01/04/2007 03:39 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

A Governing Progressive Majority....

I often write about the decay of our legislature through the deliberate neglect and outright destruction of institutional memory and capacity to organize around new ideas....The new Congress promises to reverse this trend.

Over the next few days, the Congressional Progressive Caucus will be recruiting new Members...and especially working to attract their newly elected colleagues. The CPC has 64 Members currently. It will make a dramatic difference to these recently elected Representatives if the suggestion to join comes from their own constituents. The time to make your voice heard is now!

The CPC exists to project the collective voice of progressives in the House on the issues of global peace and security, civil liberties and domestic priorities, and intends to offer clear, positive policy alternatives.

One thing I learned from working on Capitol Hill is that lip service is worth nothing. There is no such thing as the word "should" on Capitol Hill. Political capital either exists....or it does not. Political capital is like a bank account, and Members get a large balance when they take risks sucessfully, have supportive constituents and repeatedly lead the curve on exiting new ideas. All of these items depend on a large public audience that stands behind progressive leadership. The other thing I learned on the Hill is that there is a huge difference between values and priorities. At their most cynical, values are just PR blather that never make it onto the legislative agenda. Values can also be good intentions that never get realized because of time constraints or shallow support. In order to realize progressive values, they must become actual priorities with loyal advocates.... and written into law and reflected in budgets. This is why we need to stand with organizations like the Congressional Progressive Caucus. The more support they get from the outside, the more attention they'll get on the inside.