When Hillary Clinton told Keith Olbermann yesterday she believes in redemption when asked why she did not reject or denounce Richard Mellon Scaife’s recent endorsement, she showed the country she is a calculating politician but not necessarily a smart politician.
At about the same time yesterday, I read a listserve email from the Rockridge Institute that it would be closing its doors April 30, largely because of its failure to raise necessary funds to stay open. Rockridge is George Lakoff’s think tank for progressive cognitive science. For the past few years, it has endeavored to reframe the public debate away from its rightward spin and towards a more progressive way of perceiving the social world.
Rockridge endeavored to be part of a progressive alternative to the right wing spin machine that is now currently embedded in the mainstream press. Look no further than the Philadelphia debate moderators george Stephanopoulos and Charlie Gibson for an example. That right wing talking points have become engrained in the mainstream press is no surprise. It is the result of 30 years of conservative policy centers and think tanks influencing the way the american public thinks about politics, and the way the media and government creates priorities for american politics.
Perhaps more than anything else, this right wing infrastructure is the result of Richard Mellon Scaife’s philanthropy, which is in no small part responsible for the mushroom cloud of right wing institutions in the 1970s and 80s: Heritage Fundation, Hoover, American Enterprise and Cato.
Were Hillary a smart politician, whe would have laid claim to her own political redemption and used her moment on Olbermann to challenge progressive backers to build for the left, what Mellon Scaife so effectively developed for the right.