I actually consider myself a “New Democrat” in the Clintonian sense, and I think the Democratic Leadership Council did a lot of good for the party. Nevertheless–and I’m definitely not arguing for far-left policies–it is disturbing to see nonsense like this directed at Howard Dean:

Al From, the founder of the organization and an ally of Mr. Clinton, invoked the sweeping defeats of George McGovern in 1972 and Walter F. Mondale in 1984 as he cautioned against a return to policies — including less emphasis on foreign policy and an inclination toward expanding the size of government — that he said were a recipe for another electoral disaster.

Dean is not my first choice, but he’s definitely in the top five. And Dean is not that liberal–not nearly as liberal as McGovern or Mondale and it is stupid to allege that he is, and no good can come from attacking him.

Hey, Al From, stop acting like narrow-minded jackasses: the importance of your preferred candidate winning pales in comparison to having the strongest possible candidate emerge from the Demcratic primaries. You may think that attacking Dean is a way to achieve that, but that’s myopic because it fails to anticipate the response it will induce. You think that if Bill Bradley had not called Gore a liar, Gore might have picked up a few hundred more votes in Florida? Every drop of blood spilt in the primaries is sweet, sweet, mother’s milk to Karl Rove. So stop it. Ok, thenTM.

More generally, the time has come for the DLC to realize that everything exhibits diminishing returns. To think that “if a chunk of centrism worked in 1992 and 1996, then a gigantic wad of centrism will do the trick in 2004” is folly. By all means, don’t go left of Clinton, but that’s no compelling reason to leap right of him.


Correction: Edited due to Charles Kuffner correctly pointing out that Terry McAuliffe is not in the DLC–I suppose I tossed him in there because he does annoy me sometimes. In fairness to McCauliffe, back in April he made the same point I make above:

In an interview at a DNC fund-raiser Tuesday, Terry McAuliffe said he understood the need for the nine candidates to draw distinctions on issues, but he fears the war of words is escalating.

“We do not and I do not encourage any of our candidates to go after fellow Democrats,” McAuliffe said. “I want to discourage it early on. … We expect all of them to abide by a good code out there to make sure the focus is on George Bush and not on each other.”

So to clarify, this is the DLC leadership:

Al From is founder and CEO of the DLC; Bruce Reed is president; Pennsylvania State Representative Jennifer Mann is Chair of the DLC’s State Legislative Advisory Board (SLAB); U.S. Sen. Evan Bayh is chairman of the DLC; U.S. Sen. Tom Carper is chair for Best Practices; Detroit (MI) Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick is chairman of the DLC’s Local Elected Officials Network; and U.S. Rep. Ellen Tauscher is vice chair of the DLC.”