For years those involved with the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) told us that the only way for the Democrats to regain power was to imitate Republicans to a certain extent on economic issues while running all the way to the left on social issues like abortion and gun control. Free Trade was sold as a doctrinaire position of being a "New Democrat" and cozying up to corporations and the political insiders was the way back to power, or so we were told. As a recovering "New Democrat" the 2006 elections once again demonstrated that the DLC was wrong and the adherence of many centrist Democrats to the policy positions of the DLC was a major reason why the Democrats spent 12 years out of power in Congress.
In 2006 The Democrats regained Congress because of a populist revolt. A revolt against free trade, and sending of jobs overseas. A revolt against the neo-conservative (or I would argue arch liberal) policies of nation building in the Middle East advocated by DLCers Hillary Rodham Clinton and Joe Lieberman along with the Bush administration. A revolt against corporate and lobbyist control of our Congress. On all three counts the DLC agenda was rejected by the masses of voters especially in the upper midwest who switched their allegiance back to their party of the past and put Democrats back in office.
When you consider the profile of so many Democrats that won on November 7th was liberal on economics and more conservative on cultural issues, you realize how far adrift the Democrats had gotten from the reality of the American electorate. Thanks in large measure to the DLC advocacy of a "third way" the Democrats lost their soul on pocket book issues and foreign policy while adhering to a strict elitist coastal view on cultural issues. Prior to the Reagan Revolution of 1980 then Democrats held huge majorities in both houses of Congress largely because they could win seats in interior states of the West and Lower Midwest with people like Warren Magnuson, Mo Udall and Frank Church. Liberals who stood strong on economic issues and valued constituent service over adherence to a lobbyist agenda in Washington D.C.
The Democrats may have lucked into an election victory in 2006. But to sustain the gains, Democrats must throw off the unsolicited advice of pundits like Dick Morris who wrongly give the DLC credit for the victory and govern as populists who avoid social issues and legislate strongly on a reform/populist platform. If they do govern the right way we could be seeing the shift to a new third way, that of the populists and a revival of the New Deal Democratic party.
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- I am the host of the Major League Soccer Talk and EPL Talk Podcasts and am frequent guest on other (world) football shows. I am also the publisher of various other websites including this one. I work in public/government relations in addition to my soccer work and have a keen interest in history, politics, aviation, travel,and the world around us.