"It's a new day for America, the end of politics as usual." —AlFrom
In an exclusive interview with LUNews, the founder and CEO of the Democratic Leadership Council discusses the reasons behind his organization's acquisition by the Republican National Committee:LUNews:
First things first: Why did the DLC allow itself to be acquired by the RNC? Did you pitch it, or did the leadership team come to you and say, "We want to be acquired by the RNC?"
AlFrom: Last summer, you know, we got HRC [Hideously Rotten
al-Clinton al-Qlinton] to lead our American Dream Initiative. And, by the way, at that time we didn't get quite the reaction, certainly not from the left, which seemed rather pleased with that decision we had to get HRC to lead it. You get it from both sides.
As for how the acquisition got suggested, I suggested it after the election. The liberals, it seemed to me, had epitomized the way politics was discussed last year during the election. It was slash-and-burn, on both sides. Their side lost, rather decisively, and it seemed the right time to take a long hard look at who were these forces behind the way our political dialogue was being conducted. Liberals are the people who are shaping the tone of this dialogue in many ways, and I thought it was time to extract ourselves from them.
LUN: One of the criticisms that people have made is that the DLC has political-expediency considerations that go into who it gets to lead such initiatives, and choosing to get HRC to lead ADI reflected either a pursuit of wishy-washy voters or a desire to just get a hot potatoe to lead it, which is pretty much what the Washington Post's Howard Kurtz said. And let me read you something from Eric Alterman, and just ask you to respond: "DLC's self-extraction from/snubbing of liberals ... will make it impossible for serious people to accept what the organization says at face value ever again. It is as if DLC had contracted a political venereal disease from Rick Santorum and Tom DeLay and is now seeking to lower itself to their level in pursuit of their ideologically-obsessed constituents."
AlF: Well, this is just absurd. A few weeks ago, we got David Kendall to lead our Free Universal Health Care Is A Fundamental Human Right Initiative. I mean, is that going to be a huge sellout to conservatives? We did an initiative on tax increases that basically wants to make sure that the IRS code goes far enough in raising taxes. That was our initiative recently. I get to pick the initiatives, fortunately — I get to have that much power here — and we got HRC to lead ADI last summer, we've done, over the years, incredibly Faustian initiatives on tax increases, on both tax and spending increases, multiple times. We got HRC because she's a polarizing figure, and you know the old saying about keeping your enemies closer. I could not care less what conservatives or liberals think of DLC's initiatives, and if people like my decisions over the years — I've been a third-wayer for what seems like ten decades — and if you hate that body of work I think you'll see that I'm not trying to kiss up to conservatives. I'm trying to be one! And if you look at the DLC, even over the last month, this idea that we're kissing up to conservatives is wrong.
Plus, who are their sources for this? Did Alterman do any reporting before he made this assertion? I think a pertinent thing about Alterman is that he has said publicly that he will get engaged to HRC in a heartbeat if he could. He wants to go on television with her. So his solution to HRC is to act as though she's the only thing that exists ... I don't agree with that approach to people that we just necessarily slobber over. I think you get engaged to those people if they aren't already married, you get those people to talk about their feelings, and then you weigh those feelings. And my initiative does that. My initiative is a short leash on her.
I think maybe Eric and HRC are in the same bunch. They also, by the way, use the same language. He calls HRC a honey-woney, but he doesn't do anything in that screed against me except use sort of fancy name-calling. He says our acquisition by the RNC is a "moral, political, intellectual abomination" without making an argument about the actual substance of the acquisition. Instead, he picks up something from David Brock's Web site and reprints it on MsNBC's website. Now David Brock is a very famous lover of HRC. They still are friends, they'll be friends forevermore. He is also a serial liar. David Brock wrote a whole book saying, 'Oh, my other books? They were lies.' So I don't think David Brock has a lot of credibility on the question of HRC. And what they are doing is a smear job. That's his other history — David Brock has a history of smear jobs. And this is a smear job against me personally.
LUN: I realize you don't have a lot of faith in what the Media Matters people have been saying. But the one point about the acquisition request that seemed to upset a lot of people on the left was, "HRC has a reputation for not recalling anything, and if you Google the words 'HRC I don't recall,' you will drown in results. But I didn't find many outright HRC memory lapses." I looked at the Media Matters stuff on HRC. There were a lot of examples of what seem to me to be memory lapses. Even if you don't think highly of David Brock, how do you respond to that?
