Monday, January 17, 2005


I wonder how much concern this will cause in the Clinton, Gore and Kerry camps? Dr. Demento ascending to the DNC Leadership will cause them all to move significantly to the left during the primaries for the 2008 Presidential nomination. After the trashing Dr. Demento took at the hands of the Clinton (via the Wes Clark campaign) and Kerry camps, one has to wonder what the payback will be. - Sailor

Monday, January 17 2005
Real Clear Politics

Tomorrow marks the one year anniversary of the death of Howard Dean's 2004 presidential campaign. Dean's bid didn't officially end until February 18, of course, but his dismal third place finish in Iowa followed by the scream heard round the world effectively drove a stake through the heart of his candidacy.

Now Dean is back, and he's leading the race to become the new Chairman of the DNC. Here are the latest numbers on the DNC Chair election as reported by The Hotline last week:

1st Choice For DNC Chair
Howard Dean 31% (58 votes)
Martin Frost 16 (30 votes)
Tim Roemer 4 (8 votes)
Donnie Fowler 4 (7 votes)
Wellington Webb 2 (4 votes)
Simon Rosenberg 2 (4 votes)
David Leland 1 (1 vote)
Undec/Refused 40 (75 votes)

You would think the mere fact that Dean has pledged to spare his fellow Democrats the spectacle of another run at the Presidency in 2008 if he wins the DNC chairmanship would make him a shoo-in for the job. Then again, we may be experiencing a case of deja vu where Dean enjoys an early lead but his support evaporates into the ether when the time comes to actually cast ballots. At this point, it's still hard to say.

Would Dean be a good choice for the Democratic party? Liberals like John Nichols think so:
Democrats need a great big, high-profile fight over what they want their party to be, and Dean's candidacy will give them that.

I'm not so sure. Setting aside the debate over just how important party chairmen are to begin with, the job description requires they excel at either 1) raising money, 2) organizing, 3) helping to recruit great candidates or 4) being a leading face and voice behind the party's message. Successful party leaders are usually good at all four.
Dean proved he could raise money from small, individual contributors in 2003, but contributing to the party is different than contributing to a candidate. It's not at all clear whether Dean has the sort of connections inside corporate boardrooms and the power structure in Washington needed to be a successful party fundraiser.
On the organizing front, I'm surprised some Democrats are eager to turn over such a large and important operation to a guy who failed so miserably at managing his own campaign. As we learned from Howard Kurtz shortly after Dean completed his self-immolation, the Dean campaign was thoroughly chaotic, disorganized and riven with internal strife.

And let's not forget that Dean's own volunteer operation - breathlessly reported ad nauseam by the press as the real strength of his candidacy - turned out in hindsight to have been more effective as a yuppy dating service than a true GOTV effort.

Finally, though Governor Dean was fun to watch and the best of bunch in 2004 at rousing the party faithful, he also developed a reputation among the press and the public as prickly and temperamental. On top of that, Dean was easily the most gaffe-prone candidate in the race last year. His lack of savvy and discipline created a disturbingly large number of foot-in-mouth headlines. That practice continues today and Democrats should think long and hard about putting someone with such loose lips at