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Snubbing the Centrists?


Bill Clinton was a stalwart of the Democratic Leadership Council during his presidency. He'll be at the group's meeting in Nashville today, but none of the Democrats running for president this year plan to join him. (AP).

The story line almost writes itself: Democratic president candidates snub centrists but plan to court liberal bloggers. Another sign of the party's leftward drift?

That's the easy and partially correct interpretation of what is happening this week. But not the whole story.

In the past two years, the Democratic Leadership Council's (DLC's) annual summer meeting has been a Mecca for would-be candidates. Two years ago, Hillary Clinton was there along with three Democrats who have since fallen by the wayside: Evan Bayh, Mark Warner and Tom Vilsack. Last year in Denver, Clinton among others was there again.

Today, none of the presidential candidates will be in Nashville to address the group that helped redefine the Democratic Party in the late '80s and early '90s -- but the man who did most to put the DLC on the map and who used it as a springboard to the presidency, Bill Clinton, will be.

The candidates cite scheduling conflicts for their absence in Nashville, but a number of them have found time later this week to address the second Yearly Kos convention in Chicago--a clear sign of the ascendance of the blogosphere's influence on politics generally and the Democratic Party in particular.

After George Bush's reelection in 2004, Democrats were absorbed in a discussion about how they could do a better job of winning votes in rural areas, how they could speak about religion and values in a more authentic and open way, how they could compete in fast-growing exurban areas that were leaning heavily toward the GOP. That was the focus of attention at the DLC in 2005.

At her appearance that year, Clinton unexpectedly got crosswise with the bloggers by admonishing everyone in the party to avoid too much internecine warfare. Daily Kos called her comments "truly disappointing." At the time, it was apparent that she was only beginning to understand how the balance of power within the party was changing.

Even then, the DLC was joining in the bash-Bush sentiment that was widespread throughout the party. But a long-term relationship with Joe Lieberman clouded the DLC's anti-Bush messages and the DLC remained at odds with party liberals over national security, terrorism and Iraq. But in other ways, the DLC has accommodated the changing attitudes among Democrats. Vilsack sought a rapprochement with organized labor, with which the DLC had warred.

The DLC's period of greatest influence came when it provided not only fresh ideas for a party badly in need of them, but also a willingness to create the friction necessary to spark real debate about the party's future. That's far less necessary now, given the confluence within the party on many issues -- and the collective desire to put aside what differences remain and focus on winning the White House in 2008.

There's no question that presidential candidates see more energy and activism on the left right now. There's also no question that candidates want to be seen embracing what is new, and anything related to the intersection of the internet and politics holds a fascination now for candidates seeking the Democratic nomination.

Hillary Clinton and the other Democratic candidates won't be in Nashville, but Bill Clinton will be. But that ought not to be taken as a sign that whoever becomes the Democratic nominee won't be focused on the center of the electorate at this time next year.

The Democratic Party has moved to the left since Bill Clinton left office and many independents have moved toward the Democrats because of the Iraq war. But DLC officials predict the party's nominee almost certainly will be at next summer's gathering.

Whether that proves true or not, now is the time when candidates pay maximum attention to their party's base -- whether Iowa caucusgoers or liberal bloggers. By next summer, their priorities and their horizons will be broader.

-- Dan Balz

By Post Editor  |  July 30, 2007; 1:26 PM ET
Categories:  A_Blog , Dan Balz's Take  
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Comments

It's very simple. Will the country be served better by a Republican or a Democrat in the White House - starting January 2009, in areas that really matter to the majority of Americans.

How will we leave Iraq and what consequences will attach to the way we leave?

What will we do about health care? This is very important to the boomer generation, their children, their grandchildren and everyone else.

What tax polices will be implemented under a new administration? Will the Bush tax cuts be rescinded in 2010?

The new President will have the opportunity to appoint Supreme Court justices. This is extremely important as we've seen this term.

It's hard to exaggerate the importance of these questions for the future of America.

Back to the primaries, everyne knows politicians pander to their party base during the primaries, then try to move to the center once they get their nominations. This is not new, but is unfortunately a requrement in the system we live in now. Which is disgusting.

It's a shame that the mainstream media is more concerned about the 'horserace' than with the ideas the candidate may have. This is also disgusting. They've failed us, big time.

Posted by: kdbracher | July 31, 2007 1:04 AM | Report abuse

The goal is to make sure we can get the government back. Not for democrats but for the Constitution. If democrat will promise checks and balences as well as structural inclusion of republicans then you can win better than 60% of middle electorate and not the "base". I understand how extremists think they need to make compromises but moderates do that with no sweat or double talk and we just need to get rid of the Bushreich.

Posted by: ricinro85212 | July 30, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

The goal is to make sure we can get the government back. Not for democrats but for the Constitution. If democrat will promise checks and balences as well as structural inclusion of republicans then you can win better than 60% of middle electorate and not the "base". I understand how extremists think they need to make compromises but moderates do that with no sweat or double talk and we just need to get rid of the Bushreich.

