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Fri Mar 21, 2014, 03:04 PM

"Heavily financed by the most powerful corporations in the world" they sat 54 floors above...

the Democratic convention hall. Setting policy. A few men.

This is John Nichols' unforgettable column in the Progressive 2000. This is the archived version with all the dates above the article.

Behind the DLC Takeover

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.


They closed their doors in 2011 proclaiming that their purposes had been achieved. Some days it's hard to find argument with that.

I think the most disheartening thing this group ever did was to have a press conference in 2003 to declare that Howard Dean was not the man to be president.

What the DLC said about Dean in 2003

More than 50 centrist Democrats, including Virginia Gov. Mark R. Warner, met here yesterday to plot strategy for the "New Democrat" movement. To help get the ball rolling they read a memo by Al From and Bruce Reed, the chairman and president of the Democratic Leadership Council. The memo dismissed Dean as an elitist liberal from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the party -- "the wing that lost 49 states in two elections, and transformed Democrats from a strong national party into a much weaker regional one."

"It is a shame that the DLC is trying to divide the party along these lines," said Dean spokesman Joe Trippi. "Governor Dean's record as a centrist on health care and balancing the budget speaks for itself."

As founder of the DLC, From has been pushing the Democratic Party to the right for nearly 20 years. He was in tall cotton, philosophically speaking, when an early leader of the DLC, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. As Clinton's domestic policy guru, Reed pushed New Democrat ideas -- such as welfare reform -- that were often unpopular with party liberals.

"We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."


That article by a David Von Drehle is no longer available at the WP as far as I can see.

See how easy it all was? Lots of rich donors, overlooking the convention floor from 54 stories high? Not bad.

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Reply "Heavily financed by the most powerful corporations in the world" they sat 54 floors above... (Original post)
madfloridian Mar 2014 OP
jsr Mar 2014 #1
madfloridian Mar 2014 #2
malokvale77 Mar 2014 #9
madfloridian Mar 2014 #16
Mnemosyne Mar 2014 #3
Generic Other Mar 2014 #4
bvar22 Feb 2015 #48
senseandsensibility Mar 2014 #5
madfloridian Mar 2014 #6
fleabiscuit Mar 2014 #12
woo me with science Mar 2014 #7
Le Taz Hot Mar 2014 #22
adirondacker Mar 2014 #26
Scuba Mar 2014 #30
hootinholler Mar 2014 #31
fascisthunter Mar 2014 #44
JHB Mar 2014 #8
madfloridian Mar 2014 #17
JHB Mar 2014 #18
madfloridian Mar 2014 #25
Catherina Mar 2014 #27
FloriTexan Mar 2014 #10
fleabiscuit Mar 2014 #11
geretogo Mar 2014 #13
zeemike Mar 2014 #14
JDPriestly Mar 2014 #15
madfloridian Mar 2014 #20
JDPriestly Mar 2014 #28
MerryBlooms Mar 2014 #19
madfloridian Mar 2014 #21
madfloridian Mar 2014 #23
scarletwoman Mar 2014 #24
chervilant Mar 2014 #29
madfloridian Mar 2014 #32
brooklynite Mar 2014 #33
chervilant Mar 2014 #34
brooklynite Mar 2014 #35
madfloridian Mar 2014 #37
chervilant Mar 2014 #40
brooklynite Mar 2014 #42
chervilant Mar 2014 #45
madfloridian Mar 2014 #47
chervilant Mar 2014 #46
KoKo Mar 2014 #36
madfloridian Mar 2014 #38
KoKo Mar 2014 #39
LondonReign2 Mar 2014 #41
fascisthunter Mar 2014 #43

Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 03:07 PM

1. Recommend

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 03:18 PM

2. What Wellstone said.

From the first link. Nichols quoted Paul Wellstone.

Minnesota Senator Paul Wellstone echoed Jackson's view. "There are forces within the Democratic Party who want us to sound like kinder, gentler Republicans," he said. "I want us to compete for that great mass of voters that want a party that will stand up for working Americans, family farmers, and people who haven't felt the benefits of the economic upturn."

