My questions about the 2004 presidential election have come back to haunt me in full force. There were so many indications that the Democratic Party – or some faction of it – threw the election to Bush.
First, there was the theory that Wesley Clark was a stalking horse for Clinton. At the time, I was a strong Clark supporter and I brushed this aside. But when The General endorsed Hillary for 2008, it crept back into my consciousness:
warm spot for Wesley
By Gloria Borger
The first public hint of the new Bill Clinton-Wesley Clark axis came a couple of weeks ago at cocktails at the Clintons' Chappaqua, N.Y., home. It was what the money guys call a "donor maintenance" event--something to keep wealthy Democratic contributors happy with that warm "in the loop" feeling only a schmoozefest with ex-presidents and senators can provide. After complimenting the Democratic field, Bill Clinton went on to toast two other "stars" in the party--General Clark and Hillary Clinton.
"Safe harbor." The most cynical view, shared by the White House--and even some Democrats of competing presidential campaigns--is that Wesley Clark is a stalking horse for Hillary Clinton. "The issue is let's make certain this race stays screwed up," says a White House adviser.
"And guess who that clears the way for?" He says Hillary in 2008; some wary Democrats wonder if the Clintons are arguing about whether it should be in 2004. In any case, sources tell me that while Hillary won't endorse Clark, she's thrilled about the candidacy. Why? "He's a safe harbor," says a Hillary Clinton adviser. "There's no downside for her in being seen with a general."
Of course, there is this small matter of the rest of the Democratic field. They didn't avoid Clinton, like Al Gore--they courted him, even pretended to be close to him. "Now he kicks them all in the ass," says an ex-Clinton ally. "Everyone knows he's winking at people about Clark." So the field is miffed. "I guess I can understand how they would be annoyed," says Howard Wolfson, Hillary Clinton's former spokesman. "But the fact is there are a lot of undecided people out there--both real voters and Democratic insiders. They're concerned about Howard Dean, and that's not Bill Clinton's fault." But he will be happy to fix everything.
A second data point that has gotten little attention outside my state of New Mexico: There is credible evidence that Governor Bill Richardson helped steal NM for Bush in 2004. The theory widely held by progressive Dems here was that he did it so he could run for president in '08. Greg Palast wrote a bit about this:
New Mexico's Secretary of State, Rebecca Vigil-Giron, seemed curiously uncurious about Hispanic and Native precincts where nearly one in ten voters couldn't be bothered to choose a president.
Vigil-Giron, along with Governor Bill Richardson, not only stopped any attempt at a recount directly following the election, but demanded that all the machines be wiped clean. This not only concealed evidence of potential fraud but destroyed it. In 2006, New Mexico's Supreme Court ruled the Secretary of State's machine-cleaning job illegal - too late to change the outcome of the election, of course.
But who are we to second-guess Secretary Vigil-Giron? After all, she is a big shot, at the time president, no less, of the National Association of Secretaries of State, the top banana of all our nation&rsquos elections officials.
Vigil-Giron, after putting a stop to the recount, rather than schlep out to investigate the missing vote among the iguanas and Navajos, left the state to officiate at a dinner meeting in Minneapolis for her national association. It was held on a dinner boat. The tab for the moonlight ride was picked up by touch-screen voting machine maker ES&S Corporation. Breakfast, in case you&rsquore curious, was served by touchscreen maker Diebold Corp.
At the time of this writing, Vigil-Giron is busy planning the next big confab of vendors and state officials -- this time in Santa Fe, "the city different." But aside from Wal-Mart signing on as a sponsor, nothing much is different when it comes to the inner workings of the voting industrial complex.
And then there’s the DLC, which in 2005 appointed Hillary Clinton “to define a party agenda for the upcoming 2006 and 2008 elections.” NPR did a piece on this at the time. If you want to catch my anxiety, listen to this audio clip.
So, Hillary Clinton is without a doubt the DLC’s candidate, and has been since at least 2005. It must be a great shock for them to see Obama come out of nowhere and upset the plan.
Obama is not a DLC member – and even requested that they remove his name from their website, after they used it without his permission or knowledge. The Black Commentator really put Obama through his paces on the DLC issue when he was running for his Illinois Senate seat. Their questions to him and his response make for very interesting reading.
So, we are still involved in an historic battle for the very “soul” of the Democratic Party which can be described by this simple equation:
Clinton vs Obama = DLC vs DNC
Or this one: Clinton vs Obama = Top-Down vs Bottom-Up
Let’s recall Howard Dean’s election as Chairman of the DNC – how bitter it was – as the DLC candidates were overthrown by “The Democratic wing of The Democratic Party” – in a rebellion based on support of Dean’s 50 State Strategy of bottom-up party building.
I just went back and read this excellent Ari Berman piece from 2005 titled Going Nowhere: The DLC Sputters to a Halt and it’s a great history of the DLC v DNC fight and a window on the political battle that was raging at the time and the players. Here’s a bit, but the whole thing is still timely:
After Kerry's defeat, the DLC promised to "avoid the circular firing squad" mentality but then quickly broke the promise, reverting to its favorite target: the Democratic base. Instead of labor unions and feminists, the DLC fixated on MoveOn.org and Michael Moore. "We need to be the party of Harry Truman and John Kennedy, not Michael Moore," the DLC wrote on the Wall Street Journal op-ed page, of all places. "What leftist elites smugly imagine is a sophisticated view of their country's flaws strikes much of America as a false and malicious cartoon," the DLC's Will Marshall wrote in Blueprint, the group's magazine, in a rant worthy of The Weekly Standard. "Democrats should have no truck with the rancid anti-Americanism of the conspiracy-mongering left." The DLC continued this vitriol into March.
Fast forward: Along comes Obama, not merely using Dr. Dean’s bottom-up every-state strategies, but actually making them work!
This is what is keeping me up at night: Is it possible that the DLC actually wanted Kerry to lose in 2004, to enable a Hillary Clinton run in 2008?
Did the DLC and Clinton allies like Wesley Clark and Bill Richardson actually participate in bringing Kerry down - and put the world through four more years of Bush - just so the Clintons could come back as party leaders in 2008?
And here’s the really scary question:
If Obama is the Democratic Party nominee in 2008, will the DLCers – who have written Clinton’s name in stone for 2008 – help McCain win, so Hillary can run again in 2012? The “inevitable” – better late than never?
I am very, very worried about this.