Group for centrist Democrats runs out of money. Does it matter?
The moderate Democratic Leadership Council suspends operations. Liberals rejoice, others say the DLC succeeded in moving the party to the middle.
Chances are, the closure of the Democratic Leadership Council doesn’t mean much to most people. Though it had state chapters, it was a distinctly inside-the-Beltway phenomenon – an organization founded by moderate Democrats in 1985 to steer the party away from its left-wing image and philosophies, and make it more viable on the national stage.Skip to next paragraph
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The DLC’s biggest achievement was the presidential election of member Bill Clinton in 1992 – no small feat.
Now, retired DLC founder Al From confirmed Monday night, the DLC has suspended operations over funding woes. In a statement, he said the DLC is convinced it will continue to have an impact in the future.
But does the DLC’s demise tell us anything about the larger future of centrist politics? In the actual business of governing the country, after all, President Obama is now all about a shift to the center, trying to compromise with the newly empowered Republicans where possible and dropping his populist rhetoric in favor of a more business-friendly approach.
And there are plenty of other centrist Democratic organizations picking up the slack. The Progressive Policy Institute, a think tank that spun off from the DLC in 2009, is alive and well. So is the New Democrat Network and Third Way. The Center for American Progress, founded by Clinton White House alumnus John Podesta, also qualifies as centrist and has the benefit of close ties to the Obama White House. The last DLC-er who could make that boast – the group’s CEO, Bruce Reed – just left the organization to become Vice President Biden’s chief of staff. He had just completed a stint as executive director of Mr. Obama’s fiscal commission.