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In the words of Inigo Montoya, "you keep using that word. I don't think it means what you think it means." It's become increasingly popular around these parts lately to use the term "DLC" as a way to tar any politician, tactic, or Dkos member that is unpopular. "What else would you expect from a member of the DLC?" etc.

This is fine I guess, but too often the term is used in a way that shows that the user is entirely unaware of what the DLC really is, and, just as important, what it isn't.

More on the flip...

First of all, a quick background. The DLC, or Democratic Leadership Council is a non-profit advocating triangulation, or a third way between traditional Democratic and Republican policies. From Wikipedia:
The DLC was founded in 1985 by Democrats who were concerned that traditional liberalism would doom their party to permanent minority status. The group advocated traditionally conservative economic policies, such as decreased government regulation of business and free trade, that often conflicted with the views of traditional Democratic allies, especially labor unions. The organization started as a group of forty-three elected officials, and two staffers, Al From and Will Marshall.
You can see what they believe in here.

Second, Bob Casey is not DLC. Socially conservative labor democrats are not DLC. In fact, they and the DLC are in direct contradiction on many issues. The DLC is most marked by economic policies. In particular, the DLC is a pro-corporate, pro-free market organization. It champions free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA. Such positions are in direct contrast with a labor dem like Bob Casey, and the DLC has often come in conflict with labor groups that believe that the DLC is abandoning core Democratic principles.

Third, the DLC is not the DCCC, the DNC, the DSCC or Democratic leadership. The DLC is not an official campaign organization. Chuck Schumer is not affiliated with the DLC. Neither is Howard Dean (obviously). The top three members of Senate leadership, Harry Reid, Dick Durbin and Debbie Stabenow are not affiliated with the DLC. Neither are Nancy Pelosi or Steny Hoyer in the House. In fact, of Democrats in official capacities, only Rahm Emanuel, chair of the DCCC has real ties to the DLC. Leadership is not "cowardly" because of ties to the DLC, because leadership generally doesn't have ties to the DLC.

Fourth, the DLC is not all-powerful. In fact, the case can be made that the DLC is much less powerful now than it was in the mid-1990s, when founding members Bill Clinton and Al Gore ran the country, and NAFTA, welfare reform and balanced budgets were all passed. 102 Democrats voted for NAFTA in the House. A grand total of 15 voted for CAFTA. John Kerry spent much of his campaign railing against free-trade, a policy the DLC is strongly in favor of. Futhermore, as already mentioned, today's Democratic leadership and the DLC have very little overlap. It's not some scourge infecting every aspect of the party, and membership in the DLC is likely not the reason that (insert politician here) is not pursuing policies you would like them to. Joe Lieberman, Hillary Clinton and Rahm Emanuel are noteworthy because they are some of the few prominent Democrats (along with Tom Carper and Tom Vilsack, who is the current chair) who still associate themselves with the group. If you're criticizing a member of Democratic leadership for being "DLC", you're probably wrong.

Finally, there are many legitimate criticisms of the DLC, and they will only be more meaningful by using them correctly. There is a lot to criticize in the DLC economic policy, and NAFTA can clearly be laid at their doorstep. They've been far from enthusiastic supporters of labor. And they have taken an absurd position on national security, standing firmly behind President Bush and shouting down those who dare to disagree, mostly because the DLC believes a weakness on national security is a big cause of Democratic defeats. And they've been as hostile to the left as the left has been to them, especially on the issue of the Iraq War. As Wikipedia says,

The DLC has dismissed other war critics such as filmmaker Michael Moore as "Anti-American" and members of the "loony left". Even as domestic support for the Iraq War plummeted in 2004 and 2005, Marshall called upon Democrats to balance their criticism of Bush's handling of the Iraq War with praise for the President's achievements and cautioned "Democrats need to be choosier about the political company they keep, distancing themselves from the pacifist and anti-American fringe."
Such rhetoric is completely uncalled for and unproductive. Furthermore, their method of triangulation has not been nearly as successful without a gifted and dynamic politican like Bill Clinton, and it's a valid criticism that DLC stances don't do enough to draw contrasts between Democrats and Republicans.

But these valid criticisms of the DLC get mixed in with nonsense uses of the term around here far too often. Labor pols aren't DLC, most leadership isn't DLC, and the DLC isn't infesting the Democratic Party in every facet. The term needs to regain its meaning; a pro-corporate and hawkish wing that attempts, increasinly unsuccessfully in my mind, to influence Democratic politics.

Originally posted to AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:02 PM PST.


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Comment Preferences

    •  As for your tag line. . . (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hollywood Liberal, PhillyGal


      Although, I suppose it could be worse.  It could be the Vice President.

      Is America finally suffering from Idiot Fatigue?

      by LarryInNYC on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:26:19 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is the problem (4+ / 0-)

      It champions free trade agreements like NAFTA and CAFTA.

      It thinks Nafta and Cafta are free trade, but they are just the opposite.  They are both just more regulations on labor and less on Governments and Corporations.

