Free Markets, Free People
Well today’s a travel day and so I thought I’d jot down a few thoughts about the last two days before I hit the road.
A) I enjoyed it. Quite lively and quite a different experience. Apparently this was their largest attendance ever. Got to speak to a lot of people about a lot of subjects near and dear to my heart.
B) Great networking – met a great number of bloggers who I’ve read and admired over the years. Also met a number of media types which was cool as well.
C) The two people who literally packed the huge ballroom with thousands were Ron Paul, which came as no surprise, and Ann Coulter. Coulter was sharp and funny. She was asked afterwards during the Q&A who she favored in the 2012 race and she blurted out that the GOP needed to nominate Chris Christie or Romney would win it and the Republicans would lose. Frankly, that’s the scenario I see developing (Romney gets the nomination), but whether the GOP loses probably depends more on the economy’s state than whether it is Romney or not. Ron Paul won the straw poll which is essentially a throw-out and it’s the second place guy you look at. Romney took that with 23% and then it drops to about 6% apiece for all the other candidates (to include Newt Gingrich).
D) GOProud sort of crapped in their mess kit by doing a little name calling during the event. They killed a lot of good will they had earned up to that point. OTOH, those that boycotted were obviously not missed (see record attendance). Both GOProud and the boycotters need to grow up.
E) I wanted to say a public thank you to Tabitha Hale and Freedom Works for the outstanding job they did putting blogger’s row together. Probably about 50 or so bloggers there. Good libertarian contingent including Doug Mataconis from OTB who I finally got to meet. Anyway, taking care of bloggers is akin to herding cats but Tabitha was up to the job and things went very well there. It was a choice location with tables and power in a large room and a balcony a few steps away which overlooked the main floor of CPAC where bloggers could go out and listen to the speeches.
F) A good number of speakers and others came through blogger’s row and bloggers had an opportunity to interview and meet them. Yesterday former LTC and now Congressman Allen West came though and spent about 10 minutes with bloggers before he gave the keynote speech of CPAC. I like the guy (no Army prejudice or anything, heh). Here’s a link to the entire 10 minute interview if you’re interested (video).
Back to our regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.
The first day was spent sort of getting the lay of the land, meeting and greeting (new acquaintances and old friends), the Rumsfeld lunch and a few speeches.
Listened to Donald Trump talk – entertaining anyway – and heard him tell the Ron Paul crowd “your guy doesn’t have a chance”. The way he did it was a true laugh-out-loud moment. He’s right, but speaking of not having a chance, well I don’t think “the Donald” has much of one at all. But it was entertaining to see him stir up the Paul crowd.
Speaking of Paul’s, I listened to Rand Paul’s speech and was pretty pleased with what he had to say. He says the cuts the GOP is putting forward are insignificant and unacceptable. He mentioned that the amount is what government spends in 5 days. He also pointed out that both parties have budget projections that add more than three trillion to the debt. He said that must be cut and cut drastically. 100 billion of it, he claimed, could come from shutting down the Dept. of Education and returning schooling to where it belongs – with the states and local school boards.
That’s been a dream of the right for decades, in fact since the inception of the DoE. I have no idea if there’s the will or the stomach within Congress to address that, but Paul is right – cuts must be much more significant than those proposed. But given that after promising 100 billion they came up with 32 billion in cuts, I’m not that hopeful.
He also said, in so many words, that the GOP and Democrats are going to have to grow a pair and address entitlements, to include increasing the retirement age for both SS and Medicare. He was mostly greeted with enthusiastic applause from the crowd. How enthusiastic they’ll be when it comes time to cut spending and move the retirement age remains to be seen (in theory it’s all important and the “right thing to do”, but in reality, people have a tendency to back off – especially if it effects them).
