The DLC may be dead as an organization, but its zombie remnants rise again and again to ensure the Democratic Party doesn't upset its deep-pocketed sponsors who want less "economic fairness" and a lot more "trickle down."
And, yes, the centrist groups aligning against Elizabeth Warren's full-throated defense of economic fairness include the Progressive Policy Institute,
founded by none other than Hillary Clinton's 2016 right-hand, John Podesta.
CORRECTION: As willyr pointed out, below, Podesta founded the Center for American Progress and not the Progressive Policy Institute. The Center for American Progress put out the report mentioned below about the 2014 mid-term results. The head of the committee that generated that report was Larry Summers, also quoted below. Sorry for error.Gee, what a surprise...
Here's a choice quote from today's article in The Hill that'll make your blood boil:
Leaders at three centrist groups — the Progressive Policy Institute (PPI), the New Democrat Network (NDN) and Third Way — arranged a series of meetings with moderates after the disastrous midterm elections to "discuss the future of the party," according to a source close to the NDC.Yes, because we all know how successful the "pragmatic wing" of the party has been in building up the Democratic majorities in the House and the Senate!
“Democrats ought to avoid the danger of talking about only redistribution and not enough about economic growth,” said PPI President and founder Will Marshall, who addressed House Democrats during their Philadelphia retreat in January. “Economic growth is a precondition to reducing inequality. You can't redistribute wealth that you're not generating.
“There's a lot of sympathy for that view in the pragmatic-wing of the party,” he added.
This was all foreshadowed back on February 7 with the release of a
PPI Center for American Progress report on the 2014 mid-term results. The story in the Times included this quote from committee chair, the execrable Larry Summers:
“It’s not enough to address upward mobility without addressing inequality,” said Lawrence H. Summers, a Treasury secretary in the Clinton administration who is among those talking with Mrs. Clinton. “The challenge, though, is to address inequality without embracing a politics of envy.”Is there any doubt where Hillary will land in this debate? Any doubt at all? As I asked in a diary back on February 8, Could Hillary Clinton get outflanked on economic populism by a GOP nominee?
It's a serious consideration, given the tone coming from these centrist Dem groups. I concluded in that diary:
Sure, it sounds farfetched to believe that a Democratic presidential candidate could be outflanked on economic/income inequality by a Republican. But given the cautious, corporate-friendly nature of Hillary Clinton, compounded by her inclination to surround herself with neoliberal retreads whose policies helped get us to the state of economic inequality we are in today, I think it is possible that she could be outflanked.Read this quote from Gabe Horwitz of Third Way, and think to yourself, "Is this coming a Democrat or free-market conservative?"
The Republican will claim that he is the hero of the middle class, and the ever-skittish Clinton campaign, terrified of being accused of "class warfare" (and terrified of ostracizing her deep pocket backers), will run a campaign designed "not to lose" rather than a campaign designed to win.
I am nowhere near as confident in her ability to pull this off as Markos is. Given what we've seen to this point, I think a Clinton run is a crapshoot, despite what current polls suggest.
Gabe Horwitz, director of Third Way’s economic program, said moderates have been arguing the case for rebranding the Democratic Party around “the middle class and middle-class prosperity.”First off, that's a steaming load. Show me where "Democrats offered fairness" as opposed to "prosperity and growth." Democrats, as usual, were timid and cowed and paid the price.
“In the last election, Democrats, as a party, offered a message of fairness. Voters responded, and they responded really negatively,” Horwitz said. “Democrats offered fairness, and voters wanted prosperity and growth.”
Hell, even Howard Dean is on the bandwagon:
Democracy For America founder Howard Dean, who has backed Clinton for president, said Warren is “right on policy, but the rhetoric needs to be toned down.”It's a depressing scenario for progressives in 2016. The Chosen One is just more of the same. Progressives and progressive policies are in line for more marginalizing while the income gap stretches to a gaping chasm.
“Our program cannot be soak the rich — that's a mistake and alienates middle class people. But on substance, the Warren wing is correct,” said Dean.
"Prosperity and Growth 2016!"
I'm not sure if that will be Hillary Clinton's campaign slogan or that of her Republican opponent.
To my earlier point about Hillary Clinton getting outflanked on economic inequality, a comment by this is only a test, below, highlights a piece in the Washington Post about how the new Republican governor of Maryland, a political neophyte, outflanked the Dem candidate, Anthony Brown, on economic inequality:
Those who are financially stressed were more likely to vote for Hogan over Democrat Anthony G. Brown in November than those who say they are getting ahead, according to the poll. On the campaign trail, Brown, then the lieutenant governor, talked about how Maryland had thrived for eight years under Gov. Martin O’Malley (D). But Hogan, the prosperous owner of a real estate firm, painted a different picture, one that resonated with residents who were less fortunate.An object lesson in what could happen in the 2016 presidential race, given the tone of the "centrist Dem" plan, listed above. Note that the Dem, Brown, touted the very "prosperity and growth" mantra suggested by the faux Democrats!
“Too many Marylanders,” the new governor said in his first State of the State address, “have been struggling, just to get by.”