Beast of the Month - December 2008
- Beast of the Month - December 2008
Democratic Leadership Council Kingpin
"I yam an anti-Christ..."
John Lydon (aka Johnny Rotten) of The Sex Pistols, "Anarchy in the UK"
"His choice, basically, is whether he's going to be Uncle Sam for the
people of this country, or Uncle Tom for the giant corporations."
Ralph Nader on Barack Obama, on election night
Anyone who is cynical about the whole Obamamania fad (and yes, that
would include The Konformist itself) might as well suck it up and
accept the truth: like it or not, Barky is the face of "liberalism"
and "the left" for at least the next eight years. (And perhaps up to
forty, if you believe the persuasive political theories of Webster
Tarpley and Samuel Huntington.) So the question needs to be asked:
what is the reality behind this face?
Despite all the korporate press propagandizing already proclaiming
President Obama a perfect mixture of JFK, MLK, RFK, FDR, Abraham
Lincoln and Jesus Christ even before he has taken office (an
embarrassing level of delusional fawning by the establishment media
not seen since... well, since George W. Bush right after 9/11) he is
decidedly a transparent fraud rather than a transcendental leader in
The Konformist view. This became more annoyingly obvious as the
image heavy, substance non-existent campaign continued to be exposed
as a front for the most noxious elements of the Democratic Party.
All the repeated chantings of the mantras of "hope" and "change"
couldn't hide the repellant machine behind the bizarre mixture of a
New Age religious kult and a multi-level marketing scam.
Certainly Obama, a crafty politician and master manipulator, deserves
much of the credit and blame for the success of his campaign,
starting off with his lofty oratorical style. Indeed, his personal
magnetism in speeches is so spellbinding, many suspect he
intentionally uses NLP phraseology and pacing in his delivery to
induce mass hypnosis on his audience. (Then again, since mass
manipulation is the purpose of all political propaganda, it's hard to
fault Obama on this count just because he's better at it than
NLP hypnosis or not, Obama didn't come up with his war plan blueprint
all by his lone gunman self. His two top political advisors, chief
strategist David Axelrod and campaign manager David Plouffe,
certainly deserve much of the cheers and heckles as well. Axelrod
and Plouffe are partners in AKP&D Message and Media, and the campaign
they helped craft earned the prize from Advertising Age for 2008
Marketer of the Year, beating out Apple and Zappos.com. As the World
Socialist Web Site would sarcastically observe, "Obama replaces last
year's winner, the video game system Nintendo. The runner-up in 2007
was the insurance corporation GEICO, which features a talking lizard
and a cave-man in its ads for discount insurance."
Still, even the twin David's are chump change in the Democratic Party
machine, smooth spin doctor salesman rather than the policy genius.
If Obama is the current Grand Theft Auto of politics, the Xbox 360
system running the software is clearly the Democratic Leadership
Council, led by founder and CEO Al From, The Konformist Beast of the
The DLC was founded in 1985, after the massacre of Walter Mondale by
the Gipper in the '84 election. Its first major battle came in 1988,
when it successfully fought against Jesse Jackson from winning the
Democratic nomination. Ironically then, its first mission was
blocking a smooth-talking Chicago black man from winning the White
The DLC's problem with Jesse wasn't that he was African-American, but
that he was an economic populist, which the DLC terms as "out of
touch" thinking. Instead, they support what they term "centrism" -
i.e. right wing economic and foreign policy positions. Economic
populism, as far as the DLC is concerned, is engaging in "class
warfare" and a decided no-no. Talking populism may not be
acceptable, but taking hefty dollars from oil companies, military
contractors, korporate monoliths and right-wing foundations is okely
dokely. Thanks to the DLC's refusal to battle the GOP talking
points, they, as much as George W. Bush, Rush Limbaugh and FOX News,
have pushed the rightward shift in American politics over the last
In 2003, the DLC leadership strongly backed the invasion of Iraq.
