The Blueprint For A Progressive Conspiracy

The Blueprint For A Progressive Conspiracy

Erica Payne and Her Effort to Destroy The Republican Party

From Wikipedia: Erica C. Payne is an American public policy expert, commentator, author and strategist.

She is the founder of the Agenda Project, a New York‐based hub of public policy discussion and strategy debate for progressive activists from business, media, philanthropy, government, and non‐profit. The Agenda Project’s monthly newsletter Practical Progress is read by 10,000 political and philanthropic leaders and is a trusted source of insight on policy and politics.

She is on the Board of Advisors of the Public Diplomacy Collaborative at the Kennedy School at Harvard University. 

Payne has a MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (2000) and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1991).

The Blueprint For A Progressive Conspiracy

In addition to the Agenda Project, Payne is also the founder of the Tesseract Group, a boutique consulting firm that provides strategy and communications expertise to select public policy and political organizations. Past Tesseract clients include: the Brennan Center for Justice at NYURoosevelt InstituteCitizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washingtonthe Center for Independent Media, the Howard Gilman Foundation, and America Votes. 

Prior to founding the Agenda Project and the Tesseract Group, Payne co-founded the Democracy Alliance, a donor collaborative whose partners have invested over $100 million in progressive organizations. 

Her early career included serving as Deputy National Finance Director for the Democratic National Committee during the 1996 presidential re-election campaign and as a consultant to a number of campaigns and political organizations. In addition to her public sector work, Payne has held senior marketing positions in the private sector. 

Payne is the author of The Practical Progressive: How to Build a 21st Century Political Movement, which Jonathan Alter of Newsweek called “a blueprint for a progressive conspiracy to help save the country.” She was interviewed in 2008 by Julian Brookes, the online director of the Progressive Book Club, to discuss her motivations for the book and the Progressive cause, Payne stated that her intention was to map out the Progressive infrastructure by asking the question: “If you were a chief progressive strategist, what five or six groups would you say are absolutely essential?”  Payne continues her work of the Practical Progressive through the Agenda Project. 

President Obama Failed to Cater to His Base

With her sights firmly set on the destruction of Republicans, and despite being aligned with hundreds of Progressive groups, her efforts turned to mocking and marginalizing The Tea Party.

The Agenda Project’s stated goal is to “return normal Americans to the center of the policy debate by cultivating an understanding of public policy, facilitating common action, and connecting the best ideas and the strongest leaders with engaged citizens, elected officials, the media, political insiders, and experts through a variety of in-person and on-line platforms.” The Agenda Project is responsible for progressive campaigns such as F*ck TeaHate Begets HateVote Sanity, and Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a petition to President Barack Obama from millionaires, who demand that the President let the Bush [tax cuts expire for those who make $1 million or more, where Payne commented that “Only 375,000 Americans have income over $1 million” and “You’re asking a small number of people to recognize that our country is in part responsible for their prosperity.”

Most recently, their criticism of President Obama for speaking to the Chamber of Commerce, called You Deserve To Know, was highlighted by a variety of news sources, including Fox News and CBS, and featured Payne’s commentary accusing the President for lying to the American people, and failing to cater to his base.

With that hate filled rhetoric used by Erica Payne and her groups, she has attacked the Tea Party arguing they are a growing threat to American tolerance.

Since Payne is the President of the Agenda Project, she is often interviewed by major news networks explaining the organization’s recent campaigns. In reaction to the controversial “F*ck Tea” Campaign, Payne was seen on CBS defending the aggressive nature of the campaign. She has been featured in the New York Times and the Washington Post for her attack on President Obama’s decision to speak to the Chamber of Commerce. When asked about it directly by USA Today, Payne replied: The Chamber claims to speak for American business, but half of the Chamber’s budget is paid for by 45 big corporations. The President is well aware that the Chamber is in actuality just a high priced lobbyist for a small number of corporations. I hardly think the President will restore our faith in government by fawning over the banks at the center of the financial crisis, oil companies like BP who destroyed the Gulf and insurance companies who secretly funneled $10 million through the Chamber to fight insurance reform.


The left is unpopular, undisciplined, and ill-tempered.

AUG 23, 2010, VOL. 15, NO. 46 • BY WILLIAM KRISTOL

The left has collapsed.

Its political support has collapsed. Public opinion polls point to a historic repudiation of the president and the Democratic party this fall—something on the order of a 60-seat Republican gain in the House. The GOP has an outside shot at taking the Senate as well.

Its claim to intellectual integrity has collapsed. Paul Krugman—Ivy League professor, New York Times columnist, and Nobel laureate (the holy trinity of the liberal establishment)—has humiliated himself with a startlingly dishonest attack on Paul Ryan’s budget proposal. Krugman, called out by Ryan, rebuked by honest analysts, and unwilling to concede his errors, has retreated into uncharacteristic abashed silence.

Its Leninist discipline has collapsed. Last week, White House press secretary Robert Gibbs complained about the craziness of the “professional left” in the punditocracy. “Those people ought to be drug tested,” Gibbs explained. “They will be satisfied when we have Canadian health care and we’ve eliminated the Pentagon. That’s not reality. .  .  . They wouldn’t be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president.” Members of the professional left hit back at Gibbs, dubbing the Obama White House the “amateur left.”