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #2)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:46 PM

9. My roots are in Minnesota

Outside my ancestors, Paul Wellstone was the closest to a real hero for me. His death really shook me to the core.

Thank you so much for this info madfloridian.

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Response to malokvale77 (Reply #9)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:53 PM

16. His death hit us hard here.

I remember we talked about it for days. It was unbelievably sad.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:05 PM

3. k&r nt

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:14 PM

4. Why are we even here anymore?

this sucks.

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Response to Generic Other (Reply #4)

Mon Feb 23, 2015, 03:45 PM

48. I'm here because...

..I "will not go gentle into that good night.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:14 PM

5. I feel sick to my stomach...

but still...thanks for posting this. The history is important, and we certainly will never be reminded of this again in the corporate media.

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Response to senseandsensibility (Reply #5)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:20 PM

6. There was a definitive beginning point, but I don't think there is yet an ending.

There is too much money and power behind the candidates. I've posted this before, and maybe I will again because we tend to forget it was all planned.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #6)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 05:15 PM

12. Trouble in paradise.

If one pokes a sacred cow with a stick you can be jumped on like you’re trying to cause the extinction of the species.

I'm putting on my shit kickers.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:29 PM

7. Huge K&R The DLC/Third Way is an infiltrating cancer.

Last edited Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:13 PM - Edit history (1)

Thanks for this post. I'm adding to my links.


The Third Way and their corporate politicians have never been a grass roots, naturally occurring part of the Party. They are a deliberate, Koch-bankrolled infiltration with a goal of hijacking the Democratic Party to serve corporate interests rather than the interests of voters.

[font size=2]When your child, or your party, is gravely sick with a malignant, infiltrating tumor, you don't pledge loyalty to the tumor because it is a part of your child now. You excise it. [/font size]



When the DLC connections to the Koch Bros. became well known, they just rebranded the infiltration
http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1002&pid=4165556

When you hear "Third Way", think INVESTMENT BANKERS
http://www.democraticunderground.com/10024127432

GOP Donors and K Street Fuel Third Way’s Advice for the Democratic Party
http://www.democraticunderground.com/101680116

The Rightwing Koch Brothers fund the DLC
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=439x498414

Same companies behind the GOP are behind the DLC
http://www.democraticunderground.com/discuss/duboard.php?az=view_all&address=132x1481121


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Response to woo me with science (Reply #7)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 10:24 PM

22. They sure as hell have infiltrated this board.

Posting, literally, 24/7, like it was their job or something.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 12:27 AM

26. Along with a database full of message points. nt

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 06:30 AM

30. "... like it was their job or something."

 

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #22)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 06:39 AM

31. Ever notice when a thread cut too close

They let it sink?

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:32 PM

8. You can find the Von Drehle article here, but it's paywalled:

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Response to JHB (Reply #8)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:56 PM

17. I wonder if there is more to it? I swear I would almost be willing to pay to find it.

I have wondered if the article were longer than that part I posted.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #17)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 07:19 PM

18. The site seems to be handling WaPo's archive, thus the need to pay to get access.

I would guess there's more, but as to how much more, I have no idea.

Do libraries still store old newspapers on microfiche? You could read it there for free, and if there's enough more to it that you're willing to pay the entry fee to be able to copy&paste, you can do that too.

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Response to JHB (Reply #18)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 12:15 AM

25. It's almost 30 a month. about 200 a year.

Looks interesting. I wouldn't mind trying it for their free 7 day trial, but getting a free trial cancelled is very hard.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #17)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 01:03 AM

27. You seem to have most of it. Here's what I was able to find

Centrist Democrats Take Aim at Dean
Friday, 16 May 2003 20:36 By David Von Drehle, Truthout | name.

