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.