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Friday, April 21, 2006 | 7:37 PM

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There have been a few academic studies that have come out from the left in recent weeks. The first, written by Stephen Walt and John Mearshimer, (see here), detailed how American foreign policy in the Middle East had been diverted away from our national interests by pro-Israel special-interest groups.

My reaction: How much are they paying these guys? Did we really need big-shot Harvard professors to tell us the obvious? The fact that so many people seem to think this is something new shows that we bloggers obviously haven't been doing our jobs.

Next, we have the Hamilton Project. The Brookings institution has launched a new unit, devoted to the belief that free markets are good, except when it comes to basic research, and to stress the need for bipartisan cooperation when it comes to... Well as you can see I didn't actually read far enough to find the point, but they assure me that whatever it is about, it's argued by the most qualified people. See here for an article on the study.

Finally, we have a study published by the American Prospect, which features a thesis statement:
Following the discussion of strengths and weaknesses, we assess the various progressive schools of thought for resolving the difficulties of building a progressive majority out of disparate blocs of voters. For analytical purposes, we categorize these schools as the politics of mobilization and the politics of inoculation. We believe that each approach has something to offer but, equally, that both fall short in some critical respects that are suggested by the analyses in this paper.

We conclude by offering our own thoughts for a new strategic direction, the politics of definition, a true third way to help grow the progressive base and appeal to those lacking ideological and partisan affinities by putting the common good at the core of a new political vision for America.
They promise to define the politics of mobilization, inoculation, and definition next Wednesday and Friday.

This study forms a happy medium between the other two: It tells us something we might not already know, but that we might actually care to know. If more people on the left paid attention to how they craft their message, instead of just what their message is, it would help us be more successful.

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