      This reminds me of Bush, saying one thing and then doing the complete opposite.

      But to his credit, it does get the dumb people to the polls.

      I think this is why many on DKOS want to throw the DLC out, they are not as dumb as the average peon.

      •  I understand that (4+ / 0-)

        but people call Bob Casey DLC all the time. The Wikipedia entry on the DLC has Bob Casey as a "prominent DLC member endorsing Alito", which is just utter nonsense.

        Criticizing the DLC for NAFTA is fine. Criticizing labor dems for being DLC doesn't make any sense.

        "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

        by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:52:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If the DLC were more in line (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        seanleckey, Harkov311

        on labor issues, I'd probably support them.  I mean, they don't have to be fair-trade crazies, but yeah, their really to far right as far as economics for me.  i mean, i consider myself an economic conservative...but I'm not that economicly conservative.

        Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

        by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:53:02 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  They are not far-right (0+ / 0-)

          They are far Authoritarian on trade, just like on every other issue.

          •  DLCers (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            are typically in line with progressive on many social issues.

            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:58:37 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yes just like libertarians (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              I should of said "authoritarian on every other economic issue".
              This is why libertarian leaning folks dislike the DLC.

              •  how are they authoritarin (0+ / 0-)

                in fact, they are hardly authoritarian.  authoritarian means they support extensive governmental control, which is completely opposite of what they want.

                Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:05:21 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Whatever (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  colorless green ideas


                  Patriot Act?

                  Drug war?
                  Homeland security?
                  Outlawing video games?


                  Pro-Corporate? (When the Corpo's are Government created entities.)

                  Opposite?  Not on these issues.
                  You know of any that support your statement?

                  •  he's saying (0+ / 0-)

                    that such a strong belief in free markets is not authoritarianism.

                    "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

                    by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:13:39 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  But I'm saying (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      colorless green ideas

                      they don't push free markets, they just call them that.

                      •  well (0+ / 0-)

                        it appears that you are using a different definition of "free market" than the widley accepted economic view.

                        Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                        by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:19:47 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

                        •  No I'm using a (1+ / 0-)
                          Recommended by:
                          colorless green ideas

                          different definition than what the DLC and the Repubs use.  When you give one part of an equation less oversight and regulations you are just giving that part an advantaage over the others, see 2001 power crisis as an example, which was a gift to a few big players and all others suffered.

                          •  There isn't a 'different' definition (0+ / 0-)


                            free market

                               An economic market in which supply and demand are not regulated or are regulated with only minor restrictions

                            This isn't a DLC definition or a republican definition.  It is the definition.

                            Now, I don't agree with an unregulated market, but to somehow claim that being for a free market is for being for some sort of authoritarian control is, well, saying they support the complete opposite of what they actually support.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:45:07 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Proving my point again, thank you (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            colorless green ideas

                            By that definition NAFTA and CAFTA are not free market, in each bill there was resrictions and regulations. I mean what else could be hidden in hundreds and hundreds of pages?
                            Wouldn't a true free market trade agreement lack the words "trade agreement"?
                            Couldn't it be sumed up in a few paragraphs?

                          •  of course its not totally free market (0+ / 0-)

                            virtually nothing is.  Virtually every government program in existence goes against the free market in some way, shape, or form.  The point is that it lifts numerous trade regulations, thus freeing markets from regulations they faced before (in this case, tarrifs).  Does that mean there are no regulations? of course not.  Does that mean its authoritarian? definitately not.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:56:16 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Not it didn't lift anything (0+ / 0-)

                            NAFTA made Mexico sell us their oil.  And numorous tarrifs were added, see the Canadian lumber issue for an easy example.

                          •  yep, didn't lift anything (0+ / 0-)

                            from wiki (yeah, yeah, not totally reliable, but i find them to be mostly reliable):

                            NAFTA called for immediately eliminating duties on half of all U.S. goods shipped to Mexico and gradually phasing out other tariffs over a period of about 14 years....The treaty also protected intellectual property rights (patents, copyrights, and trademarks) and outlined the removal of restrictions on investment among the three countries.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:15:05 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  There you go (2+ / 0-)

                            protected intellectual property rights
                            Doesn't get anymore anti-free trade than that.

                            Free the flow of capital and regulate everything else.
                            Guess who benefits under this set-up?  The people that move capital.

                          •  see my just posted comment (0+ / 0-)

                            intellectual property is facilitates business and thus isn't considered anti-free trade.

                            actually, much of business probably couldn't exist without intellectual property, at least not effectively.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:27:51 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  or anti-free market (0+ / 0-)

                            i guess both work

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:28:37 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  That's a tough arguement to make (0+ / 0-)

                            intellectual property brings Government and regulation in to oversee.

                            I would say Wikipedia has this one dead wrong.

                          •  no (0+ / 0-)

                            saying that intellectual property laws are anti-free market is like saying that burglary laws are anti-free market.  Creators of intellectual property have a right  to protect their work.

