Merrill Lynch & Co., Inc. today announced that Harold E. Ford, Jr., former congressman, Ninth District of Tennessee, will join the company as vice chairman and senior policy advisor, effective March 5. Mr. Ford will advise senior management on domestic policy issues, serve as a member of the firm's public policy and social responsibility management committee, and support a variety of business development initiatives in the institutional and retail markets. He will report to Greg Fleming, president of the firm's Global Markets and Investment Banking group and maintain offices in New York and Nashville, Tenn.Nothing like putting the DLC's ties to the corporatocracy and specifically Wall Street right out in the open, along with the nature of the relationship. Mr Ford will "report to" ML's investment banking group like the good little corporate stooge he is. Like the good little corporate stooges of the DLC that he represents.
Al From and Bob Shrum and the Clintons have been pretending the DLC is something it isn't, and they've sold that narrative to the press, especially the business press. Viz.:
Earlier this year, he was elected chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, the progressive policy and issues advocacy organization...."Progressive" my ass. The only thing "progressive" about the DLC is the growth of its willingness to turn the Democratic Party into a lapdog for global corporatism at the expense of the old Democratic constituency. You know, us. The un-rich. The non-CEO's. The non-investment class. That effort "progresses" nicely as liberals and real progressives get minimalized and sidelined so as not to get in the way of Terry MacAuliffe's maniacal corporate fund-raising machinery.
As head of the DNC, Howard Dean is clearly trying to turn that equation on its head, but it's an uphill battle. I mean, look at who we've got running for pres. Hillary is a founding member of the DLC; Tom Vilsack is a former Chair of the DLC; Obama has been calling Ford, trying to make nice because he wants into the DLC's exclusive club; Edwards gave up most of his independence (and many of his convictions) in order to be approved by the DLC as Gore's VP. Three of those runners constitute the top tier of candidates. Of those remaining who have the traditional snowball's chance in the primaries, only Dodd isn't a DLC robot; Richardson is, at this point, an unknown quantity. Of the rest, Wes Clark and Dennis Kucinich are outsiders. Clark demonstrably has no taste for kowtowing to McAuliffe & Co, and Dennis hates them - with good reason. Neither of them has a prayer.
The DLC is clearly still calling the shots, and apparently they don't need Ford to do that. Dean had been busting his ass full-time at the DNC because there's so much work to do, but Harold appears to be so little pressed that he can take a time-consuming job on Wall Street that, by any reasonable measure, should be considered a conflict of interest. This makes Harold nothing more than a figurehead at the DLC and exposes his true role: liaison between the real powers at the DLC and the Republican powers on Wall Street. Wall Street will be able to tell Harold what they want the Democratic Party to do for them, and Harold will transfer their orders to the DLC leadership, particularly, one suspects, Hillary.
It's a neat arrangement - if you don't give a damn about the working poor and the middle class.
(link thanks to Mark at Norwegianity)