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Saturday, August 12, 2006

Public Realizing DLC Hurts Democrats

Damn, it has been a tough year for the DLC. June 6th was an awful day, with DLC candidates spanked in Montana and California despite huge fundraising advantages. And now DLC'er Joe Lieberman has lost, again despite an enourmous fundraising advantage. David Sirota notes:

It’s been a rough few weeks for the folks at Big Money's Democratic Party Embassy, otherwise known as the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC). First, Rolling Stone cut through the DLC's seemingly friendly, subtly caustic, vaguely cultish rhetoric and exposed it's rather odious agenda for all to see (an agenda I also try to detail in my new book Hostile Takeover). Then, DLC posterboy Joe Lieberman lost to a previously little-known reformist challenger named Ned Lamont, despite Lieberman grossly outspending Lamont with corporate dollars flowing to him from many of the same industries that fund the DLC. Then, populist Wisconsin Sen. Russ Feingold (D) dropped the hammer on the DLC in a speech at the Milwaukee Press Club - the first time in recent memory a Senator has publicly told the truth about the destructive influence the DLC has had on the Democratic Party. So, all in all, DLC staffers Al From, Bruce Reed, Will Marshall, Ed Kilgore, Marshall Wittman and the Big Money interests they rely on for their DLC paychecks are probably not so happy.

That has to explain why Kilgore, formerly a Zell Miller staffer, melted down yesterday on his blog. In an eight paragraph rant attacking me and Sen. Feingold, he tries to paint the DLC as just a small, low-budget idealistic operation struggling to advocate for the greater good in an evil corrupt Washington that the DLC had nothing to do with corrupting. We're expected to believe the DLC is the organizational equivalent of Mr. Smith Goes to Washington or a garage band struggling to make it big. All "the DLC does is write policy papers, hold conferences, publish a magazine, and network among state and local elected officials," Kilgore writes. "Three of us do blogs." They are the virtuous underdog, doing whatever they can to go up against the powers that be, right?

Wrong. As the American Prospect detailed a few years ago, the DLC is funded by huge contributions by some of the largest and most powerful multinational corporations in the world - companies like Chevron, DuPont, Enron, IBM, Merck and Company, Microsoft, Philip Morris, Texaco, and Verizon Communications who eagerly forked over the $25,000 entry fee to be on the DLC's "executive council." As the Prospect noted, the DLC's "revenues climbed steadily upward, reaching $5 million in 1996 and, according to its most recent available tax returns, $6.3 million for 1999. " Said the organization's executive director: "Our revenues for 2000 will probably end up around $7.2 million."

Go read the whole thing, moving on beyond the DLC is the most important task for Democrats and the 2008 presidential primaries will be the place to finish the job.

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