Another bit of entertainment occurred during the award ceremony for former SecDef Rumsfeld. One of the surprise presenters was Dick Cheney who received a standing O from the audience as he came on the stage (and after a while finally took the mic and said “thank you, thank you, now sit down and shut up” – brought the house down). As things quieted down someone – exercising his right to free speech – shouted out, “you’re a war criminal”. The crowd then exercised its’ right to free speech and, chanting “USA, USA” essentially drown the fellow out as he was escorted from the floor. Cheney’ reaction was something along the lines of “I’m glad to see we’re still having spirited debate”. Some have claimed the shouter was a Ron Paul supporter – I have no idea who he was.
Last night I attended a Freedom Works function where The Atlas Society introduced the independent film production of “Atlas Shrugged”. We were privy to the first public viewing of scenes from the movie. I thought, “ok, indie film, mega challenging book, this might not end well”.
I was very impressed with the production values I saw in the clips we viewed. The acting was well done and while not name actors, are all people you’ve seen before in various supporting roles in movies and TV. And frankly, the word that kept coming to mind was “lush” as in a lush production – very pleasing to the eye and in the clips we saw, faithful to Rand’s book. Got to speak to both the executive director of the Atlas Society, David Kelly and Harmon Kaslow, the producer of the film. They were obviously interested in our reaction. You can find info about the movie here. It is actually a 2 part movie and this is part 1. It looks like an excellent attempt to bring Rand’s most famous book to life on the screen and will, I think, give a new generation – a video generation – a chance to experience the lessons taught by Rand in “Atlas”. And none too soon.
More to come from today. I’m staying in Arlington and commuting so I probably won’t show up there until around 10 but won’t miss much. Dressing for comfort today – hell, no one recognized me yesterday in a coat and tie. As Stephan Kruiser said last night, we’re not social people and usually we do what we do in the privacy of our basements in various stages of undress.
I have to admit that when I received an invitation to have lunch with former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld while I was in town for CPAC, I wasn’t sure what to expect. As with most public figures I’d seen him from afar through both the lens and filter of the national media. About 10 of us were invited in to meet and eat lunch with Sec. Rumsfeld and talk about his new book.
It included a group of pretty heavy hitters in the conservative sphere, including Conn Carroll of the Heritage Foundation, John Noonan and Mary Katherine Ham of the Weekly Standard, Matt Lewis late of AOL and now with the Daily Caller, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air, John Hinderaker of Powerline, Philip Klein of the American Spectator … and me (and yes, I was asking myself wtf am I doing here? The answer is a friend who managed to get me a seat at the table as a favor).
Sec. Rumsfeld arrived and immediately welcomed us and thanked us for joining him. He was gracious, engaging, humorous and both forthright and informative. The atmosphere was relaxed and convivial. It was an hour or so that seemed to fly by. Frankly I could have stayed there all day talking to the man – it was that enjoyable of a meeting. And hearing the history of events I had observed and written about first hand from one of the decision makers was, well, an incredible opportunity.
He was hit with all the questions one could imagine in that short time, but perhaps the one that I most appreciated was related to his offering to resign twice and President Bush refusing to accept either (as we all know, he did, in fact, tender his resignation a third time and it was accepted).
One of the resignations was offered after Abu Ghraib. You could tell, even now, that Sec. Rumsfeld was still both mad and upset about what had happened there, calling it “perverted”. It had a very negative impact on the image of the military, even if the perception was wrong and he was bothered by that.
He said that after the investigation he looked for someone he could hang it on because he felt someone had to take responsibility for what happened. But looking at the facts in the case there wasn’t really a single person in the chain of command he could validly point too and say “because of him or her, this happened”. He felt it left him no choice but to take responsibility himself. He was in charge, it happened on his watch, the damage was extensive and he thought he should fall on the sword and resign his position. President Bush refused to accept his resignation.
His point was about accountability, something he believes in strongly, but – as many of us have observed – no one seems to take very seriously anymore, especially in DC. He felt then and still does that he should have been the one to be held accountable for the Abu Ghraib fiasco. I thought that was pretty telling about the man and his sense of duty and honor.
