The DLC says it's a mistake to read too much into the decision by the Democratic presidential field to skip its "National Conversation" this year, pointing out that Al Gore skipped the event in 1999 and that the major presidential candidates also sat it out in 2003.... Perhaps a more useful benchmark is the number of likely candidates who attend its convention two years out.Scheiber goes on to list some symptoms of the the DLC's downfall, one of the best points being about how the Democratic Party has changed so much since the organization's founding in 1985.
By that benchmark, the DLC still appears to be in decline. As my former colleague Ryan Lizza pointed out earlier this year, "In 2002, the National Conversation was a major stop for anyone testing the waters for 2004. Lieberman, Bayh, Daschle, Hillary Clinton, John Kerry, Mark Warner, John Edwards, and Dick Gephardt were all there."
[T]he interest-group structure that was responsible for some of the party's excesses in the 1970s and '80s has been largely dismantled.... For example, it leaves From at a loss to explain why the netroots--which he seems to regard as a kind liberal uber-interest group--would support relatively conservative candidates in conservative districts and more liberal candidates in liberal districts. Traditional interest groups aren't nearly so flexible.