06/27/2006 11:30 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Building Democracy

For years, I have had a big concern that has animated much of my work: that progressives -- who did so much to build America over the course of our history -- needed new ideas and new approaches to respond to the way the world works in the 20th century. I wrote a book about the subject. I pushed for some new thinking on the Kerry campaign. I even blogged about it on the Huffington Post. But in the spring of last year, in the aftermath of the 2004 debacle, I decided that worrying and prodding wasn't enough. I decided to do something about it.

Together with Ken Baer, I began looking at how it was that conservatives created a series of ideas over a generation with which they were able to reshape our politics and our country.

The answer isn't that they cooked them up in a focus group or figured out what polled best or came up with some bumper sticker slogans. They thought deeply about what they believed, argued vigorously and honestly with one another, and proposed some bold ideas. To allow them to do this, they started a series of journals such The Public Interest, The National Interest, Commentary, and others. It was these journals that created the neoconservative ideology as well as ideas such as supply-side economics, Social Security privatization, faith-based social policy, and the doctrine of preemption.

But one of the big problems for progressives was that we had nothing like these on our side. No place that would put out long, carefully researched, well-thought-out progressive thinking that bravely departed from the status quo. Think tanks are important but different. So are magazines like The American Prospect or The Nation. So are blogs.

So that's why last week we launched and released the first issue of Democracy: A Journal of Ideas. Four times a year, we will publish cutting-edge thinking on major issues. We aren't looking for political punditry or figuring out what swing voters Democrats need and then working backwards to decide what we believe. We are looking for the breakthrough ideas that will reshape our political landscape -- and our Editorial Committee and authors come from across the progressive spectrum.

In this moment, when we are seeing the failure of conservative ideas -- in our mounting budget deficits, growing inequality, and diminished leadership in the world -- it is time for progressives to put forward their own bold vision to guide America through the challenges of the twenty-first century. We hope Democracy can serve as a place where progressives from across the spectrum can develop new approaches to the central domestic and foreign policy challenges of our time and have serious and substantive discussions about what progressives believe and want for the nation.

Already, we've received praise and press coverage from all over America. Maureen Dowd responded to our launch with a column about how big ideas can be dangerous. We think they're critical to building an America for the 21st century.

So check Democracy out. Let me know what you think. And join the conversation. America's future depends on it.