Wednesday, May 16, 2007

"Your services are no longer required"

apparently the DLC ain't what it used to be:

Since the early days of the Clinton administration, the Democratic Leadership Council’s “National Conversation,” the group’s major annual event, has been a key stop for Democrats who hoped to be party leaders, and in many cases, president. It was a place to be seen, to impress possible donors, and to solidify one’s place as a serious national player.

At least, it used to. This year’s DLC event appears to suggest the group has lost some of its sway.

TNR’s Ryan Lizza noted the other day the line-ups for the “National Conversation” from the last several years.

Bill Clinton keynoted in 1999 and Al Gore in 2000. In 2001, the event featured Joe Lieberman, Evan Bayh, Hillary Clinton, Tom Daschle, and future governors Kathleen Sebelius and Janet Napolitano. In 2002, the National Conversation was a major stop for anyone testing the waters for 2004. Lieberman, Bayh, Daschle, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Mark Warner, John Edwards, and Dick Gephardt were all there.

The following year, 2003, was a little less star-studded but still featured Bayh, Napolitano, Sebelius, Warner, Ed Rendell, Jim McGreevey, and Jennifer Granholm. The big attraction in 2004 was Kerry, who was by then the nominee and was eager to show off his centrist credentials. In 2005, the event was again attended by top presidential contenders: Bayh, Warner, Vilsack, and Hillary Clinton. But tellingly, unlike in the run-up to 2004, when even a labor liberal like Gephardt felt obliged to show up, there were no traditional liberals in attendance. Edwards, once a DLCer himself but now reinvented as a liberal populist, was conspicuous in his absence, as was Kerry, who was still flirting with a run.

By last year, about a dozen Democrats were openly considering presidential bids, but only two — Vilsack and Hillary Clinton — wanted to be part of the DLC’s event.

Which leads us to this year. Lizza noted late last week, “Watch the guest list closely. It will be a good indicator of the health of the New Dem brand.”

The list was announced yesterday. By all indications, the DLC brand is in trouble...


Eli said...

Hopefully the Democrats really have decided to go in a different direction.

Alon Levy said...

Be careful of what you wish for. The different direction they seem to be going in includes selling out every social and cultural issue. The Democrats already sold out black people with Clinton; now they're selling out women by deemphasizing abortion, and letting McCain and Giuliani lead on (the right kind of) immigration reform.

Eli said...

They don't even want to live up to the stuff they *campaigned* on last year. They wimped out on the out-of-Iraq amendment and voted in favor of the we-will-fund-the-war amendment, and they're trying to back away from lobbying reform too.

Alon Levy said...

Yeah, I know. Don't worry - they'll campaign on that again in 2008, and if the Republicans are stupid enough not to withdraw from Iraq by then, they might even beat Giuliani. Then whoever wins will bomb Iran, as promised.

Eli said...

I fear that if the Democrats don't start taking this shit seriously, there'll be a lot of "Why the fuck should I bother" voters staying home next year.

Especially if Hillary's the nominee.

ms_xeno said...

I hope people DO stay home. I hope they don't donate, don't watch the ads or the phonied-up "debates," and don't waste their time listening to greedy, bloodthirsty liars who can barely pretend to care about anyone but themselves. I hope people find other avenues of activism than voting.

Starve the filthy, warmongering fuckers. They sure as hell are starving us. >:

belledame222 said...

i go back and forth. I'm certainly not going to be the eager l'il beaver I was in '04, that's for damn sure. and all requests for donations from the Party go straight into ze trash.

and yeah, i do want to put most of my energy into other, hopefully more direct avenues.

but I expect to vote, even come down supporting a/the candidate, depending on how it all pans out.

I'm just thoroughly fed up with the people who've decided that the way forward is Party Uber Alles! yeah, united we stand, but you don't get there by going "shut up about your trifling divisive pet issues, and maybe we'll trickle down on you after we've won (or not) -this- time." you dance, as the late lamented Molly Ivins said, with the people who brung you. that goes for the Party and it goes for the supposed outsiders who "crashed the gate."

i dunno. reply hazy; ask again later.

belledame222 said...

(welcome, ms_xeno)

Eli said...

I am completely disgusted with the Democrats at least 50% of the time. Their most appealing collective attribute is that they're a lot better than the alternative.

Also, Justice Stevens is several hundred years old and there are four full-blown anti-choice religious wingnuts on the Supreme Court already.