Is Barak Obama a member of the DLC?
by shergald, Tue Feb 12, 2008 at 07:31:00 AM EST
This frontpage essay by Booman (Booman Tribune) today contains some passages that I felt were interesting because, contrary to the claims of Harold Ford, the present chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, Barak Obama is not a member nor does he advocate the rightward policies of the DLC. Just last week on the Charlie Rose Show (PBS, sorry no link), Harold Ford identified Obama as a DLC member. The denial below on Obama's part is probably the essence of what distinguishes him from the Hillary Clinton campaign, Clintonism, and the rightward or centrist trajectory of DLC policy.
Some people have looked at the similarity between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton's platforms and concluded both that Clinton isn't really a Clintonite and that Barack Obama is a Clintonite. This is wrong. Clintonism is a faction within the Democratic Party whose foremost interest is sustaining the power of its members. It is impossible that Barack Obama could be a Clintonite at the same time as he beats the Clintons and takes away the jobs of all their supporters and gives them to new people that do not like the Clintons. That doesn't mean that the Clintonites have not tried to claim Obama as their own:
"I am not currently, nor have I ever been, a member of the DLC," said Obama, in a statement that substantially reflects a telephone conversation with Associate Editor Bruce Dixon, this weekend. "It does appear that, without my knowledge, the DLC...listed me in their `New Democrat' directory," Obama continued. "Because I agree that such a directory implies membership, I will be calling the DLC to have my name removed, and appreciate your having brought this fact to my attention."
When asked whether he supported universal health care and opposed NAFTA and the AUMF-Iraq, Obama, saying yes, said:
You are undoubtedly correct that these positions make me an unlikely candidate for membership in the DLC. That is why I am not currently, nor have I ever been, a member of the DLC. As I stated in my previous letter, I agreed to be listed as "100 to watch" by the DLC. That's been the extent of my contact with them. It does appear that, without my knowledge, the DLC also listed me in their "New Democrat" directory. Because I agree that such a directory implies membership, I will be calling the DLC to have my name removed, and appreciate your having brought this fact to my attention.
Ironically, Clinton would say the same thing...if she could. Unfortunately, that AUMF-Iraq is there on the record. Clinton's pro-corporate universal health care plan is sincere, and there's some evidence that she had her doubts about NAFTA. The key is to look at the DLC members themselves and see who they are supporting. To a woman, they are supporting either Clinton or McCain. And that should tell you all you need to know about what the elites think about this race and who will serve whose interests.
Ever since the decision to invade Iraq was made, there have two factions in the Democratic Party. On one side was the DLC, the Clintons, the old party hands, the hawkish intellectuals, and The New Republic. On the other was Howard Dean, the netroots, MoveOn.org, Iraq Vets Against the War, and progressives of all stripes. Today we may see the former faction hand George W. Bush unprecedented spying powers, while the latter faction nails another nail in the coffin of Clintonism by sweeping the Potomac Primaries.
So let there be no mistake. While Obama and Hillary may at times vote in concert on legislative issues, Obama is not a Clintonite nor does he apparently advocate directions for the Democratic party that the Clintons wish to bring back into government.
This philosophical-political distinction is the most basic between the candidates and not some trivial difference in their medical care plans.