Last September AT&T approached the financially struggling First Christian Church in Alexandria, Virginia, with this bargain: In return for letting the company erect a 130-foot-tall cross doubling as a cellular phone tower, the congregation would receive $18,000 annually. Residents were split: Was the money--in the words of the Reverend Tim Mabbott, who supported the idea--a "blessing from God" or simply a Faustian kickback?
As the high-tech sector has grown as an industry, its bankroll of financial contributions to politicians has swollen as well (over $3.8 million so far this year). So it's no surprise that presidential candidates are now flocking to Silicon Valley, or that firms like AOL and eBay are forming their own political action committees to dole out cash. What is surprising is how much of that new high-tech money is going to Republicans.
"They almost have a nostalgic quality about them, sort of like the bell bottoms stuck in the back of the closet," writes Jeffrey M. Berry of today's quixotic and starry-eyed liberals. "But liberalism is not dead. Indeed, it's thriving."
In The New Liberalism: The Rising Power of Citizen Groups, Berry marshals copious evidence that over the past four decades, liberal citizen groups have outperformed conservative groups and business lobbies in almost every regardcommanding more positive media attention, winning more legislative victories, and indeed lasting longer as organizations.