Editors Note: The Following appeared on an ABC News site: We are typing the following words both knowingly and with great trepidation: we agree with Pat Caddell. On Hardball this week, Caddell said about the DLC's attack on a still potent Howard Dean, "Let me tell why you they're panicked by it. They're panicked by it because the Democratic grass roots is in revolt right now because they're tired of a party that doesn't stand for anything." Dean is tapping into the Internet for communication, community-building, and cash; talking like a Washington outsider; and making people in his party feel inspired and if the McCain comparisons weren't overused, we would make one here Go to ABC Story

-------

Centrist Democrats Take Aim at Dean
Washington Post

Friday 16 May 2003

WASHINGTON -- In case there was any doubt...

...

As founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, From has been pushing the Democratic Party to the right for nearly 20 years. He was in tall cotton, philosophically speaking, when an early leader of the Leadership Council, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. As Clinton's domestic policy guru, Reed pushed New Democrat ideas, such as welfare reform, that were often unpopular with party liberals.

"We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."

The memo took a milder shot at Representative Richard A. Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, for his proposal to guarantee universal health insurance coverage, which From and Reed called far too costly. "Every primary season unleashes the pander virus," they wrote.

Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith said the criticism is a good sign. Gephardt's plan "has been attacked from the left and from the right," Smith said. "We must be on to something."

http://www.truth-out.org/archive/item/44345:centrist-democrats-take-aim-at-dean


May 15, 2003
THE DEMOCRATS' NEOCON PROBLEM
The 'D' in DLC Doesn't Stand for Dean (David Von Drehle, May 15, 2003, Washington Post)

...

"It is a shame that the DLC is trying to divide the party along these lines," said Dean spokesman Joe Trippi. "Governor Dean's record as a centrist on health care and balancing the budget speaks for itself."

As founder of the DLC, From has been pushing the Democratic Party to the right for nearly 20 years. He was in tall cotton, philosophically speaking, when an early leader of the DLC, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. As Clinton's domestic policy guru, Reed pushed New Democrat ideas -- such as welfare reform -- that were often unpopular with party liberals.

"We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."

The memo took a milder shot at Rep. Richard A. Gephardt (D-Mo.) for his proposal to guarantee universal health insurance coverage, which From and Reed deemed far too costly. "Every primary season unleashes the pander virus," they wrote.


The McGovern-Mondale wing is in reality the bulk of the Party. It is the DLC that represents a mere wing--a wing whose logical final resting place is in the GOP.

http://brothersjuddblog.com/archives/2003/05/the_democrats_neocon_problem.html

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 04:59 PM

10. K&R

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 05:00 PM

11. K&R, eom

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 05:52 PM

13. top verses bottom

It seems any more it's not Left verses Right but Top verses Bottom . The Plutocrats at the Top verses the common working person at the Bottom . When the wealth and power gets so heavy and authoritarian at the top ,it will fall over on it's own with just a tug down by the PEOPLE as it has through history .

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:00 PM

14. K&R

Because this is the sad truth.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 06:25 PM

15. K&R.

I hate to say it, but the Democratic Party seems to have forgotten this important question:



Which Side Are You On?

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Response to JDPriestly (Reply #15)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 09:15 PM

20. Great song.

Neither party is on the side of unions now...at least they don't act that way.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #20)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 02:08 AM

28. They sure don't. We need to change that.

And if unions are no longer the organizing choice of working people, we have to find out how working people can be organized and represented today.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 08:22 PM

19. One of the best posts of the week.


Kickaroo and wish I could rec more than once.

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Response to MerryBlooms (Reply #19)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 10:12 PM

21. ....

Nice words, thanks. I wish I could add on at the end April Fool or something. Would be nice if it weren't true..

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 10:54 PM

23. This part about how Clinton tried to avoid DLC rhetoric, but their NAFTA plan got done.

Even back when Clinton was president they knew these were not views supported by the people. Interesting paragraphs from the Nichols article:

Clinton learned early on the dangers of following the DLC line too closely. After the 1992 election, giddy New Democrats inside and outside the Administration did much to define the first two years of the Clinton Presidency. The result was the worst Democratic electoral setback of the century--a sweeping rejection of the party caused, in no small measure, by the failure of millions of working class voters to go to the polls. They were angered by Clinton's over-the-top backing of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), a DLC signature issue.