Posted by: ricinro85212 | July 30, 2007 11:49 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't Bruce Reed work for Hillary now? Or Lieberman?

What frigging losers. Their holier than thou, paternalistic condecension toward anyone who disagreed with them during the last Presidential cycle was pathetic.

Obama is the centrist. From, Reed and Lieberman are simply irrelevant dinasaurs now.

Posted by: MilesLong | July 30, 2007 11:48 PM | Report abuse

a)How many people can the DLC mobilize?

b)How many people can the liberal blogs mobilize?

The answer to a) is none and and the answer to b) is millions.

That is really all you need to know about why the candidates are going to Yearly Kos and are not going to the DLC meeting.

Posted by: pwkennedy | July 30, 2007 11:35 PM | Report abuse

i think the "left" will sell, the right's increase in spending and government don't fit well with the voters and with the used to be middle class.

Posted by: somec47 | July 30, 2007 11:26 PM | Report abuse

Stupid Liberals... With a 50/50 divided country, shruging one group could cost you the election. And believe it or not, "LEFT" doesn't sell across America.

Posted by: AlbyVA | July 30, 2007 11:02 PM | Report abuse

it has been long time when the dlc had a party in sacramento. pete wilson was our governor. he was there too with many state republicans. the dlc was thought to be a revolutionary idea, then, which was what? making one party? well, i born in a one party country. all i can tell you, i would like to see dlc as being a separate party among with dnc and gop, plus a labor party (not the english type, more like italian). the farmers need a party too. and the independent and conservatives. the dems and repub holding all these good folks as a hostige in their power concentrated parties and that's why we have a very low voter's turn up. thank you.

Posted by: somec47 | July 30, 2007 10:08 PM | Report abuse

I think the number of Republicans who think that merely calling people "liberal" or "left" is pathetic. One person I saw called "Haight Ashbury" an insult. I've been there, it's a nice little corner in a vibrant section of a pretty cool city.

We "on the left" would rather point out the growing problems in this country regarding healthcare, the environment, oil dependence, a shrinking middle class, our standing in the world, our eroding constitutional rights... point them out and provide SOLUTIONS for them.

We see that where the left wing falters and does not deliver on its promises are only in those matters where we capitulate to a corpratist and evangilist radical right that has taken over the whole of the GOP.

Posted by: pdxgeek | July 30, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hey Birvin9999,

The Democratic Party is the only party to balance the budget in the last 50 years. So stop with the false characterizations. In fact, the last Dem President to do it was Hillary's husband. And don't start with that stuff that a GOP Congress made him do it. That's a load of bull. The deficit was cut by over 60% during Clinton's first term alone---all of that deficit reduction came from the 1993 budget plan which passed without one single GOP vote. The surplus that emerged during the second Clinton term was more the result of a fast growing economy rather than anything the GOP did to insist on fiscal discipline. Each of the major candidates on the Dem side is committed to fiscal responsibiloity and a strong defense. 9-11 or the Iraq war would not have happened under a President Gore, and the military would be strong today instead of the shell of its former greatness that even military officials admit that is currently the case.

Posted by: khyber900 | July 30, 2007 9:17 PM | Report abuse

Hillary a leftist? Where's your planet? She's a hawk, if there ever was one, and while I'm not too excited about her I can't wait until the swift boats attack: she'll have the big guns and torpedoes ready. More power to her.

Posted by: nstephens | July 30, 2007 9:16 PM | Report abuse

We believe in AMNESTY FOR EVERONE and separate schools for those who prefer to speak Farsi or Spanish and no E pluribus unum. We belive in the rights of jihadists and drug cratel members and all minorities who deserve to cross the border whenever they wish.

We do not believe in Centrist American radicals! We are the Democrats! Love, Hillary Clinton

Posted by: Patriot1 | July 30, 2007 8:11 PM | Report abuse

We believe in AMNESTY FOR EVERONE and separate schools for those who prefer to speak Farsi or Spanish and no E puribus unum. We belive in the rights of jihadists and drug cratel members and all minorities who deserve to cross the border whenever they wish.

We do not believe in Centrist American radicals! We are the Democrats! Love, Hillary Clinton

Posted by: Patriot1 | July 30, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

The candidates "snubbed" including HRC, but Bill waws present????

So the title of this story is misleading, since Bill was actually helping HRC.

This story is not complete.

EXACTLY what was the response from EACH of the candidates?


This story is astro turf.

Posted by: kelargo | July 30, 2007 8:10 PM | Report abuse

if the DLC is embraced by the bush apologist/enabler Lie-berman (I-Israel) that alone is reason enough to ignore them.

bush/cheney/lie-berman the axis of incompetence and liars.

Posted by: thromulese | July 30, 2007 8:02 PM | Report abuse

I only wish that the general electorate were as astute as most of the people posting today. Yes, the DLC is a right-wing organization, well to the right of the political "center" on most economic and social issues, and the same goes for the Post itself.

Unfortunately, however, I think the DLC/WaPo types are correct in claiming to represent the political center when it comes to issues of national security and the so-called "war on terror." The MSM has relentlessly promoted the GOP spin on those topics, and with considerable success. So, unless the Democrats can come up with a candidate who is viewed as sufficiently "tough," they will not take back the White House.