Ed Morrissey has a lot more at Hot Air (Ed actually wrote his blog post as we sat there with Rumsfeld – Morrissey is a blogging machine) so be sure to give it a read.
After the meeting began breaking up (and I got my copy of his book signed), he spontaneously offered to take us around the office and show us the memorabilia he’d collected over the years. It was an incredibly impressive tour (picture on the right of yours truly and Ed Morrissey hearing Rumsfeld tell us about each item). This is a guy who has served numerous presidents in various capacities (to include two stints as SecDef) for decades. Additionally, he served as a Navy pilot before getting into public life.
Anyway, one of the pieces of memorabilia that really struck a chord with me was a mangled piece of metal. It was from the airliner that crashed into the Pentagon on 9/11. Rumsfeld had picked that up that day as he toured the damage, had it mounted and hung it on the wall in his office at the Pentagon so he could see it every day and be reminded of the job they had to do (you can see it below on the left– sorry for the photo quality, but you get the idea).
And while the meeting had a purpose, to publicize his new book, “Known and Unknown”, it was an event I’ll certainly not forget anytime soon. Later that day, Sec. Rumsfeld received the “Defender of the Constitution” award at CPAC. I think he’s very deserving of the award.
While there were some things I disagreed with him about during his tenure – and I’m certainly not here to pretend there weren’t problems during that time -I have to say my perception of the man changed significantly with this meeting. While I’ve had the book for a couple of days I’ve not had the opportunity to read it in full – only selected parts I was interested in for this meeting. And to all you folks who contributed questions, I apologize, I was only able to ask one and it concerned the “you go to war with the Army you have” comment and the fall out. When I brought it up, he laughed, pointed at me and said, “you’d better not say that in public, you might get in trouble”.
I’m looking forward to reading the book … I feel in know the era and events pretty intimately from the time I spent studying and writing about them. It’s going to be very interesting to read his version (with almost 100 pages of source notes) that was 4 years in the writing. I’ll be sure to post a review here when I finish.
Huge convention. Thus far I’ve seen few familiar faces. I’m mostly trying to get the lay of the land.
For those who submitted questions for former SecDef Rumsfeld, thank you and I’ll try. Well thought out for the most part and appreciated.
So? So off to find out what else is going on. Hot as hell in the blogger’s lounge. Mostly hot air I think – and I’m not talking about the blog. Just kidding.
There are a whole lot of folks who have been flapping their gums and saying the Muslim Brotherhood (MB) should be welcomed into the “process” in Egypt. Two things – right now the “process” is an active attempt to overthrow the government in place. I’m not saying it shouldn’t go or that’s a bad thing. I’m just saying let’s be cognizant of what the “process” is at the moment.
Two, as I’ve pointed out in the past and will continue to point out, the MB is a wolf is sheep’s clothing and quite content to say whatever the West wants to hear in order to be considered a legitimate organization bent on the democratic ideal of Western democracy.
To put it bluntly, that’s nonsense. They are and always have been an Islamist organization, i.e. their ideology is rooted in Islam and their method of choice is violent “jihad”. You simply have to look around the net and you can find countless examples of where their Arabic writings and speeches have been translated to understand the point. Don’t look at their English language site – it is designed to placate you. Root out what its leaders have been saying to, shall we say, more local audiences. When they talk of “liberation” they’re not talking about the type of Western freedom you and I assume by the word. They’re talking about something completely different.
Here’s an example from a book by Mustafa Mashhur, entitled “Jihad is the Way”. Mustafa Mashhur was the fifth General Guide, the official leader, of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt from 1996 until his death in 2002. He makes no bones about the duty of all Muslims as far as he’s concerned – and he certainly would be seen to speak for the MB’s attitude given he was their leader for 6 years.
Jihad is the way. We need to be fully aware of this and to act and follow in its way. The faltering of faith has led the Muslims to their current state: one of laxity, disintegration, the dominion of Allah’s enemies over the Muslim’s resources, and the succumbing of some of them to abandoning their faith. The revival of the faith is the starting point for the revival and revitalization of the Islamic Ummah [nation], so that it can regain its power and be liberated and assume its rightful position which was intended by Allah, as the most exalted nation among men , as the leaders of humanity, and through this religion of truth they will deliver humanity from darkness unto light.
