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Center for American Progress Celebrates 10 Years

Last Thursday the Center for American Progress (CAP) celebrated their 10th anniversary with a day-long conference and an evening reception. The guest of honor at the reception, held in the beautiful Mellon Auditorium, was former Secretary of State and potential 2016 presidential candidate, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Peter Rosenstein
Peter Rosenstein

If one goes to the CAP website you can read the following statement about the organization’s beliefs. “As progressives, we believe America is a land of boundless opportunity, where people can better themselves, their children, their families, and their communities through education, hard work, and the freedom to climb the ladder of economic mobility. We believe an open and effective government can champion the common good over narrow self-interest, harness the strength of our diversity, and secure the rights and safety of its people. And we believe our nation must always be a beacon of hope and strength to the rest of the world. Progressives are idealistic enough to believe change is possible and practical enough to make it happen.”

In today’s world of the Tea Party, in-fighting, and grudge match politics, this is only something we can hope to strive for in our political system. CAP was founded ten years ago to bring a progressive think-tank into being to counter groups like the Heritage Foundation who were doing the research and planning for the conservative movement. Many were afraid that the money couldn’t be raised to fund such an organization for the long-term. Today CAP has proven not only that it can attract the funding but that they can make a real difference in public policy. They focus on the full range of issues including healthcare, women’s rights, LGBT rights, foreign affairs, the economy, civil liberties and energy and the environment to name just a few. They bring in experts both as staff and consultants to do the research necessary to develop sound public policy, at least viewed as sound from a progressive point of view.

All day Thursday at a series of session’s attendees heard from everyone from Secretary of State John Kerry to former Vice President Al Gore. Then at the reception Neera Tanden, president of CAP, introduced Hillary who began speaking by congratulating CAP on their 10th anniversary and thanking those at the event for their longtime support of the organization. She spoke of being at the beginning of CAP when John Podesta, their first President, began the work of making it into an organization that would be effective and sustainable for the long run. She then said that CAP’s work had only begun and that the next ten years will see even more need for an organization like CAP to bring progressive values to the forefront of public discussion because in today’s world the political rhetoric of the other side often seems to come from “an evidence free zone”.

Judging by the crowd at the reception and the tremendous response to Hillary, both CAP and Hillary will be around for a long time to come.