Posted by: lydgate | July 30, 2007 7:50 PM | Report abuse

MY DOG WOULD BE A BETTER PRESIDENT THAN GEORGE. MAYBE THE DLC WOULD LIKE TO HAVE MY DOG SPEAK.

Posted by: DOUGPA13AOLCOM | July 30, 2007 7:41 PM | Report abuse

New York Times layout people. You may have recently revamped the NYT layout and content but your comment section is at the END of comments rather than at the end of the ARTICLE like in Washington Post, which is the most logical place for your:

Post a Comment
We encourage users to analyze, comment on and even challenge washingtonpost.com's articles, blogs, reviews and multimedia features.

User reviews and comments that include profanity or personal attacks or other inappropriate comments or material will be removed from the site. Additionally, entries that are unsigned or contain "signatures" by someone other than the actual author will be removed. Finally, we will take steps to block users who violate any of our posting standards, terms of use or privacy policies or any other policies governing this site. Please review the full rules governing commentaries and discussions.

Click Here to post a comment. You may be asked to sign in first.


Then the comment appears at the end of the comment sequence. Learn from Washington Post which has a better online presence!!

Posted by: ajain31 | July 30, 2007 7:33 PM | Report abuse

It has a lot more with the DLC being in la la land than the candidates moving to the left. The "center" that Al From represents is just a tad slightly left of Pat Buchanan. Sorry folks, if you want to be a GOoPer be one, but stop pretending to speak for the Democratic party. We want real Dems--pro labor, workers safety, health care, education, environmental protection, the whole liberal enchilada. This year? No DINOs, and that means no Al From.

Posted by: LiberalTarian | July 30, 2007 7:15 PM | Report abuse

This article is ridiculous. So they are consolidating their base? Where is the story? The Democratic Presidential contenders attending the DailyKos convention is akin to Mit Romney speaking at the Regent University Convocation. How can they appeal to centrists without first gaining the support of the people who will be picking the Dem candidate?

Posted by: davegolf2 | July 30, 2007 7:06 PM | Report abuse

Just further proof of the direction the Democrats are hoping to take this country in the coming years. Socialized medicine, taxing corporate America out of existence, cutting and running in Iraq, and generally pursuing a Neville Chamberlain-esque foreign policy strategy.

These clowns are trying so hard to read public opinion polls there is NO way they will be able to put together a remotely competent campaign.

Should be fun to watch, AGAIN!

Posted by: gthstonesman | July 30, 2007 6:54 PM | Report abuse

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Darth:

Can not fool me. You really are Dogbert.

I would know that laugh anywhere.

Posted by: gary4books | July 30, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

"BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!"

Darth:

Can not fool me. You really are Dogbert.

I would know that laugh anywhere.

Posted by: gary4books | July 30, 2007 6:39 PM | Report abuse

They can't pander to both the nutroot left and the centrists so the Democrats have chosen the nutroots. This poor sick society is on the fast track to socialism or communism.

Posted by: rplat | July 30, 2007 6:25 PM | Report abuse

Where to begin ... first of all, "Daily Kos" should be "DailyKos" (no space). And the DailyKos cannot call Hillary anything. The DailyKos is a *blog* not a person. Marcos Moulitsas (dKos handle "kos") may have called her that or maybe one of the 120,000+ active posters did. Your "quote" is useless. If Dan Balz had spent any time at all on dKos, he might grasp that there are a multitude of voices: some of them left, some of them center, a few of them "yellow dog" Dems ... and a hundred other designations.

If this were a research paper rather than an article, it wouldn't do better than a C-.

Then there is the laughable concept of the DLC as centrist rather than corporatist. The DLC doesn't represent me or any other private citizen. And the Democratic Party is doing just fine with donations ... which was what the DLC was all about.

Perhaps even the reporters for the Post should get out from inside the beltway every once in a while.

Posted by: greatnotion | July 30, 2007 6:13 PM | Report abuse

Lucretius - oh my.

So - centrism is a foolish position? Because you're too close to the "other side"?

Look - for someone who takes his online name from a guy who went insane and committed suicide, I suppose I shouldn't expect a lot of reason. BUT:

There's this thing called the bell curve (or "standard normal distribution"). Look into it. "MOST" PEOPLE ACTUALLY *ARE* "IN THE MIDDLE". Centrists.

It's the 2-party system that gets screwy - each has its OWN bell-curve, skewed to the left or the right - that heavily biases the GENERAL election to a choice between a right-winger and a left-winger. NEITHER of whom WELL represents what the public actually wants.

That's simple, objective, provable statistics. Your opinion contradicts well-known probability, science, & math. Therefore - you're, quite provably, *wrong*. Go back to school, my hot-headed, idealistic young friend.

