JONATHAN CHAIT FEBRUARY 7, 2011
This would have been shocking ten years ago:
The Democratic Leadership Council, the iconic centrist organization of the Clinton years, is out of money and could close its doors as soon as next week, a person familiar with the plans said Monday.
The DLC, a network of Democratic elected officials and policy intellectuals,tried -- but has failed -- to remake itself in the summer of 2009, when its founder, Al From, stepped down as president. Its new leader, former Clinton aide Bruce Reed, sought to remake the group as a think tank, and the DLC split from its associated think tank, the Progressive Policy Institute.
It's hard to remember, but the whole rise of the progressive netroots was organized around opposition to the DLC, which liberals saw as Satan incarnate. Bill Clinton was an early member, and the DLC helped frame his presidential candidacy.
I always had mixed feelings about the group. I think it was about half innovative effort to counterbalance traditional Democratic interest groups, and half naked effort to suck up to corporate America and/or give contentless messaging cover to red state Democrats.
But for the main part, the DLC disappeared because its work was over. The remaking of the Democratic Party begun by Clinton held in place. The DLC floundered because it had nowhere else to go -- having moved the party to the center, it could only advocate for the party is it stood in the Clinton and post-Clinton era, or advocate that it move further still toward the center. It became a an anachronism.