November 18, 2008
Three blocks from the White House, on the 10th floor of a sleek glass building, young workers pound at computers, with giant flat-screen TVs overhead. It has the look and feel of a high-tech startup.
In many ways it is. The product is ideas.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
Thanks in part to funding from benefactors such as billionaire George Soros, the Center for American Progress has become in just five years an intellectual wellspring for Democratic policy proposals, including many that are shaping the agenda of the new Obama administration.
Much as the Heritage Foundation provided intellectual heft for the Republican Party in the 1980s, CAP has been an incubator for liberal thought and helped build the platform that triumphed in the 2008 campaign.
“What CAP has done is recapture the role of ideas as an important political force, something the Republicans had been better at for 25 years,” said Walter Isaacson, president of the Aspen Institute, a non-partisan policy-research organization in Washington.
CAP’s president and founder, John Podesta, 59, former chief of staff to President Bill Clinton, is one of three people running the transition team for president-elect Barack Obama, 47. A squadron of CAP experts is working with them.
Some of the group’s recommendations already have been adopted by the president-elect.