Posted by: privacyplease777 | July 30, 2007 6:11 PM | Report abuse

The DLC is a vestige of the bad old days when liberalism somehow get used as a pejorative label while conservatism was placed on some kind of pedestal. We now realize that most of the country agrees with "liberal" points of view on the war, health care and social justice. The DLC are just a bunch of social conservatives telling the DNC how to woo the now imaginary conservative majority. After seeing that we really don't need a Joe Lieberman (except to caucus!). The Democratic candidates now rightly see they don't need handlers that are out of touch with the country to win elections.

Posted by: noway23 | July 30, 2007 6:09 PM | Report abuse

If you think that Hillary is left, look again. For that matter, I know if no elected Democrat that can truly be labeled "left" or liberal. How could they? The true liberals never get elected, not with our system of payoffs, bribery and influence peddling. What we have is a two party system on a one party Titanic, and we all know when the ship sinks, it drowns everyone, no matter what the party affiliation. The only difference between a Hillary, Edwards, etc. is that they are obligated to differing lobbyists, and argue over minutia that won't matter anyway. National healthcare is a far off dream for the next revolutionary iteration of the USA. So is tax reform, election reform (a return to democracy would be disasterous to the corporations - those in power now), fair and truthful airwaves and maybe a safer New Orleans...dream on...

Posted by: cmaexecutive | July 30, 2007 6:03 PM | Report abuse

As others have said here, what a "centrist" is should be defined by what positions the average citizen would take on major issues.

It would've been nice to see some analysis of the DLC's position versus the actual center position. Of course, it's easier to just take the DLC's word for it and whine on their behalf about how little attention they are receiving.

In this money-crazy alleged "electoral process", the media companies get the first chance to look the candidates over and figure out which ones are "friendlies". It looks like being nice to the DLC might've earned someone some positive coverage. Later, the candidates all get to compete and see who can provide those companies with the most advertising revenue. We (the people) get to choose between whatever dregs are left over.

Posted by: MisterOwl | July 30, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Obama is a centrist. He has not proposed to raise taxes. He has an excellent health care plan, and it does not include a tax increase. GET OVER THE RACIAL ISSUE AND YOU HAVE THE BEST CANDIDATE.

OBAMA'S MOM IS WHITE FROM KANSAS ANYWAY.

Posted by: RealTalk1 | July 30, 2007 5:59 PM | Report abuse

Many Liberals have left the Democratic Party to become Liberal Independents because under Clinton, the Party supported almost none of the positions of it's own Liberal base.

By 2000, millions in the liberal base of the Party felt themselves so alienated from the Clinton inspired 'Right leaning' goals of the Party (NAFTA, GATT, so-called Welfare Reform, tightening of Food Stamp & Medicaid requirements, while strengthening no government programs for the poor & Middle Class) that they either stayed home or voted for Ralph Nader rather than vote for a candidate (Gore) who likely represented little more than 'Republican light' points of view.

Hillary has given every impression that she will likely continue her husband's 'Republican light' style of governing.

And Obama hasn't shown that his positions are very far from 'Republican light' either. Too many in the Liberal base of the Democratic Party believe that, in the end, to vote for a 'Republican light' candidate like Hillary is little different from voting for the real thing.

Voters need to remember that they get the government they deserve.

Posted by: book134 | July 30, 2007 5:58 PM | Report abuse

I think that both McGovern and Mondale are hoping that the Democrats nominate Kucinch in 2008. Currently when Democrat general election disasters are mentioned, Mondale and McGovern are mentioned for capturing only one state's electoral votes. If Kucinich is the nominee, capturing one state might seem much more "respectable."

Posted by: amazd | July 30, 2007 5:48 PM | Report abuse

Balz, I have never seen the DLC make ANY accomodations that deviate away from their Republican-lite philosophy.

As far as I'm concerned, the DLC does not represent Centrist Democrats, they are insulated, corporate authoritarian bums. Plain and simple.

They pushed for Iraq and all that pro-business legislation.

Why support the souless when at the same date as their conference is the College Democrats convention.

Instead of people like Al From (one of the many chickenhawks behind Iraq), the candidates address young, passionate voters who will play a role long after the DLC has decayed into oblivion like the Whig Party.

DLC is dead. Let's celebrate.

Posted by: Liebercreep | July 30, 2007 5:43 PM | Report abuse

It seems that the Democratic front-runners are digging themselves into a hole. By moving so far to the left to win the primaries, they won't be able to return to the center without alienating the DailyKos/MoveOn crowd. And if they stay to the left, they will lose moderate voters to the Republicans in droves. They have either forgotten the mis-adventures of Mondale and Dukakis, or simply realize that they can lie to the so-called "base" because the far left have no where else to go and can be easily duped.

Posted by: amazd | July 30, 2007 5:41 PM | Report abuse

patrickelias writes
"linguist64 - I think you are absolutely right. I think the Democrats are in serious danger of putting another McGovern out there in a year where the election would otherwise be theirs for the taking"

I don't think its quite so cut-and-dried. I agree that a poorly selected Dem candidate will give the Repubs a chance that they really shouldn't have. However, the Republican candidates aren't all that inspiring either. Even with a 'bad' Dem pick, which Repub can capitalize? Right now, None of the Above is leading the polls, and at the rate we're going, they'll win the general too.