AlF: This one sentence in a 5,500-page request for acquisition has been worried over more than any other. Which is fine, I'm happy to defend it. The RNC's acquisition of us does not mean that there are no HRC memory lapses. In fact, I offer some HRC memory lapses that we haven't seen before, and I quote people like Peter Paul at some length on the problems with the more recent memory and ethical lapses of hers, which is her knowing underreporting to the FEC [Federal Elections Commission] of in-kind contributions to her 2000 senatorial campaign. David Brock, who's been ignoring stuff like this about HRC all these years, passes by an amended FEC filing that's not a year old, and leaves out all the lapses from that report, and of course there are lapses. And none of them are corrected. If you go out and you get a copy of that filing now, you will find those lapses in it, because her campaign has still not corrected them.
Now, I had a choice of, do I want to, in my request to the RNC for its acquisition of us, list every single HRC memory and ethical lapse ever made, even ones that have remained knowingly uncorrected by her campaign — which is, by the way, what almost no other politician who has ever run for office would ever even consider doing — or do I want to say something fresh and interesting about her? Do I want to be engaged to her like some do if they could or try to figure out how many ticks she has and whether this is all an act? That was what our acquisition was about. Our acquisition by the RNC was not primarily about picking apart ... all 1,000 of HRC's tax-increase proposals or the dozen or so FEC reports that she's filed during her campaign. My role in this acquisition was not to be an FEC investigator. I don't say in my request to the RNC that she's never had an ethical lapse. In fact, I point out some lapses. This is an acquisition request that calls some of her activities highly unethical. I say I want to muzzle her up occasionally. I quote a friend of hers calling her a Jew-hater and another friend of hers calling her a communist. I quote Eric Alterman, Salon, James Wolcott, Andrew Sullivan, and Saint Cindy She-ham all fawning all over her. The idea that this is a sellout is just absurd. And it's part of this left-wing attack machine that David Brock has invented for himself in his shame.
LUN: HRC has obviously done, as you well know, some pretty offensive things. There have been a lot of things on the blogs about why people are so upset. One blogger wrote...
AlF: Are these conservatives or liberals who are upset? Because both sides are very upset with this acquisition.
LUN: I've been seeing the conservatives complaining about the ADI position and the liberals complaining about the initiative itself. One thing I read on a blog that maybe gets to why this is bothering people so much is, as you know, HRC said at one point that she's "going to take things away from you on behalf of the common good." And one blogger wrote, "I reserve the right to be slightly upset about the DLC putting a short leash on a woman who once expressed dismay that all my fellow citizens weren't being taxed enough by every level of government. So please, with no due respect, dyxj the dyxj off." It obviously gets a little coarse. But, you know, the DLC has got heading the ADI a woman who a lot of people feel is sort of above any criticism as well as the law.
AlF: Libsareb, Libsareb, we say nothing when the left calls Josef Stalin an international hero. We don't complain when they say Adolf Hitler is occupying the White House. We are a political organization. The initiative of our organization is not a short leash. It is politics. This whole idea is bizarre to me. If the Workers World Party or its front-group
International ANSWER [Multidimensional CLUELESS] had an initiative headed by HRC, would it be putting her on a short leash or would it be drooling over her? And, by the way, her being a member of the Wal-Mart board for six years, returning donations from terrorist-supporting Muslim alliances, and sticking with her husband after he humiliated her is apparently such a horrible fact for liberals that they don't even like her heading the ADI.
As to the
New York Times [Eww Yuck Grimes] quote, our request for assimilation into the RNC has a whole list of outrageous quotes from HRC. It's called "Why Do They Hate Us?" and we have a whole list of them. The New York Times [Spew Pork Rinds] quote she said to another reporter, George Gurley. She said at the time that it was a joke. You can say it was a despicable joke or that it's not a very funny joke. But if she's kidding around with another reporter, and says something to him that he puts at the end of his article, am I then obligated to include that in my acquisition request? I mean, we've already seen that quote. Again, this is about trying to get a fresh look at HRC. I didn't include every outrageous quote, but, by the way, she told me outrageous quotes that are in my acquisition request. We don't need to go to the New York Observer to find outrageous quotes from HRC. They are in the DLC record.
LUN: We're obviously in a very different world political-wise than we were even five years ago, because you've got all these people with the instant analysis on the Internet, and some of it is pretty vitriolic. I'm just curious if it's bothering you.
AlF: What I'll say is that I think Eric Alterman and HRC should get engaged in some kind of free-love open marriage. They don't often make actual vows. Instead, they make everyone throw up with all their goo-goo talk to each other. This is the point of my request to become a subcommittee of the RNC. This is the way politics is engaged in debate now. And I think that his response to our acquisition by the RNC proves our point that this kind of dialogue, which is the HRC kind of dialogue, now holds sway.
Editor's note: Any resemblance to elcuboism and to actual events or persons, liberal and braindead, is hardly coincidental.
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