Let it never be said that we can't learn from our adversaries. Newt Gingrich may be a reactionary troll, but he did bring some changes to the national political equation that can benefit either side if properly employed.
When it comes to organization and motivating, Conservative Republicans have long been far superior to Progressive Democrats. Thankfully, that appears to be changing. The Democratic Party finally seems to be realizing that change cannot be enforced from the top down. In order to be effective and long-lasting, change must begin at the grass-roots level.
The Progressive Majority? It may be closer to being a reality than any of us could hope for.
WASHINGTON - More than two decades ago, conservative visionary Newt Gingrich set out a strategy that helped Republicans win control of Congress, a majority of the state legislative houses and most of the governorships.
Now, some liberals are using the methods of the former house speaker to lay the foundation for what they hope will be a Democratic comeback.
In one of the best organized of these efforts, a small but optimistic group named Progressive Majority has already begun coaching 93 left-of-center state and local candidates on how to win elections.
The goal is to build a "farm team" of progressive Democrats to change the party and eventually the country, said executive director Gloria Totten, a seasoned political organizer from the abortion-rights movement.
"The majority of people agree with us on the issues that we promote," said Totten, who cites polls showing most Americans to be for abortion rights, against out-sourcing of jobs, for clean air and water, and for helping public schools....
Republican conservatives...have out-organized her side, she said. "They're certainly more vocal many times than we are. They have more foot soldiers."
Even the name of her project, PROPAC, echoes the conservative Republican group, GOPAC, which Gingrich energized when he was still a backbencher from Georgia.
Gingrich's GOPAC put together motivational tapes for candidates to hear as they drove around their districts. PROPAC plans to distribute videos and audio tapes, complete with famous speeches from civil rights and Democratic leaders....
It's a step in the right direction, and it's nice to see Democrats beginning to realize that there are lessons to be learned from the successes of Conservative Republicans. I've always believed that, in the final analysis, most Americans do share more Democratic values that Republican. Where Democrats have gone wrong is in allowing Republicans to frame the debate to their advantage. When we learn to fight Republicans on their turf and on their terms, I believe that Americans will recognize the Republican Party for the hollow ideological shell that it is. It's not pretty, and it's not the way I've always believed that political debate should be conducted, but such is the way the game is played today. Adapt or die.