August 1, 2005


Clinton's Pact With Centrist Council Offers Risk and Reward (Ronald Brownstein, August 1, 2005, LA Times)

It's easy to identify benefits for each side. While her husband was president, Hillary Clinton was often seen as a champion of the Democratic left. But since her Senate campaign in 2000, she's mostly aimed for the center.

The DLC post could help anchor her there. Since the group was formed in 1985, it's pretty much held the franchise for Democratic moderation. If Clinton runs for president in 2008, the DLC's stamp of approval will make it tougher for any Democratic rival to portray her as an unelectable leftist. "Getting that DLC moniker around her name is very beneficial," says a Democratic operative involved with another potential 2008 contender.

While the DLC offers Clinton credentials, she offers the group credibility. The council's influence crested while Bill Clinton, its former chairman, held the White House. But since his departure, it has struggled to find a productive role. Liberal activists routinely deride the DLC formula of moderate "third-way" policies aimed at swing voters as irrelevant to an era of intense political polarization.

In that environment, allying with Hillary Clinton, the early frontrunner for the 2008 Democratic nomination, allows the DLC to affirm its relevance today and plant seeds for tomorrow. Clinton's name on the cover ensures a bigger audience for its project to shape the party's direction.

The problem is that Clinton and the DLC may find their directions subtly diverging as the project unfolds.

Mr. Brownstein's analysis, based on the notion that New Democrats have a different direction than the Party's Left, is at least five years out of date, as revealed last week when 38 of the 43 DLC members in the House -- and, as he notes, Ms Clinton herself -- voted against free trade and with the protectionists. There's is no New Democratic movement any longer, so Ms Clinton faces no pressure to change her politics but benefit from the illusion that she's in with the moderates.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2005 10:06 AM

True. She doesn't have to 'woo' moderates in the party; she just has to keep praying for her media shield to hold firm.

No sign that will EVER change.

Posted by: jim hamlen at August 1, 2005 10:15 AM

She has to woo moderates outside the Party.

Posted by: oj at August 1, 2005 10:20 AM

Her media may well hold firm, but to what avail? It's our alternate media that will carry the day by telling the truth.

Congratulations to our newest Ambassador John Bolton. Go get 'em tiger.

Just a tiny bit of advice for Mr. Bolton. If anyone has his ear, please tell him to stop using Grecian Formula and let his hair go white or whatever color it really is. He'll look a lot better and cut off at the knees the cartoonists who at this very moment are drooling in anticipation of drawing his caricature.

Posted by: erp at August 1, 2005 11:07 AM

2000 was the last time the msm "shield" was effective. she has missed her chance now that blogs are so prevalent.

Posted by: cjm at August 1, 2005 11:08 AM

The DLC, which really did serve a useful purpose in the 80s and until Clinton's election, is completely co-opted by the Democratic left. They sold their souls for power to get Slick Willie elected and now they are trapped with no power base to operate from. Organized labor is in splinters. The traditional Southern and conservative Big City ethnic Democrats are no more, having been alienated by the behavior of the Clintons or co-opted into giving up social conservatism for a mess of pottage.

Only the Brownsteins of the world, who are trying to bamboozle Americans into believing that Hillary Clinton is anything other than an America-hating Marxist crook, think what they say matters anymore.

Posted by: bart at August 1, 2005 2:10 PM

Self-awareness more than belief is what seperates the DLC from the rest of the party right now. The DLC types may agree with the rest of the party on 90 percent of the issues, but they know what it looks like to have a bunch of people running around making outlandish, incendiary charges in public.

If the DLC and Hillary had their way, they'd slide to the right on those 10 percent of items they split with the far left on -- mainly war on terror related -- and limit the outlandish, incendiary charges to discussions behind closed doors or at small political fundraisers where no cameras are present.

Posted by: at August 1, 2005 5:17 PM