I’m in Minneapolis this weekend for Netroots Nation, a conference for progressive online activists. One of the most moving aspects for me is the sheer amount of personal capital in the convention hall. People leave their families, draw down their precious few vacation days, and invest hundreds of dollars to make the trip. That 2,200 people are here in Minneapolis is a testament to the passion of the progressive movement.
But in the battle of Progressives vs. Polluters, all that personal capital is up against massive amounts of polluter capital. AFP, founded & funded by the billionaire Koch Brothers, invested some of that capital this week in bankrolling RightOnline, which shadows Netroots each year.
Check out AFP’s email to supporters offering subsidized trips, which begins like a used car ad – “We have a great deal for YOU”:
From: Americans for Prosperity Foundation
Sent: Saturday, June 11, 2011 11:02 AM
Subject: Get on the Bus to RightOnline, Only $49
We have a great deal for YOU and our shared Conservative Values.
You can attend the RightOnline conference in Minneapolis, MN- and WE WILL DRIVE YOU THERE!
Our RightOnline conference will be held at the same time and in the same city as the left-wing NetRoots Nation convention.
We want to show them who truly represents America’s values – and to teach people like you the most effective online advocacy practices around.
We have buses lined up in Wisconsin to bring activists like you to Minneapolis June 17-18. Overnight packages including transportation and lodging and start at just $49 per person by using the code “doublebus” and “quadbus.” Click Here to Register.
Buses are picking up from:
Eau Claire, Green Bay, Kenosha, Milwaukee, Rancine, Waukesha, and Wausau!
Governor Tim Pawlenty, Michelle Malkin, Andrew Breitbart, Senator Mike Lee, Reps. Michele Bachmann, Marsha Blackburn, John Kline and Thad McCotter, businessman Herman Cain, and many more will be there.
JOIN US JUNE 17-18 – AND LET US DO THE DRIVING
Doesn’t seem like many people took AFP up on their offer – Right-Online is notoriously poorly attended & a “Right Meets Left” happy hour inviting both NN & RO folks was at least 90% progressives.
But polluters have a long history of flooding groups like AFP with cash (annual budget: $40 million) to fund phony grassroots tactics, from busing in oil workers at rallies to forging letters from veterans groups. How do progressives combat that kind of buying power?
On Saturday at 1:30pm at Netroots Nation, I’ll be moderating a panel talking about the best ways to fight back against just one angle of what I just heard Rep. Keith Ellison calls the GOP’s attempted “dismantling of the social compact.” How do progressives defend against a seemingly endless wave of attacks on the Clean Air Act & Clean Water Act?
Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD), Green for All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins & Grist’s David Roberts will take on the topic. And with Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO) voting the wrong way, we won’t spare Democrats, either.