The DLC didn't kill the New Left, but arguably, it won the future.
With centrism as their lodestar and a bit of seed funding from business, the Democratic Leadership Council launched itself in the mid 1980s. First came a clarion call to fight against populism within the Democratic Party. Founders Al From and Will Marshall believed that Democrats couldn't win the presidency unless they adopted an economic agenda that was more, well, reasonable and less wedded to traditional party constituencies. Also, there was no reason, they also believed, as to why corporations wouldn't contribute money to Democrats who were pro-trade agreements, more skeptical of labor, and less stringent when it came to regulation. A forward-thinking Arkansas governor named Bill Clinton glommed on to the DLC ... and they glommed on to him, and their relationship consummated in his election to the presidency.
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With reports today that the DLC is preparing to fold, the political world, which thinks in terms of wins and losses, will wonder into which bucket the group belongs. On the one hand, many DLC-influenced ideas became reality in the 1990s: a free trade agreement with Mexico, a Democratic President who saw the budget balance, and welfare reform. From is essentially retired. Longtime staffer Bruce Reed is now Vice President Biden's Chief of Staff. President Obama addressed the U.S. Chamber of Commerce today. The president is pursuing spending cuts and free trade agreements. (Read this speech by candidate Clinton in 1991. It may found familiar.)
On the other hand, the DLC became a hobgoblin and a whole new cadre of wealthy donors and younger activists came to view it as an interloper. Democrats in Congress grew fearful of trade when the short term ramifications in their districts became clear. By 2004, the DLC was more of a useful foil for liberals than a seed bed for policy. By 2008, corporate America was ready to fund the presidential election of a Democrat without the DLC's help.