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March 11, 2008

What is the DLC and Who is Its Queen?

By Rob Kall

I have opposed Hillary's candidacy since she started running. I see Hillary as the heir to
the DLC throne that Bill Clinton held and massively enlarged and strengthened. Hillary
is the queen of the DLC.
The DLC-- the Democratic Leadership Council-- is the right wing, the almost-republican,
but worse-- wing of the Democratic party. They are corporatist, almost neocon (Al
From, the DLC's founder, said, in 2003, announcing the 2003 DLC convention, which
not one Democratic Presidential candidate showed up at, said, sounding very neocon,
"A Democrat in that tradition who is not afraid to use American power in dangerous
times,",) okay with war. These are the bluedogs dems, the Zell Millers, Joe Liebermans
who routinely sell out and betray the Democratic leadership.
I'm left of the Democratic party's center, as are most progressives and liberals. DLC
politicians are far to the right of the Democratic party's center and they're not happy
about that. They want to move the Democratic party further and further to the right.
They're willing to sell out women's rights, give up on gun control stay in Iraq as long as
John McCain wants, and when it comes to corporations, they can't get too friendly too
It's really hard to tell what they like about the Democratic party. Maybe they get along
with some of the union leaders who have drifted to the right, the kinds who back
Republicans like Arlen Spector.
I find it highly despicable that the DLC calls its think tank the Progressive Policy
Institute when they are the opposite of progressive. They support free trade and
globalism openly. It's hard to see how Hillary opposes NAFTA and free trade while
being one of the identified leaders of the DLC, with its pro-free trade policies. They try
to sell a bill of goods that tariffs are bad for the poor.
Read their website and it looks like they would support spying on Americans. Matter of
fact, we know that in the senate, the Dems couldn't block telecom immunity because
of right wing Democrats. When I think of right wing Dems, I think of DLC Dems.
Want to know who are some of the people in the DLC? Wikipedia reports that New
Democrats are DLCers. The link shows the Senators and governors who are DLCers.
Funny, they are the usual turncoats who sell out on issues like FISA, torture,
If you're a real progressive, the DLC will make you sick. If you're a real progressive,
you'll want to contribute to candidates who oppose DLC Democrats in the primaries.
The good news is that the DLC is not looking too good lately. They are less popular
than they've been in a long time.
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Be assured, the battle between Hillary and Obama is a battle between the DLC and the
rest of the Democratic party. Don't get me wrong. Obama is no great progressive. IF he
really is the most liberal voting senator, then that's a sad statement about the
Democratic party in the senate. He's no Paul Wellstone, that's for sure.
If you want tacky DLC, take Geraldine Ferraro who just put her foot in her mouth,
stating, ""If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position," she continued.
"And if he was a woman (of any color) he would not be in this position. He happens to
be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept."
Ummm... if Hillary wasn't a woman, she wouldn't be where she is... not the former first
lady, and not the dream for elderly women that this is their last shot, in their lifetime,
to see a woman president. I truly wish a great female candidate had entered the race.
But we just have Hillary-- a woman who is claiming that being the wife of a president is
great experience-- which I just don't buy.
If Hillary wasn't a woman, she would be a right wing, DLC hack who failed at an
incredible opportunity to change the health care system and who got Iraq tragically
wrong and was too small to admit it.
The good news is, the DLC is losing. Ari Berman,in The Nation, reports in his article
Going Nowhere: The DLC Sputters to a Halt about Barack Obama's connection to the
In May 2003 the centrist Democratic Leadership Council published its
yearly list of "100 New Democrats to Watch." The DLC frequently puts
out these lists as a way to publicly solidify its identification with the New
Democratic movement within the Democratic Party. The 2003 list,
however, contained a number of questionable additions, including then-
Illinois State Senator Barack Obama. As a state senator, Obama had
continually passed progressive legislation--a record that he vowed to add
to when he began his run for the US Senate on a platform of clear
opposition to the Patriot Act, the Iraq War and NAFTA, all positions
anathema to the DLC. The puzzling addition caused The Black
Commentator magazine to wonder, a month after the DLC list came out,
whether Obama had been "corrupted" by the centrist group. Obama's
reply to the Commentator was indicative of how the DLC plays the "New
Democrat" card.
"Neither my staff nor I have had any direct contact with anybody at the
DLC since I began this campaign a year ago," Obama wrote. "I don't
know who nominated me for the DLC list of 100 rising stars, nor did I
expend any effort to be included on the list.... I certainly did not view
such inclusion as an endorsement on my part of the DLC platform." After
realizing that his name appeared in the DLC's database, Obama asked to
have it removed. The message was clear: The DLC needed Obama a lot
more than Obama needed the DLC.
