Beltway Democratic insiders can put a happy face on it, but the shift of DNC operations to Chicago is a shocker for the entrenched D.C. elite. If Obama wins in the fall, all the old rules about Democratic hierarchy in the Capitol will be out the window:
The move to Obama’s headquarters puts the Windy City squarely at the center of American politics for the first time since it was the scene of a Democratic Party meltdown at the 1968 convention. Then and now, it’s a city whose central political feature-top-down machine control-is one legacy Obama has taken from his allies in the reigning Daley family. His campaign has been a model of leak-free discipline and clear lines of authority from the candidate and his guru, Chicago-based David Axelrod, through his campaign manager David Plouffe and a tight-knit staff.
Suddenly all of the decades-old networks of interest groups in D.C. are threatened by the appearance of a wholly new group of elites, the Chicago guys.
That’s the Chicago way, and the comfortable power brokers of the left at People for the American Way, NARAL, the NEA and the AFL-CIO should be aware that the ground just shifted. If Obama pulls this out, the Daley machine goes national even as the country goes way left. Republicans won’t be the only ones left out in the cold.