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Encyclopedia > Democratic Leadership Council

The Democratic Leadership Council is a non-profit corporation [1] that argues that the United States Democratic Party should shift away from traditionally populist positions. The DLC hails President Clinton as proof of the viability of third way politicians and as a DLC success story while progressives assert that Bill Clinton won campaigning as a populist only to abandon those positions after getting elected. Critics contend that the DLC is effectively a powerful, corporate-financed mouthpiece within the Democratic party that acts to keep Democratic Party candidates and platforms sympathetic to corporate interests and the interests of the wealthiest one percent. Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... The Democratic Party is one of two major political parties in the United States, the other being the Republican Party. ... Look up Populism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... Bill Clinton and Tony Blair, adherents of the Third Way The Third Way, or Radical center, is a centrist political philosophy of governance that embraces a mix of market and interventionist philosophies. ...


The DLC's affiliated think tank is the Progressive Policy Institute. Democrats who adhere to the DLC's philosophy often call themselves New Democrats. Others use this label too though and belong to other organizations and have differing agendas contesting to define that term and control the party's future. This article is about the institution. ... The Progressive Policy Institute (PPI) is a think tank in the United States, founded in 1989 and affiliated with the Democratic Leadership Council. ... In U.S. politics, the New Democrats are an organized faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the 1988 presidential election. ...


The DLC's current chairman is former Representative Harold Ford, Jr. of Tennessee, and its vice chair is Senator Thomas R. Carper of Delaware. Its CEO is Al From and its president is Bruce Reed. Harold Eugene Ford, Jr. ... This article is about the U.S. state of Tennessee. ... Thomas Richard Tom Carper (born January 23, 1947) is an American economist and politician from Wilmington, in New Castle County, Delaware. ... This article is about the U.S. State of Delaware. ... Al From is the primary founder and current CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council. ...

Contents

Founding and early history

The DLC was founded in 1985 by Al From and other Democrats after Ronald Reagan's re-election. The organization started as a group of forty-three elected officials, and two staffers, Al From and Will Marshall. Their original focus was on influencing internal Democratic politics so as to secure the 1988 presidential nomination for a Southern conservative such as Sam Nunn or Chuck Robb, both of whom were early DLC supporters. However, when the DLC's pet project, the Super Tuesday primary, turned out to be a boon for Reverend Jesse Jackson, a vocal critic of the DLC, the group began to shift toward attempting to influence the public debate. Al From is the primary founder and current CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council. ... Reagan redirects here. ... Will Marshall is one of the founders of the New Democrat movement, which aims to steer the US Democratic Party toward a centrist rather than a leftist orientation. ... Samuel Augustus Nunn, Jr. ... Charles Spittal Chuck Robb (born June 26, 1939) is an American politician. ... In the United States, Super Tuesday commonly refers to a Tuesday in early March of a presidential election year. ... Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. ...


In 1989, Marshall founded the Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank which has since turned out policy blueprints for the DLC. Its most extensive series of papers is the series of New Economy Policy Reports.


Positions

It is the opinion of the DLC that economic populism is not politically viable, citing the defeated Presidential campaigns of Senator George McGovern in 1972 and Vice-President Walter Mondale in 1984. The DLC states that it “seeks to define and galvanize popular support for a new public philosophy built on progressive ideals, mainstream values, and innovative, non-bureaucratic, market-based solutions." [2] Image File history File links Question_book-3. ... George McGovern on May 8, 1972 cover of Time Magazine George Stanley McGovern, Ph. ... Walter Frederick Fritz Mondale (born January 5, 1928) is an American politician and member of the Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party (largely established by former Vice President Hubert Humphrey). ...