                            Also, if wikipedia is wrong then, well, all of economic theory is wrong too I guess.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:38:41 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  Now your just being silly (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            colorless green ideas

                            Also, if wikipedia is wrong then, well, all of economic theory is wrong too I guess.

                            If it's in Wikipedia it must be true.

                            Okie dokie

                          •  no (0+ / 0-)

                            but free market is not the same as anarchy.  Free market means "free from government interference" not "free from government."  the government can still set up laws which protect property (ie intelletual property) or to facilitate the more efficient operation of business (ie corporations) or any other laws, for that matter, which don't interfere with normal supply or demand.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:02:46 PM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  or, to put it more simply (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:
                            colorless green ideas

                            free trade is trade where the laws do not protect labor, but which preserves laws which benefit capital (or, to be more specific, capital which has close ties with government).

                            your "anarchy" is a state where there are no laws, or where capital does not have its legal set-asides.

                            i would suppose socialism or communism would then be where labor has legal protection and priviledge, but capital doesn't.

                            calling something free doesn't make it so. people who talk about "free" trade recoil, as you just did, at the idea of a truly free market without any regulation or governing law.

                            crimson gates reek with meat and wine/while on the streets, bones of the frozen dead -du fu (712-770)

                            by wu ming on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:25:03 AM PST

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  bingo (0+ / 0-)

                            unfortunately, they own the language right now.

                          •  please take an economics course (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            to suggest that IP, and corporate personhood "don't interfere with normal supply or demand", is just absurd.

                            if i have a patent on pet robots, that means nobody else can produce them, which means only i can sell them, which means there is no competition, which means i can set a price much higher than the market would otherwise bear.

                            if pet robots all of a sudden are necessary to keep people from dying of depression, then demand goes way up, and so does the price. the government could then set a price control.  

                            your "free-marketeer" would say "no government interference in the market".

                            my free-marketeer would say "no government interference in the market? ok, give up your patent monopoly and let others produce pet robots, then".

                            see what i'm saying?

                            ok, that is but one example. now go read up on your economics, please.

                          •  thats about right (0+ / 0-)

                            however, because its bad for soceity doesn't mean it isn't a free market.

                            IP has, in one form or another, existed since, well, pretty much since the Gutenburg Bible.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Sun Apr 02, 2006 at 03:52:55 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  bad or good for society? (0+ / 0-)

                            that is irrelevant.

                            the relevant part is the fact that the government is imposing a monopoly on production, which affects the market for that product.

                            in an earlier post you suggested that IP "[doesn't] interfere with normal supply or demand", in an attempt to explain how one regulation is "free market", and another regulation is not.  i illustrated exactly how IP enforcment interferes with normal supply and demand. i could case by case go through each regulation that you cited as being neutral to market forces of supply and demand, and show you exactly how they affect those things. i think my one example, which you agreed on, is good enough, though.

                            i think we can agree to disagree on the definition of a "free market", but please let's be honest about the effects of the different policies within our definition.  the definition for "free market" that is espoused by neoliberals and conservatives, that you adhere to, is a political--not economic--term. thus it will mean different things at different times in history.

                            also, i wouldn't call the use of patents by guilds "intellectual property". the guilds basically existed to prevent knowledge from spreading in order to retain total dominance in a craft or trade.  i doubt anyone would call this "free market"!

                          •  and i have taken an economics course (0+ / 0-)

                            and I got like, a 99 in it.

                            Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                            by FleetAdmiralJ on Sun Apr 02, 2006 at 03:53:26 PM PDT

                            [ Parent ]

                          •  micro? macro? (0+ / 0-)

                            intro to economic thought?

                            just curious.

                          •  free-trade not = pro-business (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            intellectual property may or may not stimulate business, but that is not the point. intellectual property acts as a tariff on ideas... it enacts a deadweight loss in the economy by forcing goods and services above their market rate due to monopoly protection.  the economic definition of a patent is monopoly protection over the marketable use of a set of original ideas. copyright is monopoly protection of the publishing of an exact work of art, science or other content.

                            you may think they have a beneficial economic effect, they certainly offer powerful economic incentives to produce and create, however, that doesn't change the fact that they are government constraints on the use of ideas and information.

                            consistentcy demands that we recognize tarriffs, and patents as the same economic device. you may like one better than the other, but that doesn't make them qualitatively different.

                            you suffer from conventional wisdom overload.  you hav every right to your opinion, which i respect, but you should try to look beyond the cw in this regard.


                          •  lifts a few tariffs (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            and institutes massive amounts of regulation of business standards beyond national borders so corporations can expand their operations based on a stable set of regulations that will not be affected by democratic processes. the regulations emphasize the rights of property (in capital ownership), while ignoring the rights of labor, the environment, and democratic communities.

                            it also extends regulations on so-called "intellectual property", affecting even countries that do not traditionally recognize such things as "property".

                            they will call it free-trade, you can believe them, i would read a little closer if i were you.

                            it is a corporate managed trade bureaucracy.

