THE BLOG

ABC News: Progressive States Network "Positively Grover Norquistian" In Its Successful Iraq Campaign

02/17/2007 03:53 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

There has been much talk in progressive circles about the need to apply the smartest tactics of conservative movement leader Grover Norquist to the progressive movement. I myself have written about this in the past, saying that while we should of course reject Norquist's political ideology and his legally questionable behavior, we should nonetheless be smart enough to learn from what he has done. One of those lessons is the need to stop focusing exclusively on Congress and view state legislative arenas as a key battleground in building public support for a movement agenda. And as ABC News confirms, that's exactly what the Progressive States Network has been doing, to great success. If you like what you see in the extended entry, I ask that you support our fight right now.

Yes, that's right, following the New York Times' lead story in their national section yesterday, ABC News said the Progressive States Network's Anti-Escalation Campaign "has allowed progressives to become positively Grover Norquistian in their capacity to ram wedge issues through state legislatures in order to pressure Washington."

Let me be clear: ABC's characterization of the Progressive States Network may be offensive to tho political operatives and pundit navel-gazers who have often preached a less aggressive, more Washington-centric "can't we all get along" timidity in the face of the conservative steamroller. Additionally, it's not clear that ABC meant their characterization to be a compliment.

But rest assured that the legislators and progressive leaders who launched the Progressive States Network just a year ago (to at least some pro-status-quo naysaying on the progressive side) see this as the highest form of flattery. We make no apologies for having a take-no-prisoners attitude in pushing the progressive agenda. Nor do we make apologies for avoiding the celebrity-obsessed focus on the Washington Beltway and focusing specifically on supporting state legislators - the people who, because of their proximity to the public, are the most important day-to-day warriors in the progressive fight.

If you feel the same way - that we need a take-no-prisoners attitude and that we need to be focused far more on the states - then I encourage you to join our fight in any number of ways. First and foremost, you can become a contributor - a critical step as we are working hard to build a truly grassroots base of fundraising support. You can take action on our Anti-Escalation Campaign through our special website. You can subscribe to the Stateside Dispatch, which is sent out to legislators and activists each week, updating them on the ongoing fights and how to get involved. And you can come to our major gala on April 19th in Washington that coincides with the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting.

With both houses of Congress playing political games on issues from Iraq to ethics to economics, it's time to take the fight to the states as aggressively as conservatives like Norquist have been taking their fight to the states for the last two decades. I hope you will join us.