Berman's article is a must read, chronicling the DLC's losing history. They took credit
for Clinton's first win in 1992, ignoring the strength of Bill Clinton's personality and the
major help of third party candidate Ross Perot. And Berman documents how the DLC
gradually lost its pull
"What activists like Dean call the Democratic wing of the Democratic
Party is an aberration; the McGovern-Mondale wing, defined principally
by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home," From
and Reed wrote in a fiery memo titled "The Real Soul of the Democratic
Party" on May 15, 2003. Four days later, after Dean won the
endorsement of the 1.5 million-member public employees union
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AFSCME, the DLC denounced the union as "fringe activists." But others
were having second thoughts--about strategy and the DLC. As Dean
surged ahead, DNC chairman and Clinton confidant Terry McAuliffe told
From to quiet the attacks. All nine Democratic contenders skipped the
DLC's annual convention in Philadelphia.
Berman describes how the DLC rejected Howard Dean. I'm guessing they probably did
all they could to keep this upstart from winning. And they ended up with a more
malleable John Kerry. Berman describes,
The media coverage of its attacks, plus Dean's own implosion, breathed
temporary life into the DLC, as it assumed a large role in John Kerry's
policy shop. As the Anybody But Bush movement mobilized, the DLC
quietly pushed Kerry rightward, dubbing him "a pragmatic centrist in the
Clinton mode."
After Kerry's defeat, the DLC promised to "avoid the circular firing
squad" mentality but then quickly broke the promise, reverting to its
favorite target: the Democratic base. Instead of labor unions and
feminists, the DLC fixated on MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. "We need
to be the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy, not Michael Moore,"
the DLC wrote on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, of all places. "What
leftist elites smugly imagine is a sophisticated view of their country's
flaws strikes much of America as a false and malicious cartoon," the
DLC's Will Marshall wrote in Blueprint, the group's magazine, in a rant
worthy of The Weekly Standard. "Democrats should have no truck with
the rancid anti-Americanism of the conspiracy-mongering left." The DLC
continued this vitriol into March.
s. The organization now claims hundreds of state elected officials in the New
Democratic directory published on its website. Some, like Bayh or Lieberman, are true
believers. Others are happy for the free publicity gained from attending a conference
or being named "New Democrat of the Week." And for politicians in red states, joining
the DLC offers political cover. "It's the easiest, cheapest way for a politician who wants
to be equated with a 'different kind of Democrat,'" says former Dean campaign
manager Joe Trippi, who endorsed Rosenberg for DNC chair. "It doesn't mean anything
For example, fourteen members of the House New Democratic Coalition earned perfect
ratings from the liberal Americans for Democratic Action in 2002 or 2003. "The
mothership idea of a New Democrat was never shared by the DLC's rank and file, and
it's less so today," says Teixeira. The House Coalition lost thirty-six members over the
past two years. "Their universe of federal elected officials is relatively small," adds
Baer. Of course, the fact that a New Democratic Coalition even exists is testament to
the DLC's past success in creating, identifying and marketing a New Democratic brand.
Centrist elected officials have prospered with the DLC's institutional backing, a luxury
never afforded to alternative groups like the House Progressive Caucus, which has
failed to translate its sizable membership into lasting influence. (Its website hasn't
been updated since the Supreme Court ruled on affirmative action in June 2003.) In the
Senate, progressives are even less organized. The fact that conservative Democrats
like Mary Landrieu and Blanche Lincoln speak through the New Democratic Coalition
while center-left Dems like Patrick Leahy and Byron Dorgan lack institutional support is
one way the DLC survives.
Berman's article goes on to describe the downfall of the DLC:
Now the DLC's archnemesis is in charge of rebuilding the Democratic
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Dean won't be alone. The progressive infrastructure that helped keep

Kerry alive and began crafting a sharper Democratic message--America
Votes, Progressive Majority, Camp Wellstone, Democracy for America,
Center for American Progress, Air America Radio, Media Matters, the
blogosphere--now exerts a greater degree of influence, bankrolled by
new, wealthy outsiders and small donors who share similar goals.