After the 1994 election, DLC cadres set about shaping political structures that would give it greater influence within the Congressional Democratic caucus. They formed the New Democrat Network, a well-funded group dedicated to electing and reelecting corporation-friendly Democrats. It expanded the House membership after both the 1996 and 1998 elections.

....The DLC got so excited about putting expansion of NAFTA on fast track in 1997 that it hired lobbyists and aired its first-ever television ad campaign, a $200,000 initiative that urged viewers to tell Congress to hand over trade negotiating authority to the President. Congress said "no" then, but the position resurfaces as a plank in this year's platform.

.....Now, the DLC and its allied groups, particularly the New Democrat Network, have stepped up efforts to assure that future trade votes will favor Wall Street over Main Street.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Fri Mar 21, 2014, 11:00 PM

24. Thank you. Excellent OP! (nt)

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 03:52 AM

29. "Heavily financed..."

There's the kicker -- the very few with the mega-buckages, gleefully shaping a world that they can control. History WILL repeat...

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Response to chervilant (Reply #29)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 09:35 AM

32. They are ruthless.

We are seeing more and more the consequences when there is too much bipartisanship.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 09:43 AM

33. I lost interest after "ideologically rigid sectarian clique"

and as for "inserts two of its own", I seem to recall that we had a Primary where millions of voters expressed their choice among candidates, including Howard Dean. For some reason (having nothing to do with the "Dean Scream" he was unable to convince people to actually vote for him.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #33)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 09:56 AM

34. Consider watching

The Century of the Self, and/or read about Eddie Bernays. Also, consider Jerry Mander's "Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television." We (the macro-level WE) are easily "persuaded."

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Response to chervilant (Reply #34)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 10:03 AM

35. An equally silly argument...

...that the average voter is just too stupid to see they're being conned, but a handful of bloggers were able to see through this evil plot.

Argue all you want about the ideological positions of DLC, but the movement was formed when the Democratic Party's left-leaning policies were proving to be unpopular with the electorate at large, so DLC advocated for more moderate (not "conservative" positions to expand the voting base. You have every write to advocate for more political purity in the Party, just as the Tea Party has been doing with the Republicans. I understand we may have another election in 2016. We'll see what happens.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #35)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 10:33 AM

37. From the mouth of an original DLC leader, and founder of the New Dem network.

http://prospect.org/article/how-dlc-does-it

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."

A Business-Led Party

Freeing Democrats from being, well, Democrats has been the Democratic Leadership Council's mission since its founding 16 years ago by Al Gore, Chuck Robb, and a handful of other conservative, mostly southern Dems as a rump faction of disaffected elected officials and party activists. Producing and directing the DLC is Al From, its founder and CEO, who's been the leader, visionary, and energizing force behind the New Democrat movement since Day One. A veteran of the Carter White House and Capitol Hill, where he'd worked for Louisiana Representative Gillis Long and served as executive director of the House Democratic Caucus, From helped build the Committee on Party Effectiveness, a forerunner of the DLC, in the early 1980s. To From, a key rationale for establishing the DLC in those days was to protect the Democrats' eroding bastion in the South against mounting Republican gains, and indeed one of the DLC's chief projects in the 1980s was to create and promote the Super Tuesday primary across the South, aimed at enhancing the clout of southern Dems in selecting presidential candidates.


They have indeed lessened their reliance on "traditional interest groups."

You can call my views "silly", but Simon made it clear.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #35)

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 08:03 AM

40. OIC...

I can tell I've struck a nerve when I get derision and condescension in a response.



(My recommended documentary series does not argue that "the average voter is just too stupid to see that they're being conned." You might learn something if you watched it ...)

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Response to chervilant (Reply #40)

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 01:24 PM

42. from your post: "We (the macro-level WE) are easily "persuaded.""

