Jon Henke has a smart post at The Next Right about CAP/CAPAF and the role these institutions have played in the progressive revival.
One word of caution I would offer, however, to people looking at building the next set of conservative institutions is that while it’s always good to learn from precedent, it’s not smart to slavishly imitate what exists. Insofar as CAP’s been successful, it’s been successful because it’s been responsive to the specific situation and filled roles on the progressive side that needed filling. The “gaps” on the right are in different places. In particular, the communications spaces aren’t remotely close to mirror-images of each other. Conservatives have both the luxury and the burden of operating with big, entrenched, profitable conservative media institutions like Fox News and the talk radio universe. I’m not sure what the specific implications of that are, but it does mean that if you’re thinking about creating and marketing new conservative ideas, you’re talking about operating under very different circumstances.