You can read the rest at the link, plus there is a link in the cite with the full pdf. Obviously, encapsulated in that paragraph are the fundamental religious beliefs of the MB as they apply to their politics. Notice how he uses the word "liberated". You are “liberated” if you come under the power of Islam. It certainly refutes the claim of a willingness to establish a secular government as we understand it.
I’m simply saying don’t be fooled by this organization’s expressed willingness to establish a “secular democracy” in Egypt. Like many organizations of its type, it is willing to say anything – and most likely do anything, at least for a while – to establish itself in power. Once there it will justify its takeover in the name of Allah – all things being fair when establishing a theocracy, since all moves will have been ordained by the religion’s all powerful being.
Together with the power of faith, there is no escaping from the power of unity among the Muslims to unify efforts. Then comes the power of arms and weapons, when nothing else will suffice, and this is the role of Jihad. The Imam (Muslim religious leader) and Shahid (Martyr), Hassan al-Banna (founder of the Muslim Brotherhood) learned of the need for these three forces, from the biography of the Prophet [Muhammad], may Allah bless him and give him peace…
Fair warning – again.
Two points: Headed out on the road for DC, so light blogging today and possibly tomorrow.
Point two: will be having a lunch meeting (along with other bloggers) with former SecDef Donald Rumsfeld who published his book yesterday (Known and Unknown).
Save the snark and sarcasm for another time – if there are any serious questions about his time as SecDef you’d like for me to ask, put them in the comment section. Serious stuff only – like I said, limited time for me, so I’d prefer not to have to wade through other stuff. But this is QandO, it is a libertarian site, and I do know the strong anti-authoritarian streak that most of us have, so I’m not entirely hopeful … heh.
Wow … it has to be a pretty bald-faced lie when Obama can’t even get PolitiFact to cover for him:
In an interview on Super Bowl Sunday, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly asked President Barack Obama to react to a Wall Street Journal editorial that accused Obama of being "a determined man of the left whose goal is to redistribute much larger levels of income across society."
"Do you deny that you are a man who wants to redistribute wealth?" O’Reilly asked.
Obama first noted the conservatism of the Wall Street Journal’s editorial page, then denied the charge "absolutely."
"I didn’t raise taxes once. I lowered taxes over the last two years," Obama said.
And to deny his claim so emphatically:
The idea that Obama did not raise taxes is just plain wrong. He signed legislation raising taxes on cigarettes and other tobacco products soon after taking office; that money goes to pay for children’s health insurance programs. The law went into effect in 2009. He also signed the health care law, which includes taxes on indoor tanning that went into effect last year. (Regular PolitiFact readers will remember our fact-check of reality TV star Snooki and her complaint about the new tax last year.)
The new health care law also includes a tax on people who decide not to have health insurance, as an incentive for them to get coverage. The tax phases in gradually, starting in 2014. By 2016, the tax would be $695 per uninsured person up to a maximum of three times that amount, or $2,085. The law includes exemptions for people who can’t find affordable insurance, and a few other special circumstances.
More significantly, the health care law includes new taxes on the wealthy, starting in 2013. Individuals who make more than $200,000 and couples that make more than $250,000 will see additional Medicare taxes of 0.9 percent. They will also, for the first time, have to pay Medicare taxes on their investment income at a 3.8 percent rate. (Current law is that all workers and employers split a 2.9 percent Medicare tax; the self-employed pay all of it.)
Then, of course, there’s the tax increase that failed. Although he can’t be held responsible for the failure to enact it (the increase in taxes on “the rich”) it certainly wasn’t for a lack of trying.
Like I’ve said repeatedly, Obama has a real disadvantage this next election cycle – he actually has to run on a record for a change. And nonsense like this should and will be consistently confronted and shot down.
