The quiet Soros-funded ground game

John Fund writes today about an extensive project on the Left to transform politics on a local and state level.  The project, Democracy Alliance, was founded by George Soros in 2005 and has raised over $100 million in donations since then.  The project intends to extend progressivism throughout formerly conservative areas in order to prepare the ground for national elections — and they’re off to a pretty good head start:

Offshoots of leading liberal national groups were set up including Colorado Media Matters in 2006, to correct “conservative misinformation” in the media. Ethics Watch, a group modeled after Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, was started and proceeded to file a flurry of complaints over alleged campaign finance violations — while refusing to name its own donors.

Western Progress, a think tank to advance “progressive solutions,” opened its doors as did the Colorado Fiscal Policy Institute, one of 29 such groups around the country. Then there’s Colorado Confidential, a project of The Center for Independent Media, which subsidized liberal bloggers. CIM has set up similar ventures in Iowa, Minnesota and Michigan, with funding from groups such as the Service Employees International Union, and George Soros’s Open Society Institute.

On the electoral front, Progressive Majority Colorado has set up seven offices with the goal of “recruiting progressive leaders” as candidates. America Votes-Colorado promises to coordinate the largest voter mobilization effort in the state’s history. “All of this activity has flown under the radar,” says Ed Morrissey of the conservative blog Captain’s Quarters. “But efforts to change the political ground game may have real long-term consequences.”

More audaciously, in Michigan, signatures have been filed to put a sweeping reorganization of state government on this November’s ballot. The measure, pushed by a group called “Reform Michigan Government Now,” contains at least 36 distinct provisions that take up a dozen pages of fine type. “It’s a Trojan Horse dressed up as My Friend Flicka,” says Lawrence Reed, president of the conservative Mackinac Center.

I’ll have to get John to update his Rolodex, but I’m happy to note that I made a small contribution to this reporting.

John does an excellent job in setting out the challenge to conservatives.  When the DA was first set up, Barack Obama was just getting his desk in order in the Senate, but the timing could hardly have been more propitious for a progressive army of activists.  In fact, it may explain how Obama managed to dethrone Hillary Clinton in the primaries.  Soros’ ground game had to have an effect on Obama’s fundraising and popularity, and in a cycle in which Obama barely prevailed, it may have made all the difference.

However, that comes at a price.  Now that Obama has thrown the Left under the bus on FISA reform, public financing, and the death penalty, that ground army of activists may have a lot less enthusiasm for the rookie Senator.   It won’t turn on him entirely, but it may generate less money and a lot fewer volunteer hours than it did in the primary cycle.

As Fund notes, this is about more than just 2008’s presidential election.  This is an attempt at a generational change in political direction.  The Right had better wake up to this threat and act accordingly.