Al From’s and Bruce Reed’s recent op-ed in the Wall Street Journal, “Get the Red Out” has occasioned much comment, most of it hostile, in the Democratic-oriented blogosphere. Atrios is quite annoyed and feels the DLC basically looks down on 80 percent of Democrats. Josh Marshall is less annoyed, but nonetheless thinks the DLC’s attitude is deplorable and shows contempt for most the Democratic party (though see also his followup post where he tempers his criticism a bit and separates himself from the heavy-duty DLC-bashers). Markos Zuniga over at Daily Kos has perhaps the most stinging rebuke, terming the DLC simply “irrelevant”. He states:
The DLC is a dying organization. But the quicker it dies, the better we’ll be as a party. The path to success lies in finding common ground between the party’s myriad constituencies, not in toeing the Gospel According to From and Reed.
I guess I am not persuaded that the DLC is truly irrelevant (though they certainly do and say some irrelevant things) and dying as an organization. I don’t even believe that would be a good thing if it were true. The DLC is full of smart people who have many good and useful ideas about the road forward for Democrats. You can see some of them in their WSJ article, but Will Marshall’s article, “Heartland Strategy” is a much better source of useful analysis, as is Ed Kilgore’s terrific blog, NewDonkey.
But there’s no denying it: their tone and their attitude are a genuine problem and, in my view, they should be more sensitive to that problem–especially if they don’t want their influence to fade over time. In today’s party, they simply can’t dominate debate the way the once did. If they try to, by casting every debate in an us-against-them way, they do risk becoming, as Zuniga believes they already are, irrelevant. And I think that would be a shame for an organization that has so much to contribute to the party.