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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Rattling the Cup For a Good Cause

I have no idea how many of the readers of this site also read The Washington Monthly magazine, or at least read the blog they sponsor, Kevin Drum”s Political Animal. But they are both special to me
During my first interview for a Washington political job back in the late 1980s, I was asked to define myself ideologically, and replied that I was a “Washington Monthly Neo-Liberal.” My interviewer looked at me as though I had just identified myself with the Rosicrusians or something, but the term did mean something. The Monthly was known as a very effective incubator of young journalistic talent (just look at the alumni list represented by their Contributing Editors, whose current output is continuously displayed on the left side of the magazine’s site), and also as the seedbed of an ideas-based reform movement in the Democratic Party that combined cultural liberalism with a healthy disrespect for the totems of the New Deal programmatic legacy, and a particular focus on civic engagement and government reform. If Gary Hart’s seminal 1984 presidential campaign, which came up a couple of states short of winning the Democratic nomination, had any real home, it was The Monthly.
More recently, under the editorship of Paul Glastris, the Monthly has continued its tradition of attracting good young talent, who have produced some truly important in-depth articles on the underpinnings of the politics of the new century (e.g., Nick Confessore’s definitive analysis of the K Street Project). And I’m very proud that I’ve gotten to do some work for the magazine, on subjects ranging from William Jennings Bryan to Ralph Reed.
And in Kevin Drum, the Monthly is sponsoring one of the best, and definitely one of the most intellectually rigorous, progressive bloggers.
Throughout most of its history, like most political magazines, the Monthly has struggled financially, and that’s why Kevin’s encouraging direct contributions to keep Political Animal alive.
Maybe Paul Glastris’ appearance earlier this week on the Colbert Report will get the nickel and dimes flowing, but I encourage everyone to dig under the sofa cushions and pitch in. The Monthly is one of the few Washington institutions that is never arrogant or conventional, and is always underappreciated.

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