If you want to know why many people believe the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) severely hobbles the Democratic Party and gives cover to the worst right-wing stereotypes, just take a look at a guy they employ named Marshall Wittman. Now, I tend to think giving any publicity to people who are hacks gives them undue attention - but in this case, Wittman provides a cautionary tale about Democrats' "big tent" mantra, where everyone gets accepted no matter how idiotic, dishonest, uninformed or dangerous their blather is.
Wittman is a former Republican operative and Christian Coalition official who now purports to speak for Democrats from his post at the DLC - an institution that has over the years been funded by, among others, Enron, Philip Morris, and Chevron. He is now trying to make a name for himself defending President Bush's illegal domestic spying operation - again, while pretending to speak for Democrats. Here's what he says:
"There is absolutely no evidence that [Bush] was attempting to do anything else but protect America...We can have a reasoned debate about this issue without impugning the motives of a Commander in Chief who was attempting to defend the nation."
Earlier today, I wrote a piece about a new form of journalism sweeping the nation: it's called Rectal Journalism, and it features reporters and supposedly objective experts basically pulling things out of their asses and peddling it as fact - when it is anything but. Wittman represents Rectal Punditry - the art of commenting on current events without bothering to actually look at the facts, and instead relying only on what the pundit pulls out of their ass. And Wittman does it in a way that exposes his own ideological motives, which are clearly to undermine the courageous Democrats who have questioned the President's behavior.
Here's what I mean. Wittman really wants us to believe there's "absolutely no evidence" that should make us believe the Bush administration was doing "anything but protect[ing] America." He wants us to simply forget that two years ago, the New York Times reported that the administration is using the FBI to "collect extensive information on the tactics, training and organization of antiwar demonstrators." He wants us to simply ignore that just a few months ago, the Times reported that the FBI "has collected at least 3,500 pages of internal documents in the last several years on a handful of civil rights and antiwar protest groups." And he wants us to simply pretend that NBC News didn't recently obtain a 400-page Pentagon document outlining the Bush administration's surveillance of anti-war peace groups, including monitoring 1,500 different events (aka. anti-war protests) in just a 10-month period.
In other words, Wittman wants us to forget all the facts that provide ample reason for us to suspect the White House was trying to do something other than protect America when it ordered the illegal surveillance operations and refused to get warrants. He wants us to simply swallow what he's pulling from his ass - no matter how smelly the turds of dishonesty are.
This is why the DLC is dangerous. For all their claims of supposedly wanting to help Democrats, they employ people like Marshall Wittman who specifically try to undermine the Democratic Party, even if it means he has to publicly defecate out the most rank and easily-debunkable lies. They reguarly give credence to the right wing's agenda and its worst, most unsupportable lies. They are the real force that tries to make sure this country is a one party state and that Democrats never really challenge the Republicans in a serious way.
UPDATE: The DLC's Ed Kilgore did publicly dissent with Wittman's take on the domestic surveillance issue. I'm glad to see it, but it is little comfort. Wittman is clearly the organization's highest profile spokesperson, especially on this issue. And the point still remains: the DLC has made its name undermining Democrats for a very, very long time.