                          •  that's not THE definition (1+ / 0-)
                            Recommended by:

                            here's Webster:

                            free market
                            Function: noun
                            : an economic market operating by free competition

                            "free market" treaties like NAFTA actually increase, rather than decrease, the number of regulations.

                            "free market" tort reform that conservatives tout place more regulations than what liberals prefer.

                            labor union regulation that "free market" conservatives love, places heavy regulation on the ability of workers to collectively organize.

                            i could go on.  the issue is never "how much regulation" it is "who should benefit from the regulation".

                            i wouldn't call it authoritarian, either, but it is just legislating to their own benefit.

                    •  'free market' has become an orwellian term (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      most of us would say that free speech is not censorship, but look at the way bush delegates "free speech zones" at his rallies. bush's "free speech" clearly is censorship, but i am not going to start decrying free speech because of it.

                  •  well (0+ / 0-)

                    war...ok, i agree with you there

                    Patriot Act...i support...mostly (not totally)

                    Drug war...I support

                    Homeland security...wasn't that our idea in the first place?

                    Outlawing video games...well, i dont know if they want to outlaw them, but I too think that some of the more, well, violent ones need to be watched more.

                    NAFTA-CAFTA - i've already addressed

                    Pro-corporate (or pro free market) is hardly authoritarian.

                    Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

                    by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:18:30 PM PST

                    [ Parent ]

        •  I'm not sure what economically ... (4+ / 0-)

          ...conservative means because the word "conservative" (and "liberal") is so debased these days. But I think I can safely say I am not an economic conservative since I am a left-wing social-democrat - I believe some stuff should be cooperatively or state-owned, that corporations shouldn't be the coddled economic organizing tool that they are in our society, and that the economic activity itself be vigorously regulated with straightforward rules and a minimum of subsidies.

          That puts me at odds with not just the DLC, but most of the Democratic Party.

    •  VERY helpful diary. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  I'm just happy I got to use... (3+ / 0-)

        ...the Princess Bride quote. Any day I get to bust out Inigo Montoya is a good day.

        "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

        by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 09:21:36 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I posted a long litany of BushCo... (0+ / 0-)
          ...atrocities over at Balloon Juice and one of the respondants used that exact quote in my reference to Bush's crimes.  I wrote back that he /she shouldn't fool themselves.  Little did I know that I was missing a modern "useless movie quote".

          ...I'll take Elmore Leonard, Carl Hiaasen, or Dennis Lehane any day of the week.

          "Wonderful things can happen ... when you plant the seeds of distrust in a garden of Assholes" -- Elmore Leonard

          by Blue Shark on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:06:20 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  I'm not quite as willing to cut ... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kd texan

      ...the DLC the slack that you do, but this is an excellent Diary for putting the organization's real c.v. up.

  •  I found this useful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:05:33 PM PST

  •  not all DLCers so repulsive (2+ / 0-)

    I find that I don't disagree quite so much when it's Ed Kilgore talking than when its Al From, who is just a pompous ass in my opinion, or Marshall Whittman.

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:09:13 PM PST

    •  Wittmann is awful (3+ / 0-)

      he's not a Democrat, he's a Republican. And he's an unfortunate graduate of my university.

      "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

      by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:11:41 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  From is a ranting jerk (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Yeah, I mean frankly if Kilgore were the guy running the show at the DLC, I could at least put up w/them better.  Bruce Reed is also, in general, fairly civilized and measured in what he says.

      But Wittman and From are jerks who, to be quite frank, lend the GOP a sword by disparaging their own party in a way that no thinking person could possibly see as productive.

      Wittman isn't really a Democrat, of course, so I guess that explains him.  And From has frankly been asleep since the 80s.  None of his criticisms have changed since 1988.

      All your vote are belong to us. Warner/Feingold 2008

      by Harkov311 on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:50:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  DLC panic (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    PhillyGal, Harkov311, Sanuk, CAL11 voter

    I ran into a lot of people when I was still doing lots of grassroots organizing who spent a seriously inordinant amount of time worrying about the DLC and what to do about it.  Wayyyyy too much misplaced rage and energy that could have been better spent elsewhere. Your diary is useful in clarifying why it's better spent elsewhere.

    Maybe another time when it's not approaching midnight my time I'll write some more about the damage that the rage factor has done and does do in my opinion, to obscure productive action, but this thought will have to do for tonight.....

    "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

    by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:18:57 PM PST

  •  democratic leadership council. (0+ / 0-)

    thanks for clearing that up, i thought it stood for "da lame caucus."

    i'm an agnostic, i'd be an atheist if it weren't for mozart

    by rasbobbo on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:22:25 PM PST

  •  Good post (9+ / 0-)

    People do not understand the role of the DLC. I will say, though, that at one point, Howard Dean was a member. That being said I agree with some of their criticism of Michael Moore. My issue with Moore is that he voted for Nader in 2000. Also it seems like the "Moore element"--and I hope I don't insult anyway--seems to always "blame America first". They seem to convey the impression that "America sucks". I don't mean to question their patrotism. I'm not.