The DLC has supported welfare reform, such as the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 [3], President Clinton's expansion of the Earned Income Tax Credit [4], and the creation of AmeriCorps [5]. The DLC supports expanded health insurance via tax credits for the uninsured and opposes plans for single-payer universal health care. The DLC supports universal access to preschool, charter schools, and measures to allow a greater degree of choice in schooling (though not school vouchers), and supports the No Child Left Behind Act. The DLC supports both NAFTA and CAFTA. Welfare reform is the name for a policy change in countries with a state-administered social welfare system to reduce dependence on welfare, as demanded by political conservatives. ... The United States federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) is a refundable tax credit that reduces or eliminates the taxes that low-income married or single working people pay (such as payroll taxes) and also frequently operates as a wage subsidy for low-income workers. ... AmeriCorps is an American network of more than 3,000 non-profit organizations, public agencies, and faith-based organizations. ... An education voucher, commonly called a school voucher, is a certificate by which parents are given the ability to pay for the education of their children at a school of their choice, rather than the public school to which they were assigned. ... President Bush signing the bipartisan No Child Left Behind Act at Hamilton H.S. in Hamilton, Ohio. ... Nafta or NAFTA may refer to: an acronym for the North American Free Trade Agreement an acronym for the New Zealand Australia Free Trade Agreement the town/Tokyo of Nafta, Tunisia This is a disambiguation page: a list of articles associated with the same title. ... The Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA) is a free trade agreement between the United States and the Central American countries of Guatemala, Honduras, and Canada, and Mexico. ...


The DLC has both supported and criticized the policies of President George W. Bush. The DLC opposed the partial birth abortion ban, the expiration of the 1994 assault weapon ban, the Clear Skies Initiative, and what they perceived as a lack of funding of the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. In 2001 the DLC endorsed the idea of tax cuts for the middle class, but then opposed the tax cuts favored by Bush, which they said favored the wealthy. The organization supports some forms of Social Security privatization but opposes financing private retirement accounts with large amounts of borrowed money. George Walker Bush (born July 6, 1946) is the forty-third and current President of the United States of America, originally inaugurated on January 20, 2001. ... The phrase partial-birth abortion is a controversial one used primarily by abortion opponents in the United States. ... The Federal Assault Weapons Ban, or AWB, is a provision of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994, a federal law of the United States that includes a prohibition on the sale of semiautomatic assault weapons manufactured after the date of the bans enactment. ... Social Security, in the United States, currently refers to the Federal Old-Age, Survivors, and Disability Insurance (OASDI) program. ...


Recently, the DLC also urged Senate Democrats to vote against Bush's nomination of Samuel Alito to the U.S. Supreme Court "on principle", but firmly opposed any filibuster of the nominee.[6] Samuel Anthony Alito, Jr. ... The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C. The Supreme Court Building, Washington, D.C., (large image) The Supreme Court of the United States, located in Washington, D.C., is the highest court (see supreme court) in the United States; that is, it has ultimate judicial authority within the United States... As a form of obstructionism in a legislature or other decision making body, a filibuster is an attempt to extend debate upon a proposal in order to delay or completely prevent a vote on its passage. ...


2003 invasion of Iraq

The DLC gave strong support for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Prior to the war, Will Marshall co-signed a letter to President Bush from the Project for the New American Century endorsing military action against Saddam Hussein. During the 2004 Primary campaign the DLC attacked Presidential candidate Howard Dean as an out-of-touch liberal because of Dean's anti-war stance. The DLC dismissed other critics of the Iraq invasion such as filmmaker Michael Moore as members of the "loony left" [7]. Even as domestic support for the Iraq War plummeted in 2004 and 2005, Marshall reprised his right-wing credentials and called upon Democrats to balance their criticism of Bush's handling of the Iraq War with praise for the President's achievements and cautioned "Democrats need to be choosier about the political company they keep, distancing themselves from the pacifist and anti-American fringe." This article is about the 2003 invasion of Iraq. ... Will Marshall is one of the founders of the New Democrat movement, which aims to steer the US Democratic Party toward a centrist rather than a leftist orientation. ... Project for the New American Centurys Logo The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) is an American neoconservative think tank based in Washington, D.C., co-founded as a non-profit educational organization by William Kristol and Robert Kagan in early 1997. ... Saddam Hussein Abd al-Majid al-Tikriti (28 April 1937 – 30 December 2006) was the fifth President of Iraq and Chairman of the Iraqi Revolutionary Command Council from 1979 until his overthrow by US forces in 2003. ... Howard Brush Dean III (born November 17, 1948) is an American politician and physician from the U.S. state of Vermont, and currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the central organ of the Democratic Party at the national level. ... Michael Francis Moore (born April 23, 1954) is an American political-activist, a film director, author, social commentator, and political humorist. ...


Criticism

The DLC has become unpopular within many progressive political circles.


