Michael Corcoran, Truthout - For many years, Democrats proudly associated themselves with the Democratic Leadership Council, a powerful group founded in the 1980s that sought to build a Democratic Party "liberated" from labor and grounded in "support for free market and free trade economics ... an end to the politics of 'entitlement' [and] a rejection of affirmative action."
At the height of its power the DLC was the dominant force in the party, boasting President Bill Clinton and UK Prime Minister Tony Blair as its acolytes. But the DLC, which supported the Iraq War and received money from the likes of the Koch Brothers, soon became a tainted brand. Long before 2011, when the organization dissolved, the DLC label hung around politicians like a scarlet letter. Even President Obama publicly distanced himself from the organization in 2004 as he ascended as a national figure.
So, eager to maintain power and influence, New Democrats ... changed the name.
"I don't think the people who ran the DLC ever really left," said Norman Solomon, a coordinator for RootsAction, in an interview with Truthout. "It is the same product, different name." Indeed, the DLC agenda is carried out today by think tanks like the Progressive Policy Institute and Third Way, which push the same regressive agenda but under different labels, and with less public scrutiny. As the Boston Globe described in 2014, Third Way usually works "behind the scenes -- in the White House, the corridors of Congress, and the office suites of lobbying firms in downtown Washington."