conservapedia.
The site prides itself upon using the "Christian-friendly" B.C. and A.D. rather than the pagan B.C.E. and C.E. abbreviations when referencing time (B.C.E. = before Common Era v. B.C. = before Christ). Jesus would be so proud.
I have to admit I found the whole concept hilariously stupid, so I decided to browse. First entry: Global Warming. Conservapedia writes: "It should be noted that these scientists are motivated by a need for grant money in their field of climatology. Therefore, their work can not be considered unbiased, though no more than any scientist in any other field. Also, these scientists are mostly liberal atheists, untroubled by the hubris that man can destroy the Earth which God gave him..
Right Wing Watch
The Terrorism Awareness Project (TAP) is a new national program of the David Horowitz Freedom Center. It was launched last week to alert the American public--and particularly American college students--to the threat posed by radical Islam by placing ads of the project in college newspapers.
So far 15 colleges have been approached to run TAP's ads, Purdue, the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Michigan--have rejected the ad, while six universities, including San Francisco State, Berkeley and Duke have accepted the ad for publication.
It is generally agreed among the gay community that between 4 and 6% of the population is homosexual. For the matters of this blog entry, let's call it an even 5%. That means there are approximately 1.5 million gay people living in the United States right now. (The number seems small to me, but that's an argument for a different day.)
It is also understood that recent cultural phenomenon have made the homosexual lifestyle more relevant in today's society, and although there is still a huge backlash against the gay community, we have become much more mainstream and widely accepted. Evidence of this can be found everywhere: gay networks, gay politicians, gay advertising (what company wouldn't want to tap in to a mostly untouched market sector containing 1.5 million previously ignored citizens with disposable income up the, uhm...whazoo?), gay travel destinations, gay university theory classes etc.
Let me tell you a story about how the Democrats screwed things up once again. Way back in '06, when you were just a glimmer in the eye of your mommas, the Democrats stormed the Capitol and took back control of the House and Senate for the first time in 12 years. Nancy Pelosi, the new Speaker of the House, made conservatives tremble across the country using her "mother of five" voice to rant about crazy things like increasing the minimum wage and repealing taxes to the wealthy to implement the 9/11 Commission's recommendations. Progressive activists cheered and the middle class gave a huge sigh of relief.
Two whole years in power--albeit two years with a veto-happy neocon at the helm--lay ahead, and the Democrats promised change for the better. Hillary Clinton spent an unprecedented 30 Million dollars on her presi--I mean, on her Senate race. Chuck Shcumer temporarily channeled the ravings of Karl Rove stating his intention to create a permanent Democratic Majority. Things looked real good for the Democrats...
Then things started to go wrong. Terribly, terribly wrong. In the small time between the actual election and the time the Democrats took power, things began to unravel. The Republicans stalled all legislation so they could dump their under funded programs in the lap of newly elected democrats on January 1st (Happy New Year, we've all pitched in to give you 20 billion dollars worth of under funded programs). In-house fighting began to go public between different factions of the party. Blue Dog's courting moderate Republican constituents refused to jump on board with radical Nancy's ideological agenda. Within the party there were 217 different plans to improve our course in Iraq, and the Republicans who got us into the war sat back while we fought amongst ourselves.
More after the fold...
For nearly 30 years, ultraconservatives have invested hundreds of millions of dollars in young people and built an infrastructure that initiates young people into the radical right movement through campus activism, leadership training and career development. Their investments have paid off. The radical right wing now controls the executive and legislative branches of government, and it's only one seat away from complete dominance of the Supreme Court.
How is this investment affecting young people? Check out the student rally, "Catch an illegal immigrant day" hosted by Young Americans for Freedom and The Leadership Institute's course about Progressives' "sorid history" and The Intercollegiate Studies Institute's Lecture Series. Read more about the ultraconservative battle for young people's hearts and minds and How progressives can win in the long run. Tell us your perspective.
Last year alone, the Radical Right invested $48 million in 10 primary youth organizations working to support the next generation of ultra-conservative leaders.
Recent examples of this investment in action include campaigns against college courses that conflict with the right-wing agenda, as well as a circulated "blacklist" of more than one hundred college professors accused of making "anti-American" statements. Additionally, the Radical Right has sponsored workshops with titles such as, "How to Stop Liberals in Their Tracks," and ensures that these students have internships, fellowships, and jobs waiting for them when they graduate.
The conservative investment in leadership development over the past 30 years has paid off. A powerful network of young ultra-conservatives fill the state houses, the halls of Congress, the executive branch and the courts; they are supported by community leaders, skilled organizers, academics and media personalities that help dominate the debate. The leaders in whom they have invested in are familiar names in the public dialogue.
In 1970, a man named Karl Rove was head of the National College Republicans. In 1981, Grover Norquist took the reins. And in 1983, it was Ralph Reed.
Progressive forces have not matched the growing presence of the Right on campuses--and it is critical that we do so. It's not a matter of starting from scratch, but of catalyzing and supporting the untapped potential of young progressive leaders and sustaining their connection to and increasing their roles within the progressive movement.
It has become imperative to focus our attention on leadership development as a critical issue in the larger effort of strengthening the progressive movement.
Scaling up nascent leadership development programs is central to addressing the changing ideological shifts of young people, the lack of effective opportunities to reach young people and the need to build a sustainable, long-term progressive leadership pipeline within a current climate of shrinking resources.