Posted by: bsimon | July 30, 2007 5:34 PM | Report abuse

We all need to understand the Clinton family and the Washington Post's idea of Centrist is somewhere close the the thinking of a Milosovich but not quite Alolf Hilter!


Remember how excited the media was when the Clintons 'were dragging the Center to the right'.

There are lots of people that need help. I can't blame the canidates for snubbing Clinton's or WaPo's idea of the Center

Posted by: im_timmaaay | July 30, 2007 5:33 PM | Report abuse

Well, that's it then, the Dems will lose the White House and the Congress if they are going the Kucinich route this time around. Doesn't anyone remember Al Gore's class warfare acceptance speech in 2000? He probably cost himself the electoral college right there. Sorry, but Earth to Democrats, Americans aren't up for a liberal candidate and they haven't been since FDF. Not to content to learn from history let just implode again ....

Posted by: lovinliberty | July 30, 2007 5:32 PM | Report abuse

SO sick of the tired old line parroted by Cokie Roberts yesterday about Democrats moving "too far" left for their own good". Thanks for the "warning" Cokie but I never heard those same warnings about Bush taking the country down the path to right wing religious totalitarianism. I would argue that a hard left turn is LONG overdue. The DLC tried it's hand at "moderate" centrism but that "reasonable" center cannot hold when faced with the crazed right wing nuts that have been in control since Bush took over in 2000.

Posted by: marSF | July 30, 2007 5:29 PM | Report abuse

One blogger avers "the country is still conservative". Yeah, sure. That's why 70 percent want us out of Iraq now, 54 percent want Cheney impeached, 46 percent want Bush impeached, and the wave of populism that surged in last November's elections showed even the middle classes are fed up with the GOP's recipe of theocratic diktat, market fundamentalism, corporate fascism and endless global war? Conservative, maybe, the sense that we want to conserve our liberties and our country.

Posted by: emainland | July 30, 2007 5:26 PM | Report abuse

As a self-anointed Centrist Democrat, I am definitely not identifying much with what I am hearing from the presidential candidates. They aren't speaking to my issues.

What I WOULD like to see is good government, fiscally responsible, run by competent and ethical people, not beholden to religious groups or people with extremist political ideologies, where laws are passed and enforced on the basis of reason (as in what is best for the country) and moderation.

I would like to see my government be pragmatic in terms of foreign affairs and judicious in its use of military force.

For these reasons, I believe that the Bush Presidency has been a disaster for our country. I wish the Democratic Presidential candidates would seek to differentiate themselves on these issues.

Bill Clinton had his weaknesses as a President, but he did earn his centrist stripes for promoting effective government and bipartisan consensus on key issues. I really resent the Republicans for their mean-spirited, self-serving, partisan polemics throughout his presidency, and which have continued to this day.

Not to ignore the fact that the Southern Republican and Neo-conservative alliance in control of things under the Bush Administration has been pursuing a radical extremist agenda - but a lot of the fighting over so-called issues such as gay marriage is really just for show.

Unfortunately important issues like immigration have not been adequately addressed, because they would take real courage to solve.

Unfortunately, the Democrats seem to be playing into this meaningless charade. It is real easy to be against the Iraq war, but who is offering reasoned, realistic, responsible solutions? (Maybe Joe Biden, but certainly not Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama or John Edwards).

It may be that "just pulling out" is, in fact, the ONLY solution, and if anyone should be on the hook for the consequences, it is GW Bush - but is anyone actually acknowledging the consequences?

In my view, getting into this war was a horrible decision, but there is no denying the fact that we are in this war today. Because of the unwise path that we have followed, we now face unpleasant choices, with consequences flowing from each of them.

Can anyone sell that to the American public? (ie honesty, hard truth).

Maybe I ask too much of my party's candidates...

There are certain realities about the American political system that are at play here. No doubt, the candidates (most of them anyway) are not dumb.

It is disappointing, though.

linguist64 - I think you are absolutely right. I think the Democrats are in serious danger of putting another McGovern out there in a year where the election would otherwise be theirs for the taking

jmcdavisum - I am pretty much with you, although theoretically I could see universal health care working. By alleviating employers of their responsibility to provide health care, the government would help lower US labor costs thus eliminating a current source of comparative disadvantage in the global marketplace for US companies. However, doing so is probably politically impossible. It would be irrational for anyone with good employer-provided health insurance to want to give that up for a government scheme that would surely be inferior.

Posted by: patrickelias | July 30, 2007 5:22 PM | Report abuse

The DLC are not "centrists", by any definition of the word. They are the far-right wing of the party, and practically republican (DINO has been mentioned...)

They will never shut themselves down as an organization. It is up to the media to look at the results of the last election (where DLC candidates did worse than non-DLC candidates) and realize their increasing insignificance. They planned their meeting this Summer at the same time as the College Democrats. Which meeting do you think a forward-looking candidate should attend ?

It is because of the DLC that I've stopped giving money to the "Democrats", instead focusing on directed contributions to Democratic candidates that are more "centered".