    What I am saying is that the Moore element doesn't ever focus on what is GOOD with America. Instead of focusing on what's wrong, why can't they propose solutions on how to make it right? What made Ronald Reagan so successful is that he was always optomistic. The Moore element always seems pessimsitic. I understand that there are legitimate criticims of American policy, but why can't they focus on how to make it better? Why can't the focus on what is good instead of always what is bad?

    With that out of the way I agree with some criticisms of the DLC. I don't think it has adjusted to the times. I still think the organization believes that we are in the 1980s and the Democrats are still losing elections by 40+ state margins. I think that it is losing influence because it has not modernized its stances.

    I do agree, though, that the DLC doesn't have this monothological, octoupus-like control over the party. I do think people don't know what it is fully or understand it.

    More in my next reply.

    •  The entire rhetorical war (4+ / 0-)

      between the DLC and the activist base just seems like such a waste of time to me.

      "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

      by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:26:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Moore element? (6+ / 0-)

      Who are you talking about?  This is another one of those dangerous generalizations with vague accusations that is just as bad as lumping everyone under a "DLC crowd" banner.

      "Why can't you and the idea of separation of powers just hug it out, bitch?" Wonkette

      by Hollywood Liberal on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:26:34 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Well (0+ / 0-)

        I guess I will give the examples of Moore stating that the insurgents were like "the minute men" and that "they would win". Also I would cite the example of Moore's Book, "Dude, Where's My Country", where he has a chapter where he puts America on the same equal footing as terrorists. That is the type of rhetoric I am talking about.

        •  Minute men (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Blue Shark, alizard, seanleckey

          I do know that Moore does take liberties with the facts but I do have to say he pretty much is right to say that these Iraqi folks who want us out are like the minutemen and it is likely they can and will "wait us out". Trying to control a country from afar just doesn't work real well.

          I'd also add that I'm not a blame America first type of gal but I do think that it is high time we recognize that our foreign policy has alot to do with why they hate us. Let's face it. We are so all fired anxious to bring democracy to Iran however that was not the case when we purposefully deposed their legit leader and installed the Shah. We supported Saddam for quite a while to and had no problem with him gassing folks as long as he was gassing Iranians as well. Osama, taught to do what he did by us. Why? We supported and helped groups and continue to support and help groups that destabilize countries by any means and that includes what we would consider terrorism in our own country. That's just a small amount of who we are but it is a part of who we are and we do need to acknowledge it.

    •  A little dose of Bill Clinton... (0+ / 0-)

      "There's nothing that's wrong with America that can't be fixed by what's right with America."  Or something like that.  

      Good progressive attitude.  Be proud of what you've got, and use it to reach for more.  

  •  Part II (6+ / 0-)

    Now I will say more. I think that the DLC was needed at one point in history. I think that, when it first came into existence, it played a necessary role.

    By the late 1980s, after losing five out of six presidential elections, four of those five by landslide margins, two of those four being 49 state wipeouts, it was clear that the Democratic Party needed to change. While more than willing to elect Democrats to lower offices, the electorate simply did not trust the party with control of the White House.

    At the time the vast majority of voters viewed the Party as being soft on crime, pushing nothing but higher taxes, being weak on national security, supporting social programs that benefited no one except the dirt poor, and not implementing effective foreign policy. They saw the party as being painfully concerned about the plight of minorites and the dirt poor, while being at best indifferent--and at worst--hostile to the interests of the middle class. They thought that the party was too beholden to minorities and labor unions. They didn't think the party represented middle class or mainstream values.

    The DLC played a major role in helping Clinton win his first election. Bluntly they were able to help convince America that the Democrats cared for more than poor, ghetto inner-city blacks. I don't mean to sound crass, but the DLC did play a role in making the Democratic Party competetive in former 2-1 Republican suburbs. That is why CA, IL, MI, NJ, and PA now vote Democratic in presidential elections. The DLC enabled the party to gain respect and credibility from white suburbanities who had defected to Nixon, Reagan, and Bush I. In essence they helped bring the Reagan Democrats back, erasing the scars of 1968.

    All in all the DLC seems to have brought a 40-43% party to a 48% party. The party is much more competetive in presidential elections than it used to be. It is no longer losing 40+ state blowouts. That is, going into election night, no one knew who was going to win the last two elections. So the party is much more competetive.

    While suburbanites have returned to the Democratic Party, the real trend that caught me in the 2004 election was the loss of rural voters. While Dukakis was able to fare well in rural America--he got around 45% and 47% in SD, MT, NM, and CO, for example--Kerry fared miserably. Some rural counties in WV and in PA that supported Dukakis by comfortable margins instead voted for Bush by the exact amount. In essence, over sixteen years, these counties had flipped their partisan affilation.

    So the DLC's biggest contribution seems to have been in making the party attractive to suburbanities. Unfortunately, at some point along the way, the party lost ground with rural Americans. For whatever reason rural America has abandoned the Democrats. So while the party is more competetive, it has to win rural Americans back.

    •  party before principle and progress (5+ / 0-)

      You've just argued for putting party before principle and party before progress.

