The centrist Democratic Leadership Council is holding its national meeting in Chicago. What’s interesting is that Obama isn’t attending. In addition, no Democratic presidential contender attended last year’s meeting, either. Obama might be moving to the center on some issues, but he certainly isn’t DLC-ing it….
The candidates know that the primaries are played almost exclusively on one end of playing field — the end near our own goal line where the most partisan activists, including those most vocal in their opposition to the DLC, make the most noise. But they also know that presidential elections are played on both ends of the field — and we’re not likely to cross the opponent’s goal line if we stay in our end. And they are well aware that the only Democrat elected and re-elected to the White House since Franklin Roosevelt ran on and governed successfully by the DLC formula.
That probably explains why candidates did not come to the National Conversation this year. No presidential candidate came during the primary season in either 1999 or 2003, but our nominee keynoted the 2000 and 2004 meetings as the general election got underway. Only time will tell, of course, but I suspect that next year — when the premium will be on winning a general election — our nominee will once again be back at the DLC.
As it happens, the DLC feels less relevant today than even I'd anticipated. I think it's safe to say it was one of the big losers of this year's primaries, along with the Clintons (or at least Bill)...
P.S. Here's my response to the multiple DLC responses I got last year.