More Evidence that Centrists Democrats Are Dead

-By Warner Todd Huston

Ben Smith of POLITICO is reporting that the Democrat leadership Council is on it’s last paws and about to go belly up. This is one more little hint that the centrist, the moderate, or the “Blue Dog” Democrat is truly an extinct animal in America today. The Donkey’s big tent is more like a birdcage cover any more and apparently that cage holds only the red crested, double fisted, lefty bird.

The Democratic Leadership Council was the “iconic” centrist Democrat political organization founded during the Clinton years that had quite a lot of influence at the time. Many styled the DLC as the rebirth of the Democrat Party after the failures of the liberal wing in the 60s and 70s. But as the years have worn onward, there have been fewer and fewer centrist Democrats to be had with few of them in any position of power in Washington. With the Pelosi/Reid/Obama wing of the Democrats gaining power the Democrat Party itself has marched quickly toward the far left leaving the small coterie of Blue Dogs on the outside looking in.

This appears to have left the DLC at the end of the road. It’s so bad that the DLC can’t even find anyone to take its chairmanship. It’s latest chief, Bruce Reed, left the DLC to go work for VP Biden’s office and since then no one is willing to take the job.

But Reed left the DLC last year himself to serve as Vice President Joe Biden’s chief of staff, leaving Ed Gresser, a trade expert, to lead the group in the interim. Since then the board “hasn’t been able to find someone who wanted to come on in a permanent capacity,” a person familiar with the group’s woes said, with the central problem the difficulty of raising money for a Democratic group that isn’t seen as an ally of the White House.

This isn’t the only example of death of the Blue Dogs. The recent election devastated their ranks and Republicans took their place in Congress and throughout the country, in the south especially, centrist Democrats have been jumping the sinking Democrat ship and paddling over the the liferings thrown out by the Republican Party.

As Ed Morrissey recently said:

The defections in Louisiana gave the GOP its first legislative majority in over a century. In Alabama and Texas, they created Republican supermajorities. The Democrats may have chosen Charlotte, North Carolina for their 2012 convention, but the South has increasingly become hostile territory to Democrats, as former Blue Dogs feel the party has become hostile to them.

Morrissey failed to mention Florida and Tennessee. Especially Tennessee where the GOP is firmly in control for the first time since reconstruction. The south has become a reliable Republican stronghold and the Democrat Party is consolidating into a big city and/or coastal party with little representation in the heartland.

The rumors of the GOPs demise has been greatly exaggerated.

But what hasn’t been exaggerated is the death of the moderate Democrat. As the GOP’s big tent keeps getting bigger the Democrats’ keep retracting because Democrats are purging their centrists as the party takes a headlong leap to the far, Euro-like left.

Of course, not all on the right welcome this development. Many conservatives are afraid that with every centrist Democrat the GOP drifts ever farther toward the left. Too many “moderates” spoils the conservative brew, as it were. But with the power that the Tea Party has wielded, I don’t see any immediate damage to the GOPs conservative message, such as it is. In fact, the Tea Partiers have driven the GOP rightward even as all these former Democrats and former Democrat states have joined the fold.

Naturally, the long run effect of so many centrists abandoning the Democrats for the GOP may tend to push the party leftward but right now it hasn’t shown yet.

Time will tell.
“The only end of writing is to enable the reader better to enjoy life, or better to endure it.”
–Samuel Johnson

Warner Todd Huston is a Chicago based freelance writer. He has been writing opinion editorials and social criticism since early 2001 and before that he wrote articles on U.S. history for several small American magazines. His political columns are featured on many websites such as Andrew Breitbart’s,, and, as well as,,,,, among many, many others. Mr. Huston is also endlessly amused that one of his articles formed the basis of an article in Germany’s Der Spiegel Magazine in 2008.

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