An excellent piece by AT News Editor Ed Lasky in Pajamas Media today about the changing role of liberal think tanks in Washington and how the Obama administration is using them to circumvent lobbying restrictions.
In the last few months, we have seen shifts in the balance of power in Washington. Thinks tanks, such as the Center for American Progress, have become even more powerful than in the past with the advent of Barack Obama as president.
But we are about to see this dynamic turbocharged in the days ahead. Think tanks will be showered with money - partly as a way to avoid restrictions on "lobbying" and the sometimes embarrassing revelations that stem from lobbying scandals in the past. Think tanks will become the go-to place for those wishing to influence policy under the guise of providing "research" to decision-makers. There has been this political phenomenon before, but we are just beginning to see a wave that will transform think tanks.
There is an aphorism that Jews are the canaries in the coal mine, that what happens to them often presages what eventually happens to the wider community. We may be seeing a real-world example of this play out before our eyes.
However one may feel about the America-Israel relationship, what is happening on that front in Washington has lessons for us all. Prominent and powerful people are focusing on how to weaken America-Israel ties as a step towards pressuring Israel. One step in the plan is to create a lobby, J Street, to challenge the long-established American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC).
Ed draws a straight line from the White House to such groups as the Center for American Progress (whose fellows have populated many departments at the White House), the Israel Policy Forum (who may merge with CAP in the near future), and the International Crisis Group - another Soros financed venture - that has taken a prominent role in "research" on the Iraq War.
The tie that binds all of these groups and more is that they are beginning to emerge from a purely academic research mode to a more active policy promoting stance - lobbying. As Ed points out, this is a sea change in Washington and power will inevitably flow to these pro-Obama, anti-Israel groups.
Read the whole article for some really excellent insights into this phenomenon.