Tactics and Substance in the 2004 Elections GoogleNews: Howard Dean

March 1, 2005

by J

Nation on Dean

John Nichols over at The Nation has a nice cover story on Howard Dean taking over the DNC, "Now He Has the Power."
Dean has become the Democratic Party's Rorschach test. Frustrated grassroots activists and donors see him as the tribune of their antiwar, anticorporate and anti-Bush views. Big thinkers see him as an idea filter who understands the potential of neglected issues and strategies. State and local party officials recognize him as a former governor who understands that Democrats can compete in all fifty states and is more likely to listen to them than Congressional leaders who remain obsessed with "targeted" states and races. Mississippi Congressman Bennie Thompson sums up the pro-Dean sentiment when he says Dean will "bring new spirit and new energy to the party, the likes of which we haven't seen in a long time." But his enthusiasm is not echoed by the Democratic insiders in DC who have gotten so used to playing politics by GOP rules that they see Dean as a "madman" on a suicide mission that will wreck everything they know. New Republic commentator Jonathan Chait put their fears into words when he grumbled that [Chait's words omitted by J, because he is an idiot on this topic.]

The fact that Dean inspires such diverse passions among Democrats says as much about the party's current troubles as it does about him. The truth is that his is a fairly conventional story of political progress.
The funny thing is, I think that none of those "Rorschach tests" are mutually exclusive.
Posted by J at March 1, 2005 08:20 AM

I thought the selection of Dean to lead the Party was a bad idea, and I'm still of that opinion. He's the leader of a political faction in the party--a moderate faction, in relative terms, but nonetheless a faction. The Party needs a unifying figure to organize the Party, manage fundraising, etc, not a politician with future elective ambitions who isn't universally supported. We already see the Democratic congressional leadership questioning his authority, and there's more of that to come. The last thing the Democratic Party needs right now is more internal strife. As a Democrat, or at least one who wants to continue being a Democrat, that prospect is unsettling.

Posted by: Tom Carter at March 2, 2005 08:03 AM

You think there are Democrats who'd want to be chair who are "universally supported"? Where are these angels and why didn't one of them run for President?

You think that Dean's talking to every single voting DNC member and convincing a significant majority that he'd do a good job is somehow a sign of his inability to unify?

I find it interesting that you criticize Dean for his alleged inability to unify and not the Congressional leaders you claim are questioning his authority. Where is *their* party unity? (I haven't actually seen much of these "criticisms", beyond ambiguous quotes that the SCLM is trying to spin into the usual "Democrats in disarray" story.)

Posted by: J at March 2, 2005 01:49 PM

The folks in the Beltway have absolutely no idea what is going on out there.

See this:


Posted by: NYCO at March 2, 2005 05:18 PM

Recommended Reading:

The Politics of Truth: Inside the Lies that Led to War and Betrayed My Wife's CIA Identity: A Diplomat's Memoir
The Politics of Truth... A Diplomat's Memoir

Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush
Worse Than Watergate: The Secret Presidency of George W. Bush

Against All Enemies by Richard Clarke
Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror

LIES by Al Franken
Lies and the Lying Liars Who Tell Them: A Fair and Balanced Look at the Right

The Great Unraveling
The Great Unraveling

The Great Big Book of Tomorrow
The Great Big Book of Tomorrow

Clinton Wars
The Clinton Wars

Blinded by the Right
Blinded by the Right: The Conscience of an Ex-Conservative

Waging Modern War: Bosnia, Kosovo, and the Future of Combat

Subject to Debate: Sense and Dissents on Women, Politics, and Culture

Living History

The Hunting of the President: The Ten-Year Campaign to Destroy Bill and Hillary Clinton

John Adams

Founding Brothers: The Revolutionary Generation

Code and Other Laws of Cyberspace

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