Monday, August 01, 2005
The DLC: Killing the Democratic Party One Election At a Time
C-Span's Road to the Whitehouse carried speeches at the DLC gathering in Columbus, Ohio last week by new DLC chairman and Iowa Governor, Tom Vilsack and HRC.
I was anxious to hear what Vilsack had to say, figuring he might be a candidate in 2008 and could make the race more interesting by essentially eliminating the influence of the Iowa caucuses.
So how was his speech and what did he have to say?
Well, he repeated the word "extraordinary" or some variation thereof about a dozen times.
And he laid out his four-point plan for blowing next year's congressional elections and the 2008 presidential one:
1. SECURITY Be really, really super duper tough on them terrorists, just like the Republicans, except we'll do more to protect ports and transportation networks; No doubts expressed about the Iraqi venture, which in 2008 I suspect will still be playing host to 100,000+ of our troops.
2. OPPORTUNITY Um, something about the economy, better education, health care "security", and this and that. Not much specifics here, but then, that's the DLC approach.
3. VALUES Let the families of American know "we're with them" and will help protect their kids from violence on TV.
4. REFORM Anti-gerrymandering legislation.
Beyond this, there were a number of insertions of RESPONSIBILITY, you know, just like the Republicans. We or you should all be more responsible. Nothing about LIBERTY or FREEDOM or RIGHT to PRIVACY. Nothing about the Patriot Act. Nothing about ensuring the separation of church and state, which is under assault by conservative Republicans. Maybe that doesn't poll well. Anyway, the DLC just wants us to be "positive." After all, we just can't be anti-everything.
And the DLC has this rather creepy way of talking about COMMUNITY. This is apparently one of their poll-tested, focus group honed buzzwords of choice. From the mouths of regular Democrats this term sounds OK, but from the mouths of the DLC it sounds like something from out of 1984.
The whole show was pretty disturbing; something about this organization just makes me want to be sure I've got a crucifix, stake and garlic in my bag.
Spookiest of all is when the camera turns on DLC front man Al From. He's a spitting image of Vlad the Impaler. I wonder if he proof-reads and censors these speeches. I had the feeling like the speakers were aiming for his approval.
Finally, wondering over to the DLC site this morning I happened upon a roll call of their distinguished past leadership list:
Gov. Tom Vilsack is the ninth DLC chair since the organization's founding in 1985. Earlier chairs included Rep. Richard Gephardt of Missouri, Gov. Chuck Robb of Virginia, Sen. Sam Nunn of Georgia, Gov. Bill Clinton of Arkansas, Sen. John Breaux of Louisiana, Rep. Dave McCurdy of Oklahoma and Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut.
I'm sure you all, like me, remember the fond days when Chuck Robb helped the Democratic presidential candidate carry Virginia. And I'm sure you all, like me, remember fondly the days when Dave McCurdy helped Democrats make Oklahoma blue, don't you? And what more can be said about John Breaux, whose LA seat was taken by a Republican. And Sam Nunn who hasn't been seen or heard from since 1988.
With Dean at the DNC helm (after no DLC backed candidates could convince anyone they had anything to offer), and several presidential aspirants notably absent from the DLC promotional, we should anticipate a visible split between DLC and non-DLC candidates and campaigns in 2008.
Representing the DLC:
The DLC talk last night was so simultaneously vague and anti-Dean, mainstream Democratic Party, it makes me think that we aren't too many election cycles away from a third party campaign.