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The new CEO of the DLC says their mission is nearly accomplished. [View All]

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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Apr-25-09 07:11 PM
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The new CEO of the DLC says their mission is nearly accomplished.
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Bruce Reed, the new CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council, has declared their mission of getting the party back in power has been completed. They are claiming credit and perhaps they are right to do so. The power, the money, the way that progressive Democrats were pushed out of races so conservatives could run indicate he may just be right.

There are other indications, like which leaders are on the outside looking in, and which ones are close at hand to the seat of power.

CQ Politics posted an article on April 11 in which they spoke of the new DLC. They spoke of the new CEO's close friendship with Rahm Emanuel, and how it will expedite getting their views heard.

Bruce Reed: The political mission of the DLC has been largely accomplished"

Yes, it may have been.

REED: Only the second CEO the DLC has ever known. (CQ / SCOTT J. FERRELL)

The political mission of the DLC has been largely accomplished, said Reed, whos had the groups No. 2 post since 2001. Twenty-five years ago, the forgotten middle class had serious doubts about Democrats, and now Democrats are winning the middle class, suburban voters, moderates by handsome margins. Our next challenge is to deliver on that promise and earn those votes for years to come.

Its a familiar dilemma in Washington: How can an insurgent group that helped navigate a long-term path to power re-invent itself in a drastically different political landscape? To preserve its market viability, the DLC must now create the same sense of urgency for helping the governing party stay in power as it did for shaking up an ailing party that was losing its grip on power.

They are effectively claiming they got us back in power. I am in awe that they are claiming to be an "insurgent" group.

More in the article about "The Emanuel Factor":

The DLCs trump card over the next few years, however, will be the close relationship Reed has with Rahm Emanuel , the White House chief of staff and a committed centrist with a policy wonks appetite for new ideas. The two worked together in the Clinton White House and in 2006 co-wrote The Plan, a book-length roster of policy suggestions for Democrats. Their ideas which included three months of national service for all young adults, expanded access to college and broader health coverage for children are generally in line with the agenda Obama is pursuing now, such as the AmeriCorps expansion he is about to sign into law.

Emanuel and Reed still talk frequently, so its safe to assume that whatever ideas the DLC generates under Reed will have the White Houses ear. Rahm and I wrote a whole book of ideas that were deeply committed to, and he still keeps asking for more, Reed said.

The next paragraphs define their goals. They are considering President Obama one of them. They are not supposed to support candidates, but I imagine the congressional committees are pretty beholden to this group. And those committees define the candidates.

A Bluer Shade of Purple

Although the DLC, as a nonprofit, cant endorse candidates, Obama was never the Democratic presidential candidate who seemed closest to the organization. That honor belonged to Hillary Rodham Clinton Obamas former rival and now secretary of State who chaired the DLCs American Dream Initiative, which developed a 2006 agenda to improve the middle-class safety net and cut wasteful spending. The role was hardly surprising, given both Clintons longtime relationship with the DLC: Bill Clinton chaired the organization before his 1992 election as president, and the group supplied him with many of the centrist ideas he brought into the White House.

Reed said hes pinning some of his hopes for the groups future on Obamas promise to break through the constraints of partisan politics. The notion that Obama might be receptive to the DLCs ideas gained strength recently after the president told members of the Houses New Democrat Coalition that he considered himself one of them. He said, Listen, I feel comfortable with you guys because I consider myself a New Democrat, said Ron Kind of Wisconsin, one of the lawmakers at the meeting.

There is that warning again about being partisan.

No, they are not supposed to endorse or define candidates for any office. Yet there was a very definite and shocking moment in time when they did just that. They actually declared a man unfit to be the candidate.

DLC said Dean was not the man to be the candidate, not the man to defeat Bush.

They did it publicly, they called a press conference to do so. It never got much press, but they did it.

The 'D' in DLC Doesn't Stand for Dean (David Von Drehle, May 15, 2003, Washington Post)

More than 50 centrist Democrats, including Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, met here yesterday to plot strategy for the "New Democrat" movement. To help get the ball rolling they read a memo by Al From and Bruce Reed, the chairman and president of the Democratic Leadership Council. The memo dismissed Dean as an elitist liberal from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the party -- "the wing that lost 49 states in two elections, and transformed Democrats from a strong national party into a much weaker regional one."

"It is a shame that the DLC is trying to divide the party along these lines," said Dean spokesman Joe Trippi. "Governor Dean's record as a centrist on health care and balancing the budget speaks for itself."

As founder of the DLC, From has been pushing the Democratic Party to the right for nearly 20 years. He was in tall cotton, philosophically speaking, when an early leader of the DLC, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. As Clinton's domestic policy guru, Reed pushed New Democrat ideas -- such as welfare reform -- that were often unpopular with party liberals.

"We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."

They have controlled and are still defining the party in their preferred mode...a conservative one.

This one paragraph from the CQ Politics article defines their philosophy. Instead of encouraging the party to keep these 49 districts to which they refer, they seem to have a philosophy that to preserve those seats we must be as much like the other party as possible.

On a broader level, though, the group will face the same tension affecting the entire party: the sense among liberals that their ship has come in, as (Ron) Kind puts it and that, as a result, the need for moderation and compromise in Democratic politics has passed. But Democrats only have that majority because theyre holding on to seats that could easily return to Republican hands. In the House, for example, 49 districts that elected Democrats were carried by Republican John McCain at the top of the presidential ticket in 2008.

The same old mantra, watch out for those liberals...and let's be bipartisan. Tricky ground for Obama to navigate. A party is defined at times like these by those who are left looking in from the outside of the inner circle.

Maybe our "ship has come in", but it won't matter unless we fight to get their attention.
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