Not good for the image, Mr. Obama.
It must be getting uncomfortable legally for supporters of ObamaCare. They’re calling out the big guns. Today, we hear from Lawrence Tribe who attempts the usual arguments, but then spends a lot of time praising the justices of the Supreme Court (well, except Thomas, of course). There’s a reason for that as we’ll see.
Tribe first attempts to argue that the commerce clause is indeed applicable:
Since the New Deal, the court has consistently held that Congress has broad constitutional power to regulate interstate commerce. This includes authority over not just goods moving across state lines, but also the economic choices of individuals within states that have significant effects on interstate markets. By that standard, this law’s constitutionality is open and shut. Does anyone doubt that the multitrillion-dollar health insurance industry is an interstate market that Congress has the power to regulate?
Of course that’s not the argument. Few would argue, given precedent, that Congress does indeed have the power to regulate the insurance industry. They may find it to be a stretch and most likely not how the Founders envisioned the regulatory powers of Congress being used, but few can deny that’s the legal state of affairs today. But:
Many new provisions in the law, like the ban on discrimination based on pre-existing conditions, are also undeniably permissible. But they would be undermined if healthy or risk-prone individuals could opt out of insurance, which could lead to unacceptably high premiums for those remaining in the pool. For the system to work, all individuals — healthy and sick, risk-prone and risk-averse — must participate to the extent of their economic ability.
Note the emphasis – “the system” won’t work unless “all individuals” participate “to the extent of their economic ability”. So it’s not about the sick, it’s about system viability. A “system” which doesn’t yet exist takes precedence, because supporters want it, over the individual right to say “uh, no thanks”.
It also ignores those who presently pay their way. Yes, folks, there are some out there. And no, Tribe isn’t about to let them off the hook because they’re on the end of the economic spectrum where they’ll be paying full price for insurance and then some.
Back to the point – his argument is for the “system.” The “system”, imposed by Congress, must abrogate the individual’s right to make an economic choice based on his or her desires, needs or priorities because the system’s very existence depends on universal participation. That’s the tail wagging the dog. Our Constitutional system exists to protect individual rights and choices – not take them away. And this mandate is an abrogation of the “right to choose” (which the left only seems to want you to have when it comes to abortion) what economic activity an individual will participate in is dead.
In this regard, the health care law is little different from Social Security. The court unanimously recognized in 1982 that it would be “difficult, if not impossible” to maintain the financial soundness of a Social Security system from which people could opt out. The same analysis holds here: by restricting certain economic choices of individuals, we ensure the vitality of a regulatory regime clearly within Congress’s power to establish.
In 1982, Social Security had been around for decades. ObamaCare hasn’t taken the first payment by mandate. And the fact that Social Security had existed for decades and millions had been forced to pay into it (but had yet to recoup their payments) may have influenced the Court to find keeping Social Security. That’s not the case for ObamaCare. Tribe’s is an empty argument. There’s another difference. Personally, I think that Social Security is as unconstitutional as the ObamaCare mandate – but it is a fee taken in the form of taxation (even if it does end up being a mandated program). And that brings us to the core of the matter concerning ObamaCare:
Even if the interstate commerce clause did not suffice to uphold mandatory insurance, the even broader power of Congress to impose taxes would surely do so. After all, the individual mandate is enforced through taxation, even if supporters have been reluctant to point that out.
It possibly could – but then the law would most likely have to be rewritten to reflect that, and there’s a slim to none chance of that happening with a Republican House. In fact, this is the path the last Congress should have taken vs. an individual mandate. I don’t care how hard lawyers like Tribe argue that it is Constitutional, it doesn’t pass the Constitutional smell test. Congress is given the power to regulate the activity of interstate business actors. Opting not to buy something does not make you a part of that, no matter how badly supporters want that to be true. A decision not to buy is an individual choice that government has no business – and until this point – no right or power to compel one to change.
