The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of the Democrats' Desperate Fight to Reclaim Power Paperback – Jan 24 2006
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From Publishers Weekly
Democrats raised an unprecedented level of funds in their attempt to elect John Kerry to the White House, and not just through contributing to directly to Kerry's campaign. Led by George Soros and his multimillion-dollar donations, money flowed to liberal groups like MoveOn that tried to push hard on President Bush's record. They failed, York argues, because rather than bringing new voters into the party, the activists perpetuated "closed loops" that preached solely to the choir. When such emotionally zealous activists made their way into Democratic inner circles, their scorn for anyone who held opposing points of view, York contends, may well have hurt efforts to reach out to swing voters. A detailed financial breakdown takes aim at the hype surrounding Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 9/11, demonstrating its failure to reach significant audiences outside the bluest parts of the blue states. York, the White House correspondent for the National Review, hits the Democrats particularly hard on allegations that they tried to skirt campaign finance laws by blurring-perhaps even crossing-the lines between the presidential campaign and issue advocacy groups prohibited from endorsing candidates. He largely refrains from taunting the liberals for their electoral failures, making his analysis of the flaws in the left-wing's self-insulated power structure valuable to readers on either side of the political fence.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Although the Left was unable to unseat President Bush in the last election, it was hugely successful at building the foundation for stronger institutions and platforms in the future, according to York, White House correspondent for National Review. York details how the Left--angry and frustrated by Clinton's impeachment proceedings and the hotly contested 2000 election--mounted a campaign that tapped innovative ideas from movies and Web sites as fund-raising tools. With supporters from MoveOn.com, filmmaker Michael Moore, comedian Al Franken, and billionaire George Soros, the Left has bypassed political parties to reach voters and launch a counterattack against what they see as the evils of the Right. York offers a behind-the-scenes look at the birth of MoveOn; the rising use of "527" organizations, which have evaded campaign-reform laws; and a host of figures and events that promise growing strength for the Left as it prepares for future elections. Political junkies will love this fascinating look at how the Left is regrouping. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
Another failed tactic was the Michael Moore mockumentary Fahrenheit 9/11. York examines the income it generated and comes to the conclusion that it had high attendance figures only in the liberal urban areas. In the rest of the country it was a monumental flop. Its rival at the time, The Passion Of The Christ, was far more successful and will stand the test of time. And then there was Talk Radio. By now everybody knows that the leftist Air America has gone belly up. It has disappeared off the radar even in places like New York City.
The people behind this cultish coalition includes eccentric billionaires like George Soros, hosts of Democratic Party operatives and politicians, groups like MoveOn and America Coming Together, academics, Hollywood celebrities and think tanks like The Center for American Progress. Of course, they had no clear policies or original ideas. A trenchant quote from a disillusioned activist sums it up: "Just getting larger amplifiers doesn't make the music any better." Exactly!
York tries to make sense out of Soros' behaviour from many interesting angles. Ultimately the weirdo billionaire gave away $27 million for nothing.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Byron York's "The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" is a detailed political analysis of the Left's unprecedented organization in the 2004 election. The most committed elements of the American Left came together like never before to defeat George W. Bush. Independent activists like George Soros, Michael Moore, MoveOn.org, America Coming Together, Air America, and the Center for American Progress emerged and circumvented the traditional party structure in order to ensure Bush's defeat.
In spite of the money and effort poured into the cause, Bush, of course, won the race by 3 percent. York's diagnosis is that the new players -- MoveOn, ACT, etc. -- essentially were preaching to the choir, while the whole time thinking they were forging a broad, national, anti-Bush consensus.
Drawing from interviews with key operatives, York documents the inside story of the 527s and other new groups that emerged in 2004. He demonstrates how MoveOn.org grew from an idea into a powerhouse of the Left; how America Coming Together grew out of MoveOn; how George Soros became interested, got involved, and legitimated MoveOn and ACT; and how these fringe groups found themselves at the center of the Democrats' run for the presidency. He also documents how these groups stretched the campaign finance law that they had so vigorously supported.
But the scary part is this: York, a columnist for National Review, notes that in the wake of conservative icon Barry Goldwater's landslide defeat to Lyndon Johnson, conservatives took decades to build the institutions of the conservative movement that we know and love today (a network of think tanks, grassroots issue-based groups, talk radio shows, etc.). Now, the 2004 election could be for liberals what that 1964 election was for conservatives: a turning point. But conservatives took decades to overcome the Democratic majority (at least in Congress). Conservatives today don't have that big a majority and the Dems are nevertheless organizing to re-establish a sizeable political majority of their own. Just today (8/7/05), there was a Washington Post story about rich liberals pouring money into creating new "progressive" think tanks.
"The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy" is a warning for conservatives, one which they would be wise to take seriously.
This is an excellent non-polemical book that sets out the steps taken by the left to unseat Bush. I watched from Canada and monthly visits to the US (business) and the book accurately reflects what was going on (rightly or wrongly) at the time.
It describes how a loose linkage of the media, Hollywood, pop stars, MoveOn.org (Soros), academia, Kerry spinmeisters and the intelligentsia on the left and right coasts self organized to bring down Bush and the GOP.
It is a good read and ties together many of the disparate threads into a reasonably accurate picture. Perhaps the book can be faulted - hence only 4 stars - because there certainly was strident activity on the right too. Limbaugh, Hannity and O'Reilly, of course, doing their thing although not with the power of the mainstream media and Hollywood behind them.
For me the interesting theme he points out is the self organizing nature of the endeavour driven by an almost irrational loathing of Bush. Recall many Hollywood gliterrati threatening to move to Canada if Bush was elected.
I'm editorializing here - but it does seem strange that some reviewers - notably one from the UK - use this site as a platform for gross anti-US, anti-Bush remarks rather than taking the time to actually critique the book in question.
This isn't one of them.
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