I gotta ask. Why is the DLC such a big effing deal in this election, at least within the confines of Blogostan Left? Far fewer progs talked about the Democratic Leadership Council in 2000, 2002, 2004 and 2006.
The DLC is a Potemkin Mordor -- a papier mache boogeyman, with no real power. Basically, it runs a think tank called the Progressive Policy Institute, which is a scam like all other think tanks. They're in the business of trying to impact public debate. I've yet to see any evidence that they do this job particularly well.
Nevertheless, the left visualizes the DLC as the Illuminati, the Elders of Zion, the Ueber-Bilderbergers.
For a classic example of prog lunacy, read this
nearly fact-free bit of agit-prop by Stan Goff on Huffington Post, which pictures the Council as having mysterious mind-control powers -- sort of like the Thing in the Sand Pit in Invaders From Mars
Depite all the foamy-mouthed loathing directed at the DLC, nobody really hates Harold Ford Jr., the current head. In case you've forgotten, he's the guy everyone felt sorry for when he got smeared by those ads with the blonde chick (an actress) saying "Call me." Remember the days when Republicans
were in the business of dirty politics?
On a routine basis, a Progmaster will display the letters DLC on the public video screens and call for a Twenty Minute Hate. And all the progs in progland will stand up and scream HATE HATE HATE. What's really cute is that each and every one of 'em is positive that he hasn't been brainwashed, that he made the decision to HATE HATE HATE all on his own after a lengthy and dispassionate appraisal of the facts.
Every day, I receive cliche-filled anti-Hillary letters from quasi-literate zealots who love to screech about how much they HATE HATE HATE the DLC. These people cite no evidence. I doubt that they even know what the letters DLC stand for. I doubt that they could articulate precisely why they HATE HATE HATE so much; they know only that they hate. Worse, they all seem to be under the impression that a word-for-word repetition of the Party Line constitutes original thought.
(I'll no doubt get a few such comments in response to this piece. Here's the deal: I won't delete your comments if you find interesting new ways to deliver the Party Line. Just a little orginality of expression -- that's all I'm asking for.)
year? The DLC was not a huge propaganda point in 2000, when the Democratic Party was led by Al Gore
, a co-founder of the ghastly beastly horrible Council From Hell. Tellingly, the progblogs ceased the Twenty Minute Hates when they were pushing Al Gore to run in 2007. For a while there, as you may recall, Gore was the Only Acceptable Candidate, while Obama was denounced as Mr. Compromise.
(I can hear you saying: "But that's because Gore is different
now!" No he isn't.)
And then there's the strange case of the candidate who has benefited
from the Twenty Minute Hates: Barack Obama. Oddly enough, his ties
go right to the DLC.
If Barack Obama prevails over Hillary Clinton to become his party’s nominee, it will mark the end of an era for the Clintons. But the agenda of the group that devised their national political identity will be just fine.
At least according to Al From, the founder and CEO of the resolutely centrist—Clintonian, even—Democratic Leadership Council
Mr. From said Mr. Obama had an intellectual, and not just tactical, connection to the D.L.C.
“I mean his chief economist, Austan Goolsbee, is a fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, which is our think tank,” he said.
Mr. From said that he would not be so presumptuous as to call Mr. Obama the purest D.L.C. politician out there. But he nevertheless believes Mr. Obama has adopted whole-cloth the approach to winning elections that he and his cohorts had long advocated.
Obama's name was once listed on DLC's New Democrats Directory. Then he made a large show of having his name removed
“Because I agree that such a directory implies membership, I will be calling the DLC to have my name removed, and appreciate your having brought this fact to my attention.”
If strong disagreements over policy
existed, Obama's name would not have been listed, and Al From would not embrace the guy. Obama had to distance himself from the Council in order to secure his base with the Kos krowd. He knew how useful those Twenty Minute Hates would be in the upcoming propaganda war.
Goolsbee is hardly the only key Obama guy with DLC or centrist Dem links -- one could also name Dan Gerstein, Jeff Liebman, Anthony Lake, David Cutler, and -- well, a massive chunk of the Obama campaign.
None of that really bugs me.
What bugs me is the double standard: Moulitsas and his crew howled for days
when Hillary Clinton received debate prep from a DLC-link adviser. But bring up Goolsbee or the others, and the Obamabots react in a very different fashion: Lots of mumbling. The faux-nonchalant whistle. A glance at the watch. Wow, look at those shoes: The laces are frayed. Nice sunset, eh? Hmm, maybe it's time for Ye Olde Subject Switch: "Don't you know that Hillary is a corporate racist bitch and that she killed Vince Foster with her bare hands while high on coke imported via Mena while having lesbian sex with a Marxist wiccan?
What also bugs me is the Obama connection to Libertarianism. That's where Goolsbee and Moulitsas share both common ground and a secret agenda. Call it the Cato Conspiracy.
(More on that later.)
By the way -- speaking as one routinely called a "racist" for daring to critique the Savior From Illinois, I find it refreshing to encounter black writers
critical of our new Messiah:
The 2008 Obama presidential run may be the most slickly orchestrated marketing machine in memory. That's not a good thing. Marketing is not even distantly related to democracy or civic empowerment. Marketing is about creating emotional, even irrational bonds between your product and your target audience.
But in 2003 Obama was a mere mortal. Now corporate media have made him a rock star, Joshua, a prince on his way to a coronation. Those who raise questions about Obama's commitment to a progressive agenda will have to struggle to be heard. That's just the way it is.
Ironically, Hillary Clinton, also a corporate DLC candidate to the core, may have been more responsive to some heat from the party's grassroots on a few questions than Barack Obama. Clinton has at least promised to repeal No Child Left Behind, the legislation that has forced an unproven and unworkable "teach to the test" regime upon public schools nationwide, and carved tens of billions nationwide from the budgets of schools to foster a privatized, for-profit education industry. By contrast, Obama is still mumbling about "adequately funding" this failed and malevolent educational experiment. Similarly, in a California debate which showed the tiny differences between the Democratic front runners, it was Hillary Clinton who broke the corporate taboo by at least mentioning single payer, the workable universal health care system implemented by every other advanced industrial country on earth and favored by most American voters. Clinton didn't do this because she loves us, or because she is innately more progressive than Obama. She did it because she hard pressed and because activists are less confused and less likely to he silenced by the pernicious notion that her campaign is "the movement" itself.
Emphasis added. Amen.