      Let's start with your premise: that the DLC and DLC positions were crucial to getting Clinton elected. I find this hard to believe. For starters, Clinton basically ran an economic populist campaign, telling them he "felt their pain" and economic hardships. He wound up advocating and implementing a full-blown DLC agenda, but that wasn't central to his first campaign. Also, recall 1) Clinton's brilliance as a communicator, 2) George Sr's weakness as a candidate, and 3) Ross Perot.

      But let's presume the premise is true. So the DLC helped elect a Democrat . . . but to what end? We could, after all, ask the Dems to adopt every single Republican position to win more offices. There's a chance it could work as a strategy for electing Democrats, but would it work in making the country a better place?

      By electing and running conservative Democrats (Clinton, Gore, Lieberman), we pushed the Democratic Party, and the entire political spectrum, to the right. That made it possible for the next Republican (Bush) to move even further to the right. There could be no Bush if there wasn't first a Clinton-Gore administration and a Gore-Lieberman ticket. That is, there could be no Bush if there wasn't first a DLC.

    •  Rural America? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      TALK RADIO.  You can't let your enemies go live for 25 years on radio, in parts of the country where going anywhere involves lots of drive time, and expect to hold your ground.  Not when you're not putting your own people on air to counter.  

      Rush and co have KILLED us in rural america.  And in the process, made places like Ohio and Missouri and Nevada and West Virginia unwinnable.  We've got to get on the air and get our vote totals back around 40%, instead of the 20% we're getting now.  We don't need to win the rural vote by any means, but we can't get blown out this badly.

      Fortunately, the Rs have won these people's allegiance and then publicly and dramatically fucked up.  So maybe they'll give us a second look now.  It's unforced errors that are gonna give us our openings here in 06/08/10.

      •  Don't forget the evangelical churches (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Harkov311, dem4evr, blueoasis

        It seems like this is where the rural working class and lower middle class get their ideology.  And it was the DLC that said we could move to the right and not be populists anymore in order to get the suburban vote; after all where were those working class rural people going to go, to the corporatist GOP?  Yes, if the religious right hooks them in and makes their politics not even about the economic issues anymore.  Which is what happened.

        I am way oversimplifying here a topic written about much more thoroughly and excellently in "What's the Matter with Kansas?"

        Check out my lte archive at and feel free to use my ideas for your own lte's.

        by DemDachshund on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:25:21 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  I would argue... (0+ / 0-)
      ...that another nut-case from Texas did as much or more than DLC for Bill Clinton in 1992.

      ...That giant sucking sound you heard was Ross Perot siphoning votes from King George I.

      ...You think a gifted, but unknown, Southern Governor with a zipper problem unseats a sitting Bull without that third party candidate?...not a chance...and that was just slightly before the Republican Party bought the voting machine tabulators and all the attendant perks that go with counting the vote behind closed doors with ...oooooh...secret code.  Yeah just trust us we'll tell you who won tomorrow morning in 2000, 2002, and 2004.

      ...That Bill Clinton turned out to be an amazingly masterful politician probably did more for the DLC than vise-versa.

      "Wonderful things can happen ... when you plant the seeds of distrust in a garden of Assholes" -- Elmore Leonard

      by Blue Shark on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:55:54 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thank you (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Newsie8200, slouise217

    This comment really got to me in this recent diary on the Minnesota Senate race.

    The first speaker was Jim Klobachar--father of Amy, the Hillary clone running for Mark Dayton's seat with the full blessings of the DNC/DLC.

    There was some (unfounded) criticism that Chuck Schumer had interfered in the race, but there was no involvement by the DLC at all.   To some people on DailyKos, however, DLC, DNC, DSCC etc., are all the same, and are all conspiring to defeat their particular favorite candidate.  

    This diary should be required reading by, well frankly, everyone.  

  •  DKos at its best (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    CJB, Blue Shark, Eddie C

    Great educational piece -- short and to the point.  DKos is many things, and one major function is educating folks about politics at this level (at least, that's a huge element of what I get  out of it).  

    I knew a lot of this from when the Big Dog first came into the spotlight; thanks for putting it in today's context.

    Loyalty comes from love of good government, not fear of a bad one. Hugo Black.

    by Pondite on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:39:48 PM PST

  •  Well sort of using a diary of mine from yesterday (0+ / 0-)

    to help make a point, the diary I wrote yesterday about a conversation I had with an self-identified independent voter shows quite a bit, I think, the type of people who the DLC have in mind.  I actually found it quite interesting how many of the points made by the focus group kos as on the front page go directly to many of his complaints.

    Webpage; Current members: 82,782 (as of 1pm 3/28). Projected Date of 100,000th member registration: September 8, 2006

    by FleetAdmiralJ on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 08:49:07 PM PST

  •  both sides picking arguments (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    It sounds like the DLC may have contributed to the fighting when it alienated the more liberal facets of the Democratic party and demonized them. Instead of debating the merits of their positions they told America that being "liberal" meant you weren't mainstream but some angry radical. The post was helpful but it hasn't changed my position. I find it a tad ironic that some of these DLC folks who feel so strongly about national security didn't even bother to read up before authorizing the force for Iraq that has essentially put us in a two front war and has tied our hands now when it comes to threats.