Now if it's your assertion that the voters WEREN'T duped, they must have voted for Clinton et al because they agreed with his policies. Hence my point that, while you're welcome to advocate for a more progressive agenda, most of the voters seem to be more concentrated in the middle.

And as for "striking a nerve", I don't tend to get worked up by posts like this because I deal with the REAL world of politics: Presidential candidates, campaign committees and advocacy groups that do real work to get people elected. Angry bloggers never seem to come out from behind their keyboards.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #42)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 05:47 AM

45. Ooooh, I'm so impressed!

Are you DU's Mr. Big?!? I had no idea you work in "the real world of politics"! Phew!






(Really...I'm so impressed!)


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Response to brooklynite (Reply #42)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:35 AM

47. If you're in the REAL world of politics, you sure have a big job ahead.

.

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Response to brooklynite (Reply #35)

Tue Mar 25, 2014, 10:18 AM

46. I think you need some levity in your life...

So, I recommend you view this thread. (Ironically, it richly illustrates my point--the one you transmogrified to "the average voter is just too stupid..."

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 10:30 AM

36. They were terrified of the Dean Meetups..The People getting together and sharing

information and then acting on the information.

It was the most populist action seen by Both Parties in Decades and it had to be STOPPED!

and....it was. Instead we were told to put our efforts into becoming "Precinct Chairs" and go door to door to "spread the word" while the Repugs put out massive Phone/Mail/Leaflets/TV Advertising and Media Campaigns....we were told by the Rahm Wing of the Dem Party to just become Precinct Chairs knowing full well that it isn't done in politics anymore where Precinct Chairs have any power or backing to make change in either Party.

I'll leave it at that...because I've written about my and other experiences here in my state over and over and so have others about Wisconsin and Florida. It seems a different approach will have to emerge.

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Response to KoKo (Reply #36)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 11:27 AM

38. FL Dems esp did not care for us. They called DLC the "wind" in their sails. Quote.

started getting into positions of leadership locally, it alarmed the state and local parties. FL was once of the first to become firmly tied to the DLC. This is from the 2000 convention.

Florida Dem Chair at 2000 DNC convention..."The DLC is the wind in our sails"

Making his way through the Florida delegation, for example, he's greeted by the state party chair, the head of the state DLC, and a gruff lawyer from Lakeland named Bob Grizzard. Defiantly wearing a t-shirt from Clinton's 1992 campaign over his checkered oxford shirt, Grizzard tells me he's a "proud member of the DLC." When I ask him about the prominence of liberal speakers on the convention docket, he says, "We're the party of diversity and inclusion," then pauses before adding, "and if they don't want to swallow DLC, we'll stick it to 'em." A minute later, he grabs the shoulders of an African American delegate and pulls him over. "He's not quite with us yet," Grizzard confides to me jokingly, "but we'll give him time." Grizzard's friends are a little embarrassed by the gesture but share his triumphalism nonetheless. "The DLC is the wind in our sails," says Bob Poe, the state party chair.

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Response to madfloridian (Reply #38)

Sat Mar 22, 2014, 12:52 PM

39. amazing....

"The Wind in Our Sails" that dumped us in 2010 and not done much else to help us in Red states since.

The people will have to do it themselves. I have hope for the "Moral Monday's" movements springing up in the Southeast. And...btw..Democracy now showed a group protesting Cuomo in New York about "income disparity" and they mentioned..."It's a question of Morality" ...so the "Morality" question might be gaining traction. Giving credit back to Occupy Movement which put the 1% vs 99% meme out there.

Maybe some good things will be coming as pushback, MF.... We have to hope.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 08:18 AM

41. K&R

Those that proudly and paradoxically call themselves "conservative democrats" and "reality based" need only realize that they are to the right of Nixon, helping move this country further and further to the right. Of course, they DO realize that, and its their job to do just that.

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Response to madfloridian (Original post)

Sun Mar 23, 2014, 01:36 PM

43. The Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party

 

May as well be moderate republicans.

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