Some critics claim the strategy of triangulation between the political left and right to gain broad appeal is fundamentally flawed. In the long run, so opponents say, this strategy results in concession after concession to the opposition, while alienating traditionally-allied voters. For example, critics point out that liberal Democrat Michael Dukakis won a larger share of the vote in his presidential campaign (46%) than Bill Clinton in his first campaign (43%), despite Clinton's more centrist positions. Triangulation is the act of a candidate presenting his or her ideology as being above or between the left and right sides of the political spectrum. ... Michael Stanley Dukakis (born November 3, 1933) is an American Democratic politician, former Governor of Massachusetts, and the Democratic presidential nominee in 1988. ...


Others contend that the DLC's distaste for what they refer to as "economic class warfare" has allowed the language of populism to be monopolized by the right-wing. Many argue that the Democrats' abandonment of populism to the right-wing, shifting the form of that populism from the economic realm to the "culture wars", has been critical for Republican dominance of Middle America. (See, for instance, Thomas Frank's What's the Matter with Kansas.) Whats the Matter with Kansas? (2004) is a book written by the American journalist and historian Thomas Frank, which explores how the US Republican Party gained political control in the American Midwest, and how the region has become increasingly socially and politically conservative. ...


Still other critics believe the DLC has essentially become an influential corporate and right-wing implant in the Democratic party. Marshall Wittmann, a former senior fellow at the DLC, former legislative director for the Christian Coalition, and former communications director for Republican senator John McCain, and Will Marshall, a vocal supporter of the war in Iraq, are among those associated with the DLC who have right-wing credentials. In politics, right-wing, the political right, or simply the right, are terms which refer, with no particular precision, to the segment of the political spectrum in opposition to left-wing politics. ... Marshall Wittmann is a pundit, author, and sometime political activist. ... This article is about the organization presently operating in the United States. ... For McCains grandfather and father, see John S. McCain, Sr. ... Will Marshall is one of the founders of the New Democrat movement, which aims to steer the US Democratic Party toward a centrist rather than a leftist orientation. ... In politics, right-wing, the political right, or simply the right, are terms which refer, with no particular precision, to the segment of the political spectrum in opposition to left-wing politics. ...


Finally, detractors of the DLC note that the DLC has received funding from the right-wing Bradley Foundation as well as from oil companies, military contractors, and various Fortune 500 companies. The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, is a large and influential foundation with about half a billion US dollars in assets. ...


2004 Presidential Primary

In May 2003, as the Democratic primary of the 2004 presidential campaign was starting to pick up, the organization voiced concern that the Democratic contenders might be taking positions too far left of the mainstream general electorate. Early front-runner Howard Dean, who attracted popular support due in large part to his anti-war views despite his reputation as a centrist governor of Vermont, was specifically criticized by DLC founder and CEO Al From. From's criticism of Dean was also likely due to the former governor's opposition to the war in Iraq, which most party centrists, including From, endorsed. Dean's claim to hail "from the Democratic wing of the Democratic Party" (a phrase originally used by Senator Paul Wellstone of Minnesota) has been interpreted by some as subtle criticism of the DLC and the New Democrats in general. Indeed, Dean once described the DLC as the "Republican wing of the Democratic Party." [8] The DLC countered that Dean represented the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the Democratic Party, "defined principally by weakness abroad and elitist, interest-group liberalism at home." 2003 : January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - December - → A timeline of events in the news for May, 2003. ... The 2004 U.S. Democratic Party presidential nomination process was a series of primaries and caucuses culminating in the Democratic National Convention that decided which pair of candidates would represent the Democrats in the 2004 election for President and Vice President of the United States. ... Presidential election results map. ... Howard Brush Dean III (born November 17, 1948) is an American politician and physician from the U.S. state of Vermont, and currently the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, the central organ of the Democratic Party at the national level. ... This article is about the U.S. state. ... There have been three conflicts in the late 20th century and early 21st century called Gulf War, all of which refer to conflicts in the Persian Gulf region: Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) (aka First Gulf War). ... Paul David Wellstone (July 21, 1944 – October 25, 2002) was an American politician and two-term U.S. Senator from Minnesota. ... Capital Saint Paul Largest city Minneapolis Area  Ranked 12th  - Total 87,014 sq mi (225,365 km²)  - Width 250 miles (400 km)  - Length 400 miles (645 km)  - % water 8. ... In U.S. politics, the New Democrats are an organized faction within the Democratic Party that emerged after the 1988 presidential election. ...


Senator John Kerry won the democratic primary and chose primary contender Senator John Edwards as his running mate. Both Senators are members of the Senate New Democratic Caucus, and the DLC anticipated that they would win the general election. In a March 3, 2004 dispatch, they suggested voters would appreciate Kerry's centrist viewpoints, imagining voters to say "If this is a waffle, bring on the syrup." [9] John Forbes Kerry (born December 11, 1943) is the junior United States Senator from Massachusetts, in his fourth term of office. ... This article is about the American attorney and politician. ...


Former chairs

William Jefferson Bill Clinton (born William Jefferson Blythe III[1] on August 19, 1946) was the 42nd President of the United States, serving from 1993 to 2001. ... Year 1990 (MCMXC) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 1990 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 1991 (MCMXCI) was a common year starting on Tuesday (link will display the 1991 Gregorian calendar). ... David Keith McCurdy (born March 30, 1950) is a lawyer, politician, and a former Congressman from Oklahoma. ... John Berlinger Breaux (last name pronounced BRO) was a United States senator from Louisiana from 1987 until 2005. ... Samuel Augustus Nunn, Jr. ... Charles Spittal Chuck Robb (born June 26, American politician. ... Richard Andrew Gephardt (born January 31, 1941) served as a U.S. Representative from Missouri from 1977 until January 3, 2005. ... Joseph Isadore Lieberman (born February 24, 1942) is a Jewish-American Democratic politician and a current U.S. senator from Connecticut. ... Year 1995 (MCMXCV) was a common year starting on Sunday (link will display full 1995 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ... Birch Evans Bayh III (commonly known as Evan Bayh) (pronounced like bye; IPA pronunciation: ) (born December 26, 1955) is an American politician who has served as the junior U.S. Senator from Indiana since 1999 and a former Governor of Indiana. ... Year 2001 (MMI) was a common year starting on Monday (link displays the 2001 Gregorian calendar). ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Thomas James Vilsack (born December 13, 1950) is an American politician, a member of the Democratic Party, and served as the 40th Governor of the state of Iowa. ... Year 2005 (MMV) was a common year starting on Saturday (link displays full calendar) of the Gregorian calendar. ... Year 2007 (MMVII) is the current year, a common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar and the AD/CE era in the 21st century. ...

Sources

  • Rolling Stone article "The Mansion Family" by Matt Taibbi, August 2, 2006
  • New York Times article, "Centrist Democrats Warn Party Not to Present Itself as 'Far Left'" by Adam Nagourney, July 29, 2003
  • The Emerging Democratic Majority, by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira (Scribner, 2002)
  • American Prospect article, "How the DLC Does It" By Robert Dreyfuss, April 23, 2001
  • Reinventing Democrats: The Politics of Liberalism from Reagan to Clinton, by Kenneth Baer

John Judis is an American author and journalist. ... Ruy Teixeira is a political consultant and commentator. ...

External links

Critics


  Results from FactBites:
 
Democratic Leadership Council (299 words)
It may well be too late to apply the lessons of counterinsurgency theory to Iraq, but it's hardly too early to begin learning from the Iraq experience in the continuing fight against jihadist terrorism, which continues on many fronts in many countries.
Democrats must avoid the temptation to follow up the electoral repudiation of the Bush-Rove polarization strategy with their own version of the same thing.
The 2006 results not only showed an energized Democratic base but a decisive victory among independent and moderate voters who want real-world results from their government and from both parties, not just a choice between two noise machines.
The Democratic Leadership Council: An Explanation of the Organization through an Examination of Education Policy (6329 words)
Founded in 1984 by a group of moderate Southern politicians, the Democratic Leadership Council’s goal was to move the Democratic Party toward the center of the political spectrum.
The Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) was formed in 1985 by a group of moderate Democrats who sought to refocus the goals of their party.
In addition to supporting charter schools, the DLC has called for voluntary national academic standards, more teacher accountability, and an end to social promotion in which students are allowed to move onto the next grade simply because that is what the rest of their age group is doing.
  More results at FactBites »

 
 

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