August 1, 2002


DLC assail Bush, Gore (Donald Lambro, August 1, 2002, THE WASHINGTON TIMES)
The two-day DLC conference in New York, which drew about 800 Democrats from around the country, presented a parade of presidential contenders who devoted most of their speeches to attacking President Bush on the declining stock market and the weakened economy.

But much of what they said was overshadowed by unusually sharp criticism from the party against Al Gore's populist "the people vs. the powerful" message that key Democratic leaders said had turned off many voters in the 2000 election.

Not only did DLC Chief Executive Al From accuse the former vice president of sounding too anti-business, but Mr. Gore's 2000 running mate, Sen. Joseph I. Lieberman, also made some indirect jabs, saying that an "us vs. them" strategy fails to attract moderate, pro-growth, investor-class voters.

If he decides to run for president in 2004, Mr. Lieberman said he would run "as the pro-growth candidate."

Such criticism of their former nominee had some liberal Democrats complaining loudly that the party's more-conservative wing was pursuing the wrong campaign strategy.

"You've got to wonder about making this a theme when the country is demanding action on corporate reform," said Roger Hickey, co-director of Campaign for America's Future, a liberal issue advocacy group. "It magnifies the division between those who want to lead in cleaning up corporate crime and establishing new rules for corporate behavior and those who want to assure corporate America that they are on their side no matter what.

"Here you have Lieberman lecturing the party that they should be very worried that they should not be seen as too anti-corporate. Their sense of issues is pretty off-base at the present time," Mr. Hickey said.

"The DLC and people like Sen. John Breaux [Louisiana Democrat] are pointing the party in a politically stupid direction," he said.

For eight years now, since the GOP Revolution, and aided by the bunker mentality of the Clinton scandals and the Florida debacle, Democrats have been artificially united by their opposition to conservative Republicanism. They've not had to face the many forces at work which will tend to disunify the Party and maybe even lead to its eventual disintegration. In particular, the Clinton/Gore ticket, which was quite openly premised on the idea that it was better to win the White House with two fairly conservative, white, Southern men than to hew to party ideology and remain in the wilderness, put the Party squarely in bed with various corporate interests. This sets up a terrific tension between the core of the party, which is fundamentally anti-business, and both the money men of the Party and many of the leaders of the Clinton era Party.
Posted by Orrin Judd at August 1, 2002 9:30 PM
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