Indeed, Will Marshall (besides From, the only non-elected official on
the DLC founding roster) co-signed a letter written by the neocon
Project for the New American Century to George W. Bush in favor of
the attack before it was launched. Even as the war became
increasingly unpopular, Marshall and the DLC crowd continued to mock
what they termed the "looney left" critics of the war. As Marshall
would put it, "Democrats need to be choosier about the political
company they keep, distancing themselves from the pacifist and anti-
American fringe." The DLC went after prez candidate Howard Dean over
his antiwar status, who replied that he came "from the Democratic
wing of the Democratic Party." (It's plausible the repeated playing
of the "Dean Scream" was orchestrated by DLCers who wanted to destroy
his campaign.) There was one guy even more hated than Dean in 2004
among the DLC: Michael Moore, whose Fahrenheit 9/11 heated up the box-
office and progressive voters with his Bush-bashing documentary. As
Marshall would sneer, "You know, let's let Hollywood and the Cannes
Film Festival fawn all over Michael Moore. We ought to make it
pretty clear that he sure doesn't speak for us when it comes to
standing up for our country." From would add: "We've got to
repudiate, you know, the most strident and insulting anti-American
voices out there sometimes on our party's left... We can't have our
party identified by Michael Moore and Hollywood as our cultural
values." Four years later, Moore has been proven to be even more
vindicated over what the correct position on Iraq was than Jose
Canseco has been on steroids in baseball. Despite this, Marshall
continues to head the Progressive Policy Institute, the DLC's think
tank (Orwellian in name due to its lack of any progressive values.)
Shilling for war in Iraq isn't the only Shrubian position taken by
the DLC. When Bush's illegal warrantless surveillance program was
uncovered, senior fellow Marshall Wittmann dismissed opposition to it
as from the "fevered imaginations of graying baby boomers and twenty-
something bloggers," and added: "The Democratic Party is increasingly
under the influence of modern day McGovernites." It should be noted
that Wittmann is a "former" Republican, still a social conservative
and neocon, and a one-time legislative director for the Christian
Coalition. This, of course, is totally acceptable to the DLC, but
Michael Moore is not.
The current chairman of the DLC, Blue Dog conservative Democrat
Harold Ford, shows the utter cluelessness of the organization. Like
Obama, Ford is a charismatic African-American who barely conceals his
right-wing agenda under vague generalities. In 2006, he lost the
Tennessee Senate contest after his opponent Bob Corker unveiled race-
baiting commercials, race-baiting Ford refused to denounce in his
attempts to portray himself as a "post-racial" politician. So now,
the irony of ironies, one of the few decided Democratic losers in the
2006 election cycle is leading an organization whose purpose is to
show the Democratic Party the path to victory.
Thanks to its right-wing posturing, the DLC is viewed as a four-
letter word among progressives, and Hillary Clinton's membership
(along with her husband Billy's, who is also a former DLC chairman)
became a rally just under her Iraq War support for Daily Kos Hill-
hatred. In their distaste for Hillary, they found their supposed
champion in Obama.
But The Konformist smells a ringer: though he denies any ties to the
DLC (just as he's denied ties to Tony Rezko and Bill Ayers) he was
featured prominently on the DLC's "100 to Watch" list for 2003.
Meanwhile, early last year, From gushed about Obama as the potential
Democratic choice, noting: "I mean his chief economist, Austan
Goolsbee, is a fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute, which is
our think tank." (Goolsbee, for those keeping score, is from the
University of Chicago and represents the "centrists" among Milton
Friedman acolytes.) The timing of From's comment coincides with the
sudden switching of loyalties in the Democratic Party establishment
from Hillary to Obama.
Why did the DLC betray Hillary? Perhaps it was about Hillary not
being particularly loved by the progressive crowd, meaning that she
would be expected to deliver something to satisfy them. Meanwhile,
Obama has come with little demands from his followers, as his kult of
narcissism has substituted feel-good personality worship over policy
and substance. Or perhaps it's about Hill and Bill, for all
their "Third Way" and centrist leanings, are still Democrats who
believe in the New Deal (having been behind crazy things like trying
to provide Americans with universal health coverage) making them
unpopular among the DLC crowd in their own right. Whatever the
reason, the end result is that the Democratic Party now has as its
standard bearer a guy who took less progressive stands on issues than
either Hillary or John Edwards during the campaign, this at a time
when another Great Depression may be starting and another New Deal
the best remedy.
Of course, whatever the DLC may want may be trumped by reality.
Sooner or later, if unemployment soars to the double digits and
people keep losing their homes to banks, the masses may demand more
from Obama than snuggly slogans, at the point of riots. When that
happens, Obama can either finally deliver something to the public in
a concrete plan or send in the National Guard. At the core of the
best of politicians, the fundamental ideology is not wanting to lose,
and if there is any true "hope" over Obama, it's that he doesn't want
to be labeled a loser. But as shrewd betters in Las Vegas, The
Konformist is guessing he's a compromised tool for the DLC
establishment who is going to do too little too late, leaving an
impotent Democratic Party discredited and holding the bag on Great
Depression II. Go ahead, Obama, prove us wrong.
In any case, we salute Al From as Beast of the Month.
Congratulations, and keep up the great work, Al!!!
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