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Is there a more boring organization in America than the corporate-sponsored Bipartisan Policy Center, which is hosting big ticket events to both the Democratic and Republican conventions?
The Center was “created to develop substance based, bipartisan solutions to tackle some of the nation’s most pressing policy challenges through constructive argument and principled compromise.” Its board includes Norman Augustine, the retired CEO of Lockheed Martin, John Rowe, Chairman of Exelon Corporation, a few harmless environmentalists and a quartet of awful former senate majority leaders: Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Tom Daschle and Howard Baker. All of the former senators have worked as lobbyists or advisers to major lobbying firms.
In other words, the Bipartisan Policy Center is David Border’s wettest dream and a radical proponent of the status quo.
Where does the Bipartisan Policy Center get all of its fresh ideas? Well, on defense matters it turns to Admiral Gregory Johnson, who after retiring in 2004 founded Snow Ridge Associates, which “provides strategic advice and counsel.” Johnson also sits on the board of Integrian, a surveillance technology company, and is an outside director of CACI International.
The Center’s other major defense adviser is retired Air Force General Ronald Keys. While at the Air Force Keys was a major supporter of Lockheed’s boondoggle F-22 fighter program but he is best known for the 2007 incident in which “personnel under his command mistakenly and without authorization transported six live nuclear warheads from Minot Air Force Base to Barksdale Air Force Base in the 2007 United States Air Force nuclear weapons incident. The event was the first recorded mishandling of nuclear weapons in the United States in more than 30 years.” Keys retired immediately afterwards.
Predictably, the Center is offering access to top political figures at both the Democratic and Republican conventions. Indeed, the Center is offering a package deal whereby donors who give $25,000 get VIP tickets, The deal also gives donors “event signage” and “exclusive branding opportunities” at one event in Denver (at the Vesta Dipping Grill on August 25) and one in Minneapolis (at Bellanote on September 2).
So this is what is meant by the two party system.
More from Ken Silverstein:
Perspective — October 23, 2013, 8:00 am
How pro-oil Louisiana politicians have shaped American environmental policy
Postcard — October 16, 2013, 8:00 am
A trip to one of the properties at issue in Louisiana’s oil-pollution lawsuits
I recently spent a semester teaching writing at an elite liberal-arts college. At strategic points around the campus, in shades of yellow and green, banners displayed the following pair of texts. The first was attributed to the college’s founder, which dates it to the 1920s. The second was extracted from the latest version of the institution’s mission statement:
The paramount obligation of a college is to develop in its students the ability to think clearly and independently, and the ability to live confidently, courageously, and hopefully.
Let us take a moment to compare these texts. The first thing to observe about the older one is that it is a sentence. It expresses an idea by placing concepts in relation to one another within the kind of structure that we call a syntax. It is, moreover, highly wrought: a parallel structure underscored by repetition, five adverbs balanced two against three.
Percentage of Britons who cannot name the city that provides the setting for the musical Chicago:
An Australian entrepreneur was selling oysters raised in tanks laced with Viagra.
A naked man believed to be under the influence of LSD rammed his pickup truck into two police cars.
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“Shelby is waiting for something. He himself does not know what it is. When it comes he will either go back into the world from which he came, or sink out of sight in the morass of alcoholism or despair that has engulfed other vagrants.”