Posted by: wad | July 30, 2007 5:06 PM | Report abuse

I BLEED for AL FROM and his ILK. May they finally be exposed as the neocon clones they really are. I give credit to the other side: they have an ideology that they believe in and will defend. The Democratic Party leadership must do the same. If From is that lonely for friendship he can always invite Wolfowitz, Feith, et al to come over to his place, eat his food and drink his booze.

Posted by: montypython | July 30, 2007 5:04 PM | Report abuse

If the Democrats embrace either Clinton, they risk losing me. I trust Bill Clinton only slightly more than I do Bush, meaning upward of zero. I'm picking up Bill's too-clever, passionless, "Don't offend moderates or anyone else" political style from the senator. Americans are tired of hearing conservatives speak with passion, selfishly and greedily, while Democrats speak like solicitous salespeople. I will not be sold again, and I will vote only for a candidate with the integrity to say what he or she believes, regardless of the next polls, including election day polls.

Posted by: jstonewp | July 30, 2007 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Centrist? If we go by your definition, What centrists? A majority of Americans want Bush and Cheney impeached. Does that make them far left Kooks? A majority of Americans support legal abortion with no restrictions and support a women's right to choose. Does that make them far left kooks? What you call the far left is where the country is at. That is the centrist position. Or did you sleep through November 2006?

Posted by: Pudlo | July 30, 2007 4:56 PM | Report abuse

Hey, can we stop the little word-games? "Centrist"? Let's just call them what they are: right-wing Democrats.

Posted by: icoleman | July 30, 2007 4:51 PM | Report abuse

There's a new blog called "The Truth About Kos," which includes startling new research into the background of Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga (M.A.M.Z.) or ("Kos" of DailyKos).

http://truth-about-kos.blogspot.com/

The Truth About Kos

In the past, "Kos" has told journalists that he wasn't rich and didn't come from a famous or powerful family.

But Kos' "family business" got five million dollars in foreign investments between 1997 and 2000, and their elite luxury beach front hotel charges more per day for a room than does the Sheraton and the Intercontinental El Salvador! So, why did Kos say, "I'm not from a rich family?"

So many readers will be surprised to learn that Kos (1) spent six months training at the CIA in 2001; (2) His "family business" is sumptuous resort hotel conglomerate in El Salvador that includes some of the most exclusive beach-front property in the country; and someone who shares Kos' last name and is "manager" of the "family business" is also listed as a "associate" in ANEP, a group that is characterized as a right-wing "political pressure group" associated with death squads and the assassination of Catholic Archbishop Arnulfo Romero.

Although Markos Alberto Moulitsas Zúñiga has NEVER, EVER told the press the name of a single member of his family, the Truth About Kos blog includes a photograph of one family member, and this guy's business interests are associated with the pollution of the Jaltepeque Estuary in El Salvador and the pollution of Grey Whale spawning grounds in Baja Mexico.

It all boggles the mind, and it's all at "The Truth About Kos Blog."

http://truth-about-kos.blogspot.com/

Posted by: francislholland | July 30, 2007 4:48 PM | Report abuse

The DLC is why I will no longer contribute a cent to the dem party.

dgblues hit the nail on the head.

Posted by: ccatmoon | July 30, 2007 4:46 PM | Report abuse

How come the neo-liberals, Libertarians and neo-conservative economic Establishment types think of themselves as the moderates but everyone else is a radical? It's the hardworking, moderately religious, economic moderate family man from suburbia who's the moderate. Why are you Ivy/Urban party animals so afraid of him?

Posted by: rodstudwell | July 30, 2007 4:40 PM | Report abuse

Reading through these comments.... what a hoot.

IMO, no one gets elected in the USA unless they (1) pander to big money and it's interests in the status quo; (2) pander to the stupid and superstitious; (3) pander to fear and nationalism.

Every demographic has a curve, and in order to control the electoral college, the extremely rich need to control the isolated, superstitious, and stupid.... "tell them they are 100% correct in their "assumptions about life, and need to dominate the planet" as you pick their pocket --and pick our pockets too -the list of theft and maleficence's is unrivaled in our history

it's that simple....

This is what needs to change..... Greed, stupidity and fear..... but Money understands that the constant, highly focused and intentional manipulation of these very emotions within the specific subsets of the population is what it takes to (maintain poltical power, keep the war (and the stock market) humming)and keep siphoning everything they can..... for themselves....

Disgust at this kind of behavior, and a commitment to radical social change is now a patriots position.

Posted by: whomungb | July 30, 2007 4:15 PM | Report abuse

birvin9999.....the sad fact is the republican party has moved so radically to the right that the entire political spectrum has shifted drastically. Today's democrats look more like yesterday's conservatives. In fact, Nixon would be liberal by today's republican standards. The republicans have moved so far to the right they're out of step with at least 70% of the country. I would hardly call Hillary Clinton, or any of the other candidates you mention, hard core liberals. As a matter of fact, I can't think of many hard core liberals, and to assert that republicans are fiscally responsible is just plain ludicrous. The facts don't support it. Polling that focuses on issues rather than party affiliation suggests that the majority of Americans identify more with progressive/Democratic values, NOT republican. Younger generations are leaning increasingly toward democrats. They've come to believe, as have I, that the Dems have a much more positive vision for the country, one that unites rather than divides, one that says we sink or swim together, not "you're on your own jack". Sorry bud, the Republicans had their chance and blew it big time. Their record is pathetic and only getting worse.

