"In a private club 54 floors above the convention hall they monitored the party they infiltrated."
That sentence is from an article below about the 2000 Democratic convention, and the power the DLC had over it.
This is just my opinion, but I believe the Tea Party extremists gained power because our side was too busy listening to the calls for "bipartisanship" coming from the policy think tanks. The Republicans didn't fight them because they needed to win and used whatever was needed to do so.
So in effect both sides moved right. The GOP moved right out of conviction. The Democrats moved right for two reasons. They feared the media machine formed by the Republicans, and they took the advice of corporately funded think tanks.
Behind the DLC Takeover
By John Nichols
At the national convention of a major political party, an ideologically rigid sectarian clique secures the ultimate triumph. It inserts two of its own as nominees for the Presidency and the Vice Presidency. Heavily financed by the most powerful corporations in the world, the group's leaders gather in a private club fifty-four floors above the convention hall, apart from the delegates of the party they had infiltrated. There, they carefully monitor the convention's acceptance of a platform the organization had drafted almost in its entirety. Then, with the ticket secured and with the policy course of the party set, they introduce a team of 100 shock troops to deploy across the country to lock up the party's grassroots.
This is not some fantastic political thriller starring Harrison Ford or Sharon Stone. This is the real-life version of Invasion of the Party Snatchers--with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) burrowing into the pod that is the Democratic Party.
Founded in the mid-1980s with essentially the same purpose as the Christian Coalition--to pull a broad political party dramatically to the right--the DLC has been far more successful than its headline-grabbing Republican counterpart. After Walter Mondale's 1984 defeat at the hands of Ronald Reagan, a group of mostly Southern, conservative Democrats hatched the theory that their party was in trouble because it had grown too sympathetic to the agendas of organized labor, feminists, African Americans, Latinos, gays and lesbians, peace activists, and egalitarians.
....A day is soon coming when "we'll finally be able to proclaim that all Democrats are, indeed, New Democrats," declared DLC President Al From on the eve of this year's Democratic National Convention.
After every success we have as Democrats all kind of op eds appear, saying that we need to be careful as a majority not to leave the other side out of discussions. That's fine and good, but not practical when the other side are extremists.
It used to be the Democratic Leadership Council guiding the steps of our party, but in 2011 Fox Democrat Kirsten Powers let us know that Third Way was taking their place.
From her column at the Daily Beast:
DLC Shut Down: The Democrats’ New Power Base
Reports of the death of centrism in the Democratic Party have been greatly exaggerated.
Monday’s news that the Democratic Leadership Council is folding after three decades was greeted with glee by those on the left who see it as evidence that centrism has gasped its last breath.
.."The truth is, the DLC’s position as the leading centrist Democratic think tank was long ago overtaken by a group called Third Way, which has been growing more influential by the day.
Before joining the White House, Bill Daley, President Obama’s new chief of staff, was a board member of Third Way.
I found an opinion piece written in 1995 by the present head of the Third Way. He was calling on Democrats to privatize Social Security for everyone but the very needy.
Pure gold from 1995. Op ed from Third Way prez Cowan calling to privatize Social Security.
The time has come to reinvent Social Security based on a "cut and privatize" approach that will be fair to all age groups. This reinvention should be based on three principles:
Start immediately to lower boomers' expectations of the returns they will get and encourage them to increase private savings.
Separate out the welfare portion of Social Security and pay out poverty benefits to today's--and tomorrow's--needy seniors from general government revenues.
Idea #3 is to lower the Social Security payroll to 10% (where the heck was it in 1995...isn't it 6.2 now?) and "give workers the option of putting their money into private pension programs that offer far higher returns and sounder prospects than today's Social Security system."
Some quotes from those who have warned the party to include the left and behave like Democrats.
False centrism and the rush to "bipartisanship". They are failing our party. Some quotes.
I still quote Howard Dean now and then. I stopped for a while because I believe he stepped back a while from telling things straight and clear. Hopefully he will again.
From June 2010:
"You did your job," Dean added. "You elected Barack Obama. You elected a Democratic Congress. You elected a Democratic Senate. And now it's time for them to behave like Democrats if they want to get reelected. They have forgotten where they came from -- and they haven't been here that long."
Dean echoed other progressive leaders who opened the conference Monday, expressing dismay, even anger, at the White House and Congress, saying they have been too timid and compromising on issues such as health care, the economy, climate change and banking reform.
Dean said the progressive base is critical to Democrats' electoral successes this fall and beyond. "If Washington understands that they can't do things that demoralize their base," Dean said, "then we'll have a permanent (Democratic) majority."
It proved to be true about needing the progressive base in 2010.
R. J. Eskow's masterpiece just after the 2010 midterms was clear.
After last night's rout, what are these experts advising? You guessed it: more of the same so-called "Centrism." That's an odd word to use for policies that most Americans oppose, like cutting Social Security or allowing bankers to enrich themselves by endangering the economy, but theirs is an Alice-in-Wonderland world.
Real centrists would defend Social Security and do more to rein in Wall Street, since those positions are popular across the political spectrum. It's a good thing the president said today that he wants to spend more time with the American people. Bankers and the Deficit Commission aren't "centrists" where most Americans live.
Robert Reich has a frank and open interview with Speigel Online.
SPIEGEL ONLINE: When you served in the White House, President Bill Clinton began on the left but drifted to the middle after the Democrats lost significant ground in the mid-term elections. Do you see that happening again?
Reich: I was there with Bill Clinton when he tried to so called "triangulate" and please the voters in the middle. But the middle is a fiction. The middle is simply where most voters who respond to surveys say they are. What Clinton did and what Obama may be forced to do is to give up leadership; that is, to simply respond to polls. I think it would be a shame if Obama moved from leadership to opinion polls, but his advisors may feel that that's the only way to guarantee him a re-election.
There are good ideas there at the Third Way in some cases. They are usually geared to the business community. That group often speaks of the left in not so friendly terms.
Simon Rosenberg, a co-founder of the DLC gave away their game and left no doubt. He spoke of why the DLC was founded. The article was in The American Prospect, and the actual link is hard to keep up with. Here is his quote:
"freed... from positions making it difficult for us to win. "...Simon Rosenberg.
"Simon Rosenberg, the former field director for the DLC who directs the New Democrat Network, a spin-off political action committee, says, "We're trying to raise money to help them lessen their reliance on traditional interest groups in the Democratic Party. In that way," he adds, "they are ideologically freed, frankly, from taking positions that make it difficult for Democrats to win."
Now I believe we are looking at the XL pipeline being okayed, the safety nets cut for seniors, schools finally privatized, more troops sent to our wars around the world.
A country is not healthy without an opposition party. We had a chance to be one, and I think we failed too often.