More food for thought about the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) and the future of the Democratic Party...Can you imagine if an organization existed that purported to speak for Republicans, yet whose entire premise undermining the conservative base of the Republican Party? Do you think GOP presidential candidates would be flocking to address that organization's meetings? The answer, of course, is no, they wouldn't - and you can bet the GOP leadership would crush that organization before it ever got off the ground. But on the Democratic side, the story is far different.
Democratic presidential contenders go suck up to the DLC, an organization whose for the last two decades has done everything it can to undermine the Democratic Party - even going to great lengths to attack Democratic presidential candidates it doesn't like. Then, hilariously, these same Democratic politicians who genuflect to the DLC claim to be shocked - shocked! - that the public has no idea what the Democratic Party stands for anymore.
Just look at this Knight-Ridder story detailing the agenda the DLC rolled out yesterday - it reads like Republican talking points:
- Topping the agenda [DLC President Al From] wrote with former Clinton
White House adviser Bruce Reed were several proposals on national
security. "It's a toughness issue. We have to prove we're willing to
pull the trigger," From said. In other words, the DLC argues that
Democrats must show they are willing to indiscriminately bomb, kill and
maim people in order to win elections, even though the public now fully
opposes what we're doing in Iraq.
- The DLC wants to "allow military recruiters unrestricted access to college campuses." Again, the American people oppose what we are doing in Iraq,
and the DLC's response is to push for more militarization and to push
for more recruitment of young people to send them off to fight overseas
in wars based on lies that the DLC helped justify.
- The DLC wants "to cut the federal budget deficit, they proposed
cutting congressional and nondefense government staff by 10 percent."
Cutting "nondefense" is a nice way of saying cutting things like health
care, labor rights enforcement, housing, etc - cuts the GOP is already proposing.
In other words, instead of talking about wasteful spending in Iraq, the
DLC wants the budget debate to focus on plans to hack into the social
progress that Democrats have fought for over the last fifty years.
And remember, this says nothing about the DLC's willingness to continually undermine every Democratic Party effort to make sure trade policy starts working for ordinary Americans.
I'd like to believe that the Democratic presidential candidates who came to make nice with the DLC yesterday only did so because they didn't want to be attacked for not kissing the Beltway gliterrati's rings. Because, frankly, the DLC has become the poster-boy for unprincipled stand-for-nothingism. Because of that, the DLC is becoming more and more of a political liability to candidates for national office, especially with the rise of the populist Democrats and the rise of alternative fundraising sources that allow candidates to circumvent the DLC's high-roller political donors.
Sure, the DLC will technically exist forever - there are always corporate funding sources available to preserve an insular Washington, D.C. organization that shills for Big Business and the Republican Party agenda. But politically, the DLC - and its constant undermining of the Democratic Party - is on its way out in terms of real relevance.
© 2005 Working Assets