Obama's win means a major change in the leadership of the Democratic party, policy, direction and people. I've interviewed Ed Rendell, Joe Trippi, Ned Lamont, Markos "dailykos" Moulitsas, Patrick Murphy (D-PA), Katrina vanden Heuvel, Christy "firedoglake" Hardin Smith, and more to see the future of the Democratic party.
In 1992, Bill Clinton and his team led a takeover of the Democratic Party. The DLC emerged as the new policy leader and Bill Clinton was its Don. The DNC head was its consigliere.
The DLC moved the Democratic Party further and further to the right, trying to make it look more and more like the Republican Party. They embraced open trade policies that betrayed workers and unions. They encouraged anti-choice candidates and embraced and went to bed with big corporations.
Hillary is one of the current top leaders of the DLC, according to the DLC website. Her loss to Obama is a major blow to the DLC, the Clinton dynasty and all the former staffers from the Clinton presidency waiting in the wings for high paid, high power jobs.
Bill Clinton has been the most powerful Democrat in a good 40 years, at least since Lyndon B. Johnson.
I've long felt, as a progressive, that the DLC, pulling the Democratic Party to the right, was bad for the Democratic Party. They were attempting to make Democrats look more like Republicans. This was my main reason for opposing Hillary, as a DLC leader and icon. But I wanted to get a feel, from leading thinkers within the Democratic Party, what the new leadership of the party would look like.
I started interviews for this article around the time of the last debate, in Pennsylvania, doing face to face interviews with Governor and former DNC Chair Ed Rendell and Iraq veteran, Blue Dog congressman and Obama Supporter Patrick Murphy. After the debate, I either interviewed by phone or email Daily Kos' Markos Moulitsas, FiredogLake's Christy Hardin Smith, the Nation's Katrina Vanden Heuvel, Cindy Sheehan, consortiumnews' Robert Parry and at a conference, spoke with Joe Trippi.
I generally asked questions along the lines: "What's the future of the Democratic leadership? What's the future of the DLC?
Personally, I'm thrilled with the idea of the DLC and its right-leaning policies fading away as soon as possible. The question is, does that mean that the Democratic Party will start moving to the left? Some say Obama is the most liberal member of the senate. I have not been impressed with his progressive credentials, nor have most of the progressives I am in touch with. But I like the idea of someone who starts to the left of the DLC and Clinton. And at least he doesn't characterize a liberal group like moveon.org as the bad guys, like Hillary did.
The question is, who does he bring in to the party? Will he open it up to people who are further left?
Who will gain power? Who will lose power? With the DLC fading out of the picture, will some of their right wing darlings take a powder? Will Bush-hugging incumbent democrats start to fall, like Al Wynn, who was beaten by progressive Donna Edwards? There are a lot of those DLC and right wing dems out there.
But even among the Clinton "team" there will be people who see the light, smell the coffee and figure out that their political survival will depend upon landing on the right side when the final vote is in. I give former Clinton staffer Donna Brazile a lot of credit for her deft handling of her role as superdelegate and pundit during the primary season.
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Minutes before the Philly debate started, I asked PA governor and former DNC chair, Ed Rendell, "It's not just a contest between Clinton and Obama, it's really a contest between two different parts of the Democratic Party, isn't it?"