  •  ideological problems (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    alizard, blueoasis

    Yes, the DLC as an organization, is no longer that powerful. But its pro-corporate positions have infected the entire Democratic Party. We still have a Democratic Party which, with few exceptions, is willing to seriously challenge corporate power.

    Many on Dkos like to describe the Democrats problems as just a lack of backbone, or poor framing. Those are important, but our problems are also ideological. The party has abandoned the economic populism it needs to win back rural voters. You have the DLC to thank for this.

    •  DLC Slur is about the wrong Strategy, (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      and the slur is a generalization.

      We have no backbone, we have poor framing, we have ineffective message, we have the grassroots treated as peon ATMs, all for a lot of reasons,

      and very significant reason is the influence of the DLC, AND

      their philosophy which can be summed up as


      The great thing about blogs is they provide a means of readily disseminated precision AND generalization.

      I am sure your points are probably correct in many precise ways, I am not going to investigate.

      However, of the scores of uses of the DLC slur I see used, I think a significant percentage of those using the slur are well aware of the fact that they are making a quick generalization about a set of specific failed policies from failed strategies from failed "leaders" with very specific BAD consequences for tens of millions of American's lives.  

      Sure the term is abused, aren't all terms in politics, history?  There are still people argueing about when, how, and why the Great Depression started, lasted and ended - and just about every other historical event of consequence or irrelevance.

      Politics and history definitions are not precise like the definitions of euclidean geometry or algebra or discrete mathematics, so, is every comment supposed to be be documented like 10 pages from the OED?



      Grassroots Organizing Should Be for The Community, By The Community - NOT for "Leaders"

      by rmdewey on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:39:00 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Oh and (6+ / 0-)

    The DLC is NOT a membership organization. It does not have any "members" per se. It has people who have leadership roles within the organization, some of which are real, some of which are quasi-honorary.

    It also puts out various lists of "stars to watch" or crap like that, but those are emphatically not membership lists. In fact, several prominent people (including Barack Obama) have asked the DLC to remove their names from such lists. They are just lists of people the DLC wishes it was associated with.

    Sort of like if I put together a list of "David's Friends" and wrote down Bill Clinton, Will Smith, etc.

  •  Be careful quoting Wikipedia (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In the area of politics, it is dominated by righwingnuttia. There are pitched battles on Wikipedia around hot button issues and, because blues are vastly outnumbered in the writing and editing of Wikipedia, much of what appears there concerning politics, especially political biographies, civil rights and nuclear weapons and a host of other subjects, should not be viewed as the last word because it is often ripped straight from the frontpagemagazine and worse (if there is worse.)

    That said, this caveat does not necessarily mean the Wikipedia discussion of DLC is invalid. Just be careful, and confirm/verify with trustworthy sources.

    •  Actually (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      the DLC entry seems to have been written by the left. Someone edited it to call Bob Casey a prominent DLC member voting for Alito.

      "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

      by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:03:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  well, it used to be there (0+ / 0-)

      looks like someone scrubbed that part.

      "Even the President of the United States sometimes must have to stand naked"-Dylan

      by AnnArborBlue on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:09:20 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Also from Wikipedia: (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      rogun, alizard

      More vocal critics believe the DLC has essentially become an influential corporate and right-wing implant in the Democratic party. Among the DLC's leadership are individuals with impressive right-of-center credentials, such as Marshall Wittmann, a senior fellow at the DLC and the former legislative director for the Christian Coalition, and Will Marshall, a cosigner of a letter issued by the Project for the New American Century (PNAC) endorsing not only the 2003 Invasion of Iraq, but also a foreign policy that has much in common with the neoconservative world-view. Finally, progressive detractors of the DLC note that the DLC receives funding from the right-wing Bradley Foundation as well as from corporate oil giants, military contractors, and a large number of Fortune 500 companies.

      Of course, feel free to check out those claims as well.

      •  that part of the Wikipedia entry is (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        why every time I reference the DLC in a discussion (other than this one), I directly link them to that pages. The DLC is something every Democrat needs to know about.

        BTW, the DLC has found an interesting way to finance it's affiliate organizations... see the Third Way Foundation Wikipedia link to an article partially quoted below.

        More wingnut and corporate money. Not unreasonable, one of the purpose for a political base is to pay for stuff. Just remember that to the DLC, corporations and perhaps, some of the most malignant elements of the GOP are the base, not us. Anyone who disputes this is invited to come up with an alternative reason why the people who funded and largely invented the RWNC would help a "Democratic" organization build a think-tank.