Its democratic credibility has collapsed. In recent weeks, the left has the arbitrary rulings and sophistic arguments of federal judges who have overturned an immigration statute that mirrors federal law passed by the state legislature in Arizona, and a constitutional amendment, defining marriage as it has been defined for all of American history, enacted by the citizens of California. The left has also heaped praise on New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, as he, having bought his way to a narrow reelection, showered disdain and contempt on the majority of his fellow New Yorkers who object to a mosque next to Ground Zero.

And its good humor (such as it was) has collapsed. As Politico’s Ben Smith reported last week,

the Agenda Project, a new, progressive group with roots in New York’s fundraising scene and a goal of strengthening the progressive movement, has launched the “F*ck Tea” project, which is aimed, the group’s founder Erica Payne wrote in an e-mail this morning, “to dismiss the Tea Party and promote the progressive cause.”

“We will be launching new products in the next several months to help people all over the country F*ck Tea,” Payne told Politico.

Is Erica Payne a loony nobody? No, she’s a lefty somebody—a former Democratic National Committee official, a veteran of many progressive groups, and one of the founders of the Democracy Alliance, the group of big donors who have spent over $100 million to fund “progressive” organizations like the Center for American Progress.

Payne says she launched her effort to push back against “the rhetoric over results paradigm that is holding our country hostage.” She wasn’t being ironic. As the estimable Allahpundit commented, “Because, you see, if there’s any movement that’s about results over rhetoric, it’s clearly the f*ck tea movement.”

The “f*ck tea” movement—that’s what the left has come to. They can’t defend the results of Obama’s policies or the validity of Krugman’s arguments. They know it’s hard to sustain an antidemocratic ethos in a democracy. They realize they’ve degenerated into pro-am levels of whining and squabbling. So they curse their opponents.

There’s a familiar saying that, despite its religious origins, has usually been associated, presumably because of its odor of condescension and smarminess, with the modern left: Better to light a candle than curse the darkness.

Especially if you’re not cursing darkness, but rather your fellow citizens. In a recent poll of likely voters, 54 percent strongly or somewhat supported the Tea Party movement, with 38 percent strongly or somewhat opposed. In another poll, of all adults, the movement did have a slightly negative image (30 percent positive, 34 negative)—but it was considerably better than the image of either the Democratic or Republican party.

So, those of us from the pro-Tea Party wing (dare I say the pro-American wing?) of the American public need not respond to the left in kind. We choose the high road. We choose—yes—to light a candle! We choose to ignore the left’s sad vulgarity. We choose cheerful doggerel. We say to Erica Payne and Robert Gibbs and Paul Krugman:

When you’re feeling sad & blue

And have no clue what to do  Sit down and have a cup of tea  And a hug or two or maybe three.  Feel those troubles melt away And start you on a better day. That better day will dawn on November 2, 2010.

—William Kristol

The Agenda Project Action Fund’s actually brief briefings on the Most Important News from the Progressive Movement.

REPUBLICAN CUTS KILL – The Agenda Project Action Fund (AP Action) released “Republican Cuts Kill” on Monday–a multi-pronged blitzkrieg attack ad that implicates GOP budget cuts for the Ebola crisis. Daily Kos says: “..the toughest political attack ad in memory” … The Young Turks says: “Damn…that was a really aggressive ad” … AP Action President and Founder Erica Payne tells PP: “Republicans have run for 40 years on cutting government. It’s about time people understood the downside of their reckless fanaticism”

Ad campaigns that originated from the Agenda Project include the ad depicting Paul Ryan ‘pushing granny off the cliff’ and the recent, Republican Cuts Kill. Both ads controversial and extremely misleading to the point of getting 4 Pinocchios from the Washington Post.

Organizations: The progressive “movement” involves millions of people and thousands of organizations.

21st Century Democrats Advancement Project Agenda Project Alliance for Justice America Votes American Bridge ACLU American Constitution Society Americans for Campaign Reform Americans for Financial Reform Asian American Legal Atlas Project Auburn Seminary Better Markets Brave New Films Brennan Center for JusticeBus Project Business for Shared Prosperity Campaign for Americas Future Catalist Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good Center for American Progress Center for Budget and Policy Priorities Center for Economic and Policy Research Center for Effective Government (formally OMB Watch) Center for Popular Democracy Center for Reproductive Rights Citizens Engagement Lab Center for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) Citizens for Tax Justice  Color of Change Common Cause Congressional Progressive Caucus Constitutional Accountability Center  Council of Urban Professionals Courage Campaign Democracy for America Democracy: A Journal Democratic GAIN Demos Economic Policy Institute Emilys List Fair Vote Faith in Public Life Free Press Higher Heights Human Rights Campaign Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Leadership Center for the Common Good Leadership Conference on Civil Rights  League of Conservation Voters League of Young Voters Human Rights First Human Rights WatchMedia Matters for America Minnesota 2020 MomsRising MoveOn NAACP NARAL National People’s Action Natural Resources Defense Council Netroots Nation New Bottom Line New Leaders Council New Organizing Institute  National Security Network The Nation Institute Open Congress Opportunity Agenda The Other 98% People for the American Way PICO Network Planned Parenthood Presente Progressive Congress Progressive Majority Progress Now Project Vote Public Campaign Rebuild the Dream Roosevelt Institute  Sierra Club Sojourners Southern Poverty Law Center Strengthen Social Security Sunlight Foundation Truman National Security Project United for a Fair Economy United Republic US Action Verified Voting Vote Vets Voter Participation Center  Wealth for the Common Good Wellstone Action Working America

Each of these organizations has a ‘progressive’ agenda, one of which is to destroy the Tea Party and to make the Koch Brothers the boogey man… and so far it has worked.

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