Posted by: ggwalt123 | July 30, 2007 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I guess I am a centrist whatever that means (read socially progressive fiscally responsible). I am a registered Democrat who will occasionally vote Republican (as in IL's last gubernatorial race). Going left may well help the Dems but I think they are currently alienating centrists. The strategy is probably bob left for the primaries and side step to the center for the general election. My problem is that I do not think that I will be able to vote for any of the Dem candidates. I have been a long time fan of Barack and have voted for him twice now. Iraq and healthcare may make it impossible for me to vote for a Democrat next election though. The pushes for a premature pullout and universal coverage have pretty well scared me and my like minded acquaintances away.

The problem is that no one on the other side seems terribly attractive either. this could be a repeat of 2004 where I just don't want to vote at all (even though I still will).

Posted by: jmcdavisum | July 30, 2007 4:12 PM | Report abuse

"The old party of guys like Scoop Jackson ie. people who REALLY DID care about fiscal responsibility and defense, is long gone. Now we've got Hillary, Kennedy, Shumer, Obey, and on and on. It looks like Haight Ashbury, if not a lunatic asylum. The Dems have a golden opportunity to beat a party that featured a overspending openborder nitwit from Texas. And what will they do - they'll run another far left kook like Hillary. My God!"
--------------------------
Hillary Clinton is a "far left kook?" You've got to be kidding, or you're a far right kook. She voted for and defends the war in Iraq, for goodness sake, and otherwise she is very middle of the road. In other ways she is more liberal, e.g. the healthcare ideas she floated back in the 90's, but not anywhere close to "far left."

Posted by: mightysparrow | July 30, 2007 4:09 PM | Report abuse

whatever your misgivings about the "corporatism" of the DLC, I think its snubbing has more to do with basic electoral strategery. Middle of the road voters (quasi-libertarian/independents like myself) are pretty firmly fed up with those who harbor an (R) after their names... and, typically independents are not primary voters in so far as they turn out for general elections.

the two parties have to appeal to the base - the contingent of primary voters. Wasting any time or $$ on centrists would be silly. Dems feel they have them... and they may be right...

Posted by: ZachPeterson | July 30, 2007 4:06 PM | Report abuse

DLC is not centrist, it's corporatist. Only and editor at the Post would ignore this.

Posted by: rodstudwell | July 30, 2007 4:01 PM | Report abuse

The DLC is hardly a centrist organization. It is headed by a guy who voted for the Royal Torture Bill also known as the Military Commissions Act. These days, it seems that "left" means you are disgusted by Bush, and "far left" means you favor impeachment. But that definition puts a lot of classical centrists in the "lefty" category. All of the leading democrats are quite centrist by any traditional measure. One of the biggest challenges the Democrats have is guys like Lieberman who claim the label of 'centrist' but serve only to give the right-wingers "bipartisan" cover and to weaken the clear distinctions between the parties.

Posted by: chase-truth | July 30, 2007 3:58 PM | Report abuse

This is good news, like the left wing loonies are ever going to be in charge! Talk about the inmates running the asylum. NOW is the time for the Libertarian party to step UP!

Posted by: bryan2369 | July 30, 2007 3:57 PM | Report abuse

This is very simple: Clinton got elected by shifting the Democrat=Leftist paradigm. If the Dems follow the bloggers, they'll run off the cliff together in 2008 like the leftist lemmings they are. The country is conservative, and the only way a Democrat is going to be elected President (esp. post-9/11) is by being a centrist. Jettison the DLC, and my party (the GOP) is assured a victory in '08. Bring it on.

Posted by: linguist64 | July 30, 2007 3:48 PM | Report abuse

When oh when will you people stop supporting the rabid right wing's playing of the referees? These people aren't centrists any more than Joe Lieberman is a centrist. The DLC are Republicans disguised as Democrats.

As just one anecdotal example, anyone who would vote for a bankruptcy bill written by the usurious credit card companies that removes all latitude of judges to consider extenuating circumstances, e.g., a medical emergency (the number one cause of bankruptcy) is not a centrist. They are a right wing puppet of fat cat CEOs.

One day, when Americans just stop reading your gibberish for the bullcrap memes it propagates, perhaps you will get the message.

CENTRIST IS WHERE MOST OF THE PEOPLE ARE, NOT THE GEOMETRIC CENTER OF A LINE YOU DRAW BETWEEN MARX AND MUSSOLINI.

Posted by: dgblues | July 30, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The DLC has been behind the curve for years now, not only on Iraq/Lieberman, though that's symptomatic.