        The Third Way Foundation, formerly known as the Progressive Foundation, is an umbrella organization of New Democrats. The Progressive Policy Institute, the affiliated think tank of the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), is a project of the foundation.
        Table of contents [showhide]
        1 Personnel
        2 Political Funding

        2.1 As Third Way Foundation
        2.2 As Progressive Foundation
        2.3 Other notable contributors
        3 Corporate Funding

        3.1 As Third Way Foundation
        3.2 As Progressive Foundation
        4 Related SourceWatch Resources
        5 External Links

           * Chairman: Al From

        Political Funding
        As Third Way Foundation

           * Bradley Foundation

               * Third Way Foundation Inc. is funded in part by the Bradley Foundation and received $225,000 between 2000 and 2002, "to support the Progressive Policy Institute."

           * Howard Gilman Foundation
           * Ameritech Foundation
           * General Mills Foundation

        As Progressive Foundation

           * Bradley Foundation

               * The Progressive Foundation, Inc. is funded in part Bradley Foundation from whom it received $175,000 from 1996-1999 until Progressive Foundation was re-named Third Way Foundation.

        Other notable contributors

           * Smith Richardson Foundation
           * John M. Olin Foundation

        Looking for intelligent energy policy alternatives? Try here.

        by alizard on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:38:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Words and phrases (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    rmdewey, blueoasis

    change meaning over time as people use them to reflect ideas and concepts. While initially the meaning of DLC was very specific a case can be made that while incorrect DLC has come to symbolize Republican lite or not-so-lite.

    Since it has no membership it's become something different than originally intended. It's a shorhand for pro-war, pro-corporations and most importantly pro-Bush in terms of standing by a President who's arguably the worst President ever.

    It may not be accurate but when it's used around here "DLC" is understood by many, many people in a very specific way to capture DLC-like policies and beliefs in general and sort of anti-Dean-like.

    -4.25, -6.87: Someday, after the forest fire of the Right has died we'll say "Whew, I'm happy that's over."

    by CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:13:58 PM PST

  •  Thank you, Sir Ann. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Very useful diary.  Much appreciated.  The DLC needs to be suspect for the right reasons.

    Me?  I just enjoy seeing Hillary's name next to Lieberman's for political purposes.

    Sorry.  It's late.  One too many Mactarnahns.  The troll button is the one on the right.

    (-6.75, -6.24) George W. Bush deserves a fair trial.

    by CJB on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 10:28:21 PM PST

  •  DLC (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Is just a group pushing for a failed ideology: centrism.

    It's failed since many centrists can't get elected. Why? They lack principles. Having a political philosophy is fine but an ideology can become rigid and prevents further debate (like the free trade fans that whine about unions). Like communism and facism, it looks good on paper but it doesn't fly in reality. Time to abandon it and fix the problems neocons and neolibs have created.

  • last a factual statement (0+ / 0-)

    I appreciate the trouble and the time.

  •  The voice of the DLC is typically heard on TV (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DemDachshund, blueoasis

    representing ALL Democrats!

    It's time to be a Democrat!

    by annefrank on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:14:28 PM PST

  •  I try to be careful (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    When speaking of overly hawkish Dems, Dems that always want us to keep following the GOP to the right, Dems that openly condemn the liberal wing of the party (or people perceived to be a part of it because they call a spade a spade) more than they criticize the GOP, etc. I always say "DLC-type" or "DLCish", etc.  Because I often don't know if the person is part of the DLC, so I don't want to be inaccurate and just call them DLC.  I like to use "DLC-type" to describe such Dems because I can't think of an another adjective that describes that exact mentality. Perhaps there are no adjectives for it because it is arguably something kind of unique to our party and era.  Hopefully we are entering a new era.  

    Check out my lte archive at and feel free to use my ideas for your own lte's.

    by DemDachshund on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:16:54 PM PST

  •  whats the big deal about the dlc anyway (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I live in Oklahoma where all elected Dems have to be somewhat conservative. We have plenty of them, and I've never heard of a single one touting a DLC endorsement of any kind. They just don't seem to have much influence at all even where likeminded conservative Dems are in office. Progressive organizations like DFA are definitely on the upspring while the DLC continues to stagnate.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing"

    by dem4evr on Fri Mar 31, 2006 at 11:58:00 PM PST

  •  Good point about Casey (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm not from Penn., but I've heard and read great things about Casey's connection to the working class all over the state. And Santorum is not connected with  working class people, he's connected with K-Street class people.
    That's why Casey will win in November, not because he's "pro-life."

    It takes a Revolution to make a solution. -RNM

    by rpm5250 on Sat Apr 01, 2006 at 12:32:46 AM PST

  •  progressive punch (0+ / 0-)

    Some time ago I looked at the voting records of DLC Dems versus non-DLC Dems. I took the progressive punch scores for each of PP's major 10 categories and computed the average for DLCers versus non-DLCers.

    The result?

    DLCers are the same as Dems except on corporate/free trade issues. Even on these issues the are far better than Republicans. Corporate/free trade is actually the weakest way to make a distinction between Republicans and Democrats however since there are many anti-immigration anti-foreign Repubs occasionally cast "progressive" votes skewing the number.

    Excellent diary.

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