George Soros and Peter Lewis have pledged $100 million over the next
fifteen years to support a permanent idea factory rivaling right-wing
think tanks like the Heritage Foundation and the mushy centrism of the
DLC's Progressive Policy Institute. "We've come to represent a way of
doing politics that is dangerous to people in DC who have a nice little
niche," says MoveOn.org executive director Eli Pariser. "Bringing in the
grassroots will mean a loss of influence for some of the establishment
The fact is, the DLC is built upon a highly dishonest attempt at presenting a liberal,
progressive image. Take a look under the hood of this decrepit jalopy being sold by
sleazy used car salesmen and you find a piece of junk that parasitized its reputation on
the back of Bill Clinton's charisma. But now, we have the DLC's Queen Hillary,
embracing and leading in the selling of these stale, non-Democrat ideas, these
republican-lite ideas. She is, as the chair of the DLC's American Dream Initiative,
unerasably tied to their backwards, conservative policies.
The future of true progressive politics includes making war with the DLC, running
primary opponents against and defeating DLC sponsored incumbent Democrats, and
running the leaders and ideas of the DLC out of Washingotn D.C.. They misguidedly
believe they are the future, when in fact, they are, as Obama has characterized Hillary,
the past.
So, to wrap this up, I want to be clear. The reason I oppose Hillary Clinton is because
she is a leader of the DLC, which is anathema to progressive politics. She's bad for the
Democratic party, bad for the future, bad for America. The only way she'll win the
primary is by destroying Barack Obama and very possibly, the Democratic party along
with it.
It is sad that this particular woman has raised the hopes of women, nationwide, even
worldwide, who would so much like to see a woman president. I prayed to see a strong
woman candidate enter the primaries. It didn't happen. We ended up with Hillary. She's
a bit better than some of the Republican members of congress, but not a whole lot. If
she somehow trashes Obama enough to cause him to lose the primary (I don't want to
call causing someone to lose the same as winning,) I may even vote for her. But it will
be a dispirited, unenthusiastic vote and I will certainly not go out and canvas and work
hard for her.
Here in the suburbs of Philly, where I live, where they say, the toughest part of the
coming primary will be fought, I attended a meeting of local democrats in a township
that is predominantly Republican. Even here, the vast majority of the Democrats are
supporting Obama.
It's unlikely that PA will make a big difference for Hillary, in terms of delegates or
popular vote. It will be close. She will not win a landslide here, even with the help of
DLC Governor Ed Rendell.
By the way, two years ago, at a progressive conference, I asked Ed Rendell, in front of
a lot of people, if he would work with progressives in the state. He encouraged me to
fax him. I did, but got no response. I saw him at the grange fair and handed him a copy
of the faxed message I'd sent him, calling for the beginning of discussions between him
and progressives. No response.
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The DLC leaders want to see progressives and progressive organizations just
disappear. Too bad. It looks like the opposite is happening.
I'm not one of the Obamamaniac who go gaga over him. He's a bit more conservative
than I would like and I preferred Edwards and Kucinich. But I can get used to him, and
will love to see the day that Obama hammers the nails in the coffin of the DLC, by
taking their flagship, superstar candidate out of the picture. Once Hillary loses the
primary, the DLC will drop that much lower in power and influence and that's great
news for progressives.
A last remark. I write this from a personal perspective, not in my leadership capacity at
OpEdNews.com. OpEdNews.com has made it clear that it is open to articles supporting
all candidates for president and will continue to take that approach, even bending over
backwards to publish articles that might not ordinarily be accepted based on writing
standards, if they represent candidates who are under-represented on the site.
As I write this, a few MSNBC talking heads discuss the "dream ticket" of Clinton Obama
or Obama Clinton-- that this is something that Democrats love. I don't know any
Obama supporters who are excited about Hillary running as Obama's Vice president.
Most feel that she would bring little to the ticket, since her state, New York would be a
sure win either way. There is one good reason. Like Cheney was for Bush, a Hillary Vice
Presidency might get potential Obama assassins to think twice before making Hilllary
Authors Bio:
Rob Kall is executive editor and publisher of OpEdNews.com, President of Futurehealth,
Inc, inventor and organizer of several conferences, including StoryCon, the Summit
Meeting on the Art, Science and Application of Story and The Winter Brain Meeting on
neurofeedback, biofeedback, Optimal Functioning and Positive Psychology. He is a
frequent Speaker on Politics, Impeachment, The art, science and power of story, heroes
and the hero's journey, Positive Psychology, Stress, Biofeedback and a wide range of
subjects. He is a campaign consultant specializing in tapping the power of stories for
issue positioning, stump speeches and debates. See more of his articles here and,
older ones, here.
To learn more about me and OpEdNews.com, check out this article.