08/17/2006 11:30 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Camelot 2 Is Coming: K Street Money Moves

The front page of the Washington Post reports
that in anticipation of Democrats winning at
least one House of Congress, there is now a
major movement of corporate and lobbying
money away to Democrats. Trust me, it's true.
I have begun to regularly get calls from firms
looking for places and projects to put money
ahead of the changes coming to Washington.

From today through the election, this trend will
continue and if Democrats regain either the
House or Senate, it will skyrocket through the
roof. For everyone who reads these words
there are new and exciting opportunities to
do well, and do good, and have impact.

From now through 2008, Camelot 2 is coming;
let me explain exactly what this means, which
is far more powerful than the Post story about
lobbying firms looking for Democrats to hire,
which is true but only 10% of the story.

What has happened in American politics over
the last six years will be remembered by future
historians as a political dark age of disunity and
far too often disgrace. We are not a nation that
spends its time doing Abu Ghraibs, demeaning
political opponents as traitors, and destroying
our public life with petty and larger corruptions
that have become a way of life.

What has happened over six years is without
precedent in our political history in some very
important ways. And what has happened to
the flow of money takes the petty corruptions
of the past to monumental new levels that
have so offended the American people that
big changes are coming.

In Washington, corruption was institutionalized
through what was known as the K Street project
invented by Tom Delay, in which Republicans
were hired, and money was recycled between
ultraconservative or corrupt donors, lobbyists
and the politicians they supported.

The Post only reports what I have been seeing
for two months now: this aberrant way of life
in Washington is unravelling. But it goes much
further: what has begun is a shift in corporate
money, project money, public affairs money,
entertainment money and new media money that will soon realize
opportunities that are
even minimally understood by either the
mainstream, the new media or the blogosphere.

Once upon a time in America, there was a
Camelot in Washington. JFK and his forces
for change were not perfect, but they truly
embodied a spirit of public service, idealism
and social commitment. People came to our
capital to change the world, to have impact,
to lift spirits. From academia to entertainment,
from war hero veterans to civil right believers,
there was a new spirit, a new tempo, a new
idealism as JFK assumed office. It was real,
it was true, it happened, and with the cycles
of American history, it will happen again.

For every action, there is reaction, and now,
for us, it has begun. We have already seen
the movement in Hollywood to motion pictures
with larger and more profound themes.

We have seen the birth of Air America, a beachhead in progressive radio
that now has a unique opportunity which if tapped can change the world,
and tapped or untapped will soon lead to new Air Americas.

While fossilized cable television continues its
obsession with the snide and sensational, and
now champions along with network news the
psychology of fear, news alternatives have
established their own beachhead from the
blogosphere to high definition television.

Remember: when Murrow formed the Murrow
Boys in the 1930's, even radio was virtually
nowhere. There were a handful of large ego
commentators on large stodgy networks. At
first, when Ed Murrow and Bill Shirer began
reporting about the rise of Hitler in Europe,
they could not even get themselves on the air.
At first, Murrow and Shirer were little more than
booking agents for fossilized conglomerates
of ancient media radio.

Suddenly, as Hitler took Austria, the changes
that would sweep the world would sweep the
radio business. Suddenly Murrow and Shirer
were on the air live reporting history. Then they
were on the air with continental broadcasts
originating in both London and Vienna. Then
they were live in London with bombs bursting
over their heads, then landing at Normandy
with Eisenhower's troops, then expanding their
numbers until the Murrow boys ranks grew to
include the media superstars with household
names such as Eric Severeid, Howard K. Smith, Richard C. Hottelet, and
Collingwood to name just a few of many.

Murrow's Boys electrified radio and then
revolutionized media. Like a rocket on
autopilot they moved from outcasts at
fossilized old media of their times to stars
in new media. From live radio to the golden
age of television; from wartime reports to the
crown jewel of CBS Network News; from
being outcasts in early radio to high quality
news that made billions for its corporate

This trail of media and technology follows the movement of history,
which creates the movement of money, which answers the
needs of consumers, which also gave birth to
the network genius of 60 Minutes and the
cable genius of Ted Turner challenging old
media by creating CNN.

I have been arguing for the last year, here and
elsewhere, in public writings and private talks
about business, that we have entered another
such era of epochal change. The Washington
Post story now makes it conventional wisdom
that even in the most fossilized conservative
bastion of corporate lobbying, big money has
begun to move.

Money has moved to quality and credibility:
it is important that Al Gore attracts capital to
his company Generation Investments that
manages socially conscious investment; then
has powerful and dramatic impact with his
documentary Inconvenient Truth that truly
moved forward the politics and debate that
surrounds global warming.

Money has moved: it is wonderful that PBS
pays tribute to Walter Cronkite and that CBS
will soon broadcast a special tribute to Dan
Rather. Both have earned it; both stood for
the crown jewel of the crown jewel: what
networks news can be, at its best. What
is even more interesting is that now Rather
has major financial support from Mark Cuban.

If Dan Rather has the vision to see what is
happening, the wisdom to see where his true
audience lies and courage to take Murrowism
to the new media, we may soon witness an
inflection point as historically important to
media as the Murrow-Shirer broadcasts in
the 1930's.

What the Washington Post story says about
the movement of money in lobbying, the trend
of Hollywood money to high concept pictures,
the support of Mark Cuban for quality in media,
the early stages of new radio through Air America and probably other Air
will translate throughout the blogosphere.

Here is the revolution: what our current political
climate has done, is create huge new areas of
endeavor that reach huge numbers of people,
are in the last stages of being under-funded
because money has been tied up, bottled up
and held back by the negative and reactionary political climate.

Watch what happens when Prometheus is
Unbound. Watch what happens when new
money seriously funds new media; when high
quality internet news sources increase early
stage capital and evolve into the IPO"s of 2007
to 2008. Watch what happens when the talent
and ingenuity and creativity of those with huge
audiences, now excluded by the reactionary status quo, are invited to
the head of the table.

When I predict Camelot 2, what I mean is this:
a new politics that appeals to the best of our
nature; a new era of engagement between
Hollywood stars who care and their audiences
who care with them; the movement of money
into new areas of news, activism, public spirit
and idealism from motion pictures to lobbying,
from high def television to high quality blogs.

The Post story is interesting, because it tells
of money moving in the most reactionary world
of lobbying. But it doesn't scratch the surface
of what is already happening, beneath the radar
of fear and negativity on the news. There are
masses of voters who want better than the
political status quo; masses of audiences who
want higher quality entertainment and news;
masses of money which, like the stock market
anticipating the future economy, are staking
their claim on the future of our politics, society
and media because they have finally come
to know: the future is now.