Besides, to talk of them as a "centrist group" is foolish. They're not an interest group, they were the party insiders and now they're being asked to share. Rather like journalists and bloggers, and the established crew gets all huffy.

Posted by: kmcnamara | July 30, 2007 3:46 PM | Report abuse

The DLC are NOT "centrists".

The DLC are corporate fascists and are NOT Democrats.

They are NeoLibs. They are DINOs.

Posted by: TomIII | July 30, 2007 3:43 PM | Report abuse

The DLC has never represented the centrist view, nor that of even the centrists in the Democratic party.

It has represented the elitist view, however.

Noone in the grassroots trusts the DLC, because we know their agenda, and it ain't centrist.

Posted by: WillSeattle | July 30, 2007 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Looks like the above posts have disposed of the myth that the DLC is "centrist" More like "Bush Lite", like David Broder. Myths are harder to junk than lies, as JFK said. But "centrism" is so firmly fixed in the tight little minds of MSM journalists, that one despairs of getting them to re-examine their mythologies.

Posted by: emainland | July 30, 2007 3:41 PM | Report abuse

This is not surprising. During the primaries the Dems run to the left and the Reps run to the right. After the primary they'll both turn towards the center.

Posted by: tk221 | July 30, 2007 3:39 PM | Report abuse

Being a bunch of feeble cowards and yielding to the radical Bush agenda at every turn is not "centrism." Following the advice of the DLC dinosaurs was a prime contributor to Kerry's loss in 2004. Mr. Balz, your tired storyline about the Democrats being "hostage" to "liberals" only impresses your buddies on the Beltway cocktail circuit. To the rest of us, your labels and categories don't have meaning anymore.

Posted by: contrai1 | July 30, 2007 3:36 PM | Report abuse

The DLC needs to be buried. It's politically dead and serves little purpose.

The Democratic party isn't moving leftward - the country has simply seen the light in respect to the lurch to the right by the Republicans and their control over the congress for 14 years and the white house for the past 6. Any shift away from that far-rightward push is naturally going to be called heading left by some.

Posted by: scorbett1976 | July 30, 2007 3:32 PM | Report abuse

birvin9999 somehow misses the truth even though he mentions it in his own comment. It is the Republican party (yes, Bush most of all, but going back to Reagan and Ford) which has been demonstrably fiscally irresponsible in the past 3 decades. Examine your prejudices and contrast them to the facts! You want fiscal responsibility? Any of Democratic candidates will be a huge improvement.

Posted by: bradgelder | July 30, 2007 3:30 PM | Report abuse

The DLC was a vehicle for Bill Clinton. It's time has simply passed. Association with Joe Lieberman just hastened it's slide into irrelevence.

And shouldn't "centrist" be defined by the positions of the voters, rather than the panelists on Meet The Press?

Posted by: jmadden88 | July 30, 2007 3:26 PM | Report abuse

Don't be fooled...

The Clintons are {{{NOT}}} Centrist!!!

The Clintons will lie about wanting Healthcare for all, AGAIN!!!

The Clintons will lie about being good for the economy, AGAIN!!!

The Clintons will export more jobs to the highest bidders from K-Street, AGAIN!!!

We need John Edwards in the White House. We need balanced government, once and for all. For justice for all.

The Clintons were the ones that allowed Halliburton to provide Iran with nuclear technology in the 1990's.

Please think about the actuall legislation that the Clintons signed off on while in office.

Welfare Reform actually costs the taxpayers more money because most of the former recipients are now reside in our state and local prisons because they weren't prepared to be tossed off the welfare rolls!!!

Educate yourself!!!

~ Timmaaay!!!!

Posted by: im_timmaaay | July 30, 2007 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Good. My evil plan is finally paying off. The Democrats will move further to the left, while the Republicans move further to the right. Soon I, and my chosen few, can exploit the gap and seize TOTAL CONTROL.....BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

Darth

Posted by: MajorConfusion | July 30, 2007 3:21 PM | Report abuse

Since the republican takeover of Congress in the 90's, along with the last two Presidential elections, it's become clear that running as a centrist is a defeatist strategy for the democrats. Running as a centrist says to the electorate, "Hey, I'm just like the people I'm running against."

In order to debate you must take an adversarial position. In order to defeat a political adversary at election time, you must show enough differences to offer a viable alternative. Running as a centrist democrat is essentially saying, "I'm republican-lite."
It is only pundits and the media who really care about whether someone's left, right or whatever. The people care about the candidate's vision for America.

Posted by: Lucretius | July 30, 2007 3:17 PM | Report abuse

THIS is a surprise?? Since George McGovern the Dems have been further left than George Soros. The old party of guys like Scoop Jackson ie. people who REALLY DID care about fiscal responsibility and defense, is long gone. Now we've got Hillary, Kennedy, Shumer, Obey, and on and on. It looks like Haight Ashbury, if not a lunatic asylum. The Dems have a golden opportunity to beat a party that featured a overspending openborder nitwit from Texas. And what will they do - they'll run another far left kook like Hillary. My God!

Posted by: birvin9999 | July 30, 2007 3:11 PM | Report abuse

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