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Al From, the Life of the Party; The Head of the Democratic Leadership Council, Finding Victory in Moderation
[FINAL Edition]
The Washington Post (pre-1997 Fulltext) - Washington, D.C.
Author: Grove, Lloyd
Date: Jul 24, 1992
Start Page: d.01
Section: STYLE

Even today, with the party seemingly primed to take back the White House on the strength of DLC ideas and a DLC ticket, the accolades are far from universal. Among the group's chief antagonists have been two-time presidential candidate Jesse Jackson, who in years past has mocked it as the "Democratic Leisure Class," and Sen. Howard Metzenbaum of Ohio, a proud and ornery liberal who founded the Coalition for Democratic Values in 1990 as an ideological counterweight to the DLC.

From started the DLC, having been tapped to be executive director by [Sam Nunn], [Charles Robb] and others, after years of toiling dutifully in party vineyards: a tour in the Deep South for Lyndon Johnson's War on Poverty, a stint as an inflation adviser in Jimmy Carter's White House, and a variety of staff jobs on Capitol Hill, ending with the executive directorship of the House Democratic Caucus. In 1984, he cast his lot with presidential candidate Gary Hart, whose "new ideas" were a precursor to the DLC's "new choices," and bitterly attacked the 1984 Democratic convention as "the last hurrah of the [Walter Mondale] wing of the party."

At From's instigation in 1989, after yet another debacle, [William Galston] and [Elaine Kamarck] wrote a paper titled "The Politics of Evasion," drawing on census data, exit polls "and everything we could get our hands on," Galston says, to argue that the Democrats would never win a presidential election, no matter how high the turnout among blacks and other reliable supporters, unless they radically changed their message to lure back the white middle class. Aiming to attract a biracial coalition containing at least 45 percent of the white vote, the DLC and its think tank have spun out reams of policy papers on everything from defense to education to families to the economy.

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