The danger here, of course, is given the precedent of Medicare and Social Security, I fear a tax would pass Constitutional muster, given the expansion of powers SCOTUS has granted Congress since FDR.
Tribe outlines his arguments as if they’re open and shut. They’re not – in fact, to a layman they appear pretty darn weak (well other than the tax, which hasn’t a chance, at least at the moment, of passing). The indication that they weak comes from the rest of the article where he appeals to the integrity and consistency of the justices and his appeal to do the right thing and find this all Constitutional. Tribe’s entire argument, and that of supporters, is individuals, at some point in their lives, must use the health care system. Therefore, they must make a “commercial decision” about how to pay for it. It is that decision that Tribe says constitutes the basis for Congress to assume the power to dictate how they’ll pay. It is nonsense on a stick (and it doesn’t take a very bright person to see the future implications of such a finding).
In fact, Allahpundit of Hot Air sees this op/ed for what it really is. It certainly isn’t about the pedestrian legal arguments, as they’re the same ones many on the left have been making since ObamaCare was challenged and found unconstitutional. It is in fact an op/ed to set up a narrative if the court should not find in favor of the ObamaCare law. Tribe spends the entire 2nd half of his op/ed praising the justices and calling on them to do their constitutional duty and dispel the rumor that they’re “political” animals. This, says Allahpundit, is why Tribe wrote the piece:
His goal here isn’t to persuade Times readers that he’s correct on the legal merits; his goal is to persuade Times readers that if the Supreme Court disagrees with him, it is, must, and can only be because they’re right-wing hacks with no regard for the Constitution or for precedent. It’s transparent narrative-building for liberal bien-peasants, a way of moving the Overton window so that any unfavorable ruling, notwithstanding the legal novelty of the mandate or the reasoning of the majority opinion, must be illegitimate. Which is to say, it’s a nakedly political argument dressed up as a plea to keep politics out of law.
Exactly … pretty transparent for a Harvard Law professor whose hubris is such that he sees himself smarter than just about anyone else. Here he comes across as a political hack and water carrier for the administration. It also tells me that the administration, even with their public pronouncements of faith that the challenges will fail, think they’re in trouble.
As mentioned in the previous posts, the Blue Dogs in Congress aren’t feeling the love from minority leader (don’t you love that title) Nancy Pelosi and the crew. And that may have a beneficial effect for the GOP.
Blue dogs didn’t feel the love of voters last November either, with about half of them going down to defeat after they supported the health care law. Message sent, message received. Sooo … they’re taking a look at the Republican budget and some are saying (surprise, surprise) it might be something they can support:
Blue Dog Democrats might support a plan from House Republicans to cut $32 billion in discretionary spending this year, a spokesman for the fiscally conservative bloc said Monday.
Rep. Mike Ross (D-Ark.) said the Blue Dogs are waiting to see the details of the proposed GOP cuts before taking a position. The draft legislation from the House Appropriations Committee is due on Thursday.
Now, of course, the GOP doesn’t need a single Democrat in the House to pass the budget. Just as the Democrats didn’t need a single Republican to pass health care. But having a “bi-partisan” budget with significant enough Democratic support to call it that (and not snicker) would put more pressure on Democrats elsewhere.
But the comments from Ross and other Blue Dogs suggest at least some of the coalition’s members are willing to defect from their party and vote for the plan despite the vocal opposition of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).
Last week Pelosi rejected the GOP plan and said that $32 billion in proposed cuts “will come at the expense of economic growth and American jobs.”
“We must put our fiscal house in order, beginning with an aggressive attack on waste, fraud and abuse; but we must do so without jeopardizing targeted investments that are helping the private sector grow and hire new workers,” Pelosi said.
Got to love it — “waste, fraud and abuse”, the fall back of those who don’t intend to cut a dime while still talking about cutting spending. No one ever does anything about “waste, fraud and abuse” except talk about it. No one. And If Ms. Pelosi is so fired up about aggressively attacking it, why wasn’t that a priority when she was Speaker?
