by Lassallean, Sat Jul 28, 2007 at 08:15:59 AM EDT
New Republic columnist Noam Scheiber has an interesting piece in the New York Times about the demise of that most odious bastion of opportunism, the Democratic Leadership Council. According to Mr. Scheiber, it seems that the progressive communiy owes a debt of gratitude to the DLC, George Bush, and Bill Clinton for showing us how bad things can get when a major political party abandons its soul for triangulation.
"Today, the council has almost no constituency within the Democratic Party. About every five years, the Pew Research Center conducts a public opinion survey to sort out the country's major ideological groupings. In 1999, Pew found that liberals and New Democrats each accounted for nearly one-quarter of the Democratic base. By the next survey in 2005, New Democrats had completely disappeared as a group and the liberals had doubled their share of the party. Many moderates, radicalized by President Bush, now define themselves as liberals.
On a variety of issues the council, and not the party's liberal base, is out of touch with the popular mood. A recent Washington Post poll found that 60 percent of independents, along with 70 percent of Democrats, favor withdrawing from Iraq by next spring.
Two decades of work by the Democratic Leadership Council -- and a not inconsiderable assist from President Bush -- have made the Democratic Party the healthiest it has been in the 22 years of the council's existence. Democrats should thank the group and then tell it that it's no longer needed."
If Mr. Scheiber's assertion is correct, I find it very puzzling that the Democratic Party seems on the verge of nominating this man's wife for president:
"In 1991, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, then the council's chairman, elucidated the 'New Democrat' ethos and previewed the themes of his presidential candidacy ("opportunity, responsibility, community") with a speech at the centrist group's annual conference. 'It became the blueprint for my campaign message,' Mr. Clinton later wrote in his autobiography. He added, 'By embracing ideas and values that were both liberal and conservative, it made voters who had not supported Democratic presidential candidates in years listen to our message.'"
Now, in fairness, I must acknowledge that Hillary will be a "no-show" at the DLC conference this summer. But, does anyone have any thoughts as to whether Hillary will lead in the mold of her husband, resuscitating the dying DLC heresy and marginalizing the progressive movement for another eight years?
For the full link to Scheiber's story, visit: