Ben Smith at Politico reports: Democratic Leadership Council will fold
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals had long been fading from its mid-’90s political relevance, tarred by the left as a symbol of “triangulation” at a moment when there’s little appetite for intra-party warfare on the center-right.
Quite frankly I was somewhat surprised to have the DLC even mentioned of late (and that mention only corresponds to the fact that Harold Ford occasionally shows up on MTP and the graphic under his name say “Democratic Leadership Council”).
The original goals of the DLC were to move the Democratic Party more to the center after the Mondale nomination was such a disaster for the party (followed up by the Dukakis nomination). The election of Bill Clinton in 1992 made the DLC, in many ways, superfluous and his re-election in 1996 only reinforced that notion. Indeed, during the Clinton years much of the upper echelons of the Democratic Party itself was heavily influences by DLC thinking. As such, I am not sure that the organization has been especially relevant for almost two decades. Despite what some on the rightward side of things may think, the main Democratic Party is actually a lot more like the centrist DLC than it used to be–much to the chagrin, in fact, of the more progressive wing of the party. As such: mission accomplished in many ways.
Beyond that, the Democratic Party is, even in the wake of defeats in 2010, still in fairly healthy condition insofar as it has been competitive in terms of Congressional elections for the the last several cycles by which I mean demonstrating an ability to win one or both chambers in multiple cycles and it currently holds the White House (and has a reasonable expectation that it’s candidate can win re-election).* As such, the mainline party is not in need of renovation from the outside.
All of this sums to no discernable role for the DLC. As such, adios.
*No doubt many readers will dispute both the notion of a “healthy” Democratic Party in terms of congressional elections as well as the notion that Obama has a decent chance of re-election 2012. All I am saying is that the basic history of the last several elections has shown enough successes to warrant such an assessment. In regards to Obama, history shows that a sitting president has a reasonable expectation of re-election while recognizing that nothing is guaranteed.