However the GOP doesn’t get off Scott free either – what happened to the $100 billion in cuts promised prior to the election? Why $32 billion (one of the questions I plan on asking Paul Ryan if I get the chance)?
Anyway, back to the point at hand – minority leader Pelosi is simply reaping a bit of what she’s sown:
The Blue Dog openness to the GOP comes amid strained relations with Pelosi. On Monday, Blue Dog leader Rep. Heath Shuler (N.C.), who challenged Pelosi for the job of Democratic leader in the 112th Congress, said the coalition has been shut out by the leader’s office.
So, no surprise – the Blue Dogs aren’t liberal enough for the leadership (yes that’s today’s theme). In fact, they recently met with Bill Clinton to plot a bit of strategy:
The 26-member Blue Dog Coalition met Monday in New York with former President Clinton to discuss ways to move a centrist political agenda through a divided Congress. Clinton advised the group on ways to handle the situation and discussed budget, housing and energy policy, Rep. Jim Matheson (D-Utah) said.
“One of the reasons we invited President Clinton was he had to work with Republicans after the ’94 election,” Ross said.
Now you know if that coalition is plotting a “move to a centrist political agenda”, it along with just about everyone else have decided that the “main stream” Democrats are way to the left of them. And they may find more leverage with the opposing party by being the designated “bi-partisan” validator with some “compromise” from the GOP to include some of their ideas.
And Nancy and the gang? Out in the cold gobbling on about “waste, fraud and abuse”. About the only real example of waste, fraud and abuse I’ve seen is the minority leader herself. A waste of time, a fraud as a representative of the people and an abuse of power all rolled up into one liberal politician. Can we do away with her? It will certainly save taxpayers money.
Yesterday I mentioned the problems the more conservative among Democrats were having identifying with the Democratic party. Blue Dogs in Congress have all but been ostracized by the Democratic leadership there, Southern Democrats (at a state level) are increasingly changing parties citing the move to the left by the national Democratic party and finally, today, we learn that the Democratic Leadership Council is closing its doors.
That may be the final nail in the claim of Democrats to be “main stream” as a national party.
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals had long been fading from its mid-’90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of "triangulation" at a moment when there’s little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right.
In talking about big tents and little tents, it appears that the Democrats have chosen to go with the smaller version. It has been captured by the liberal side of the house (at the moment) and anyone who has watched that side of the house do business over the years (that includes politicians, pundits and bloggers) know there is little room for dissent in the ranks. The DLC falls victim not to attacks from the right, but from attacks from the left. The formula which arguably made Bill Clinton the most successful Democratic president since FDR has been chucked out the window for a new and much more radical approach to governance (and no I’m not suggesting Clinton and FDR were alike in their governance).
The DLC’s demise simply puts an exclamation point on the oft cited move to the left by Democrats. What was once seen as “the working man’s party” has since become the party of radicals and unions. All that’s left of the DLC is their think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute. But one has to wonder what relevance it will have among the new Democratic party.
All this to point out that when Democrats, as they like to do, claim that the GOP has been captured by radicals, one only has to rebut that claim by holding up a mirror. Obviously, given the move to the left, Bill Clinton would be much to conservative for today’s national Democrat.
The unfortunate thing is you’d think this would be wonderful news for the GOP. But if you’re watching the lineup for 2012 unfold, in the presidential race, it is so 2008 it is sickening. Certainly Obama faces something he’s never faced before – he actually has to run on his record – but I’m not sure, given the lineup today, that’s a particularly tough hill for him to climb. And while I know there are quite a few “almost ready” types who might be mighty contenders in 2016, the field for 2012 – at least at this point – is not impressive in my opinion.
Anyway, back to the topic at hand – the demise of the DLC is definitely election fodder for the GOP to capitalize on. They have a basis to claim the national Democratic party is too radical for the US. They also have all sorts of examples – bailouts, takeovers, over regulation, the health care bill.
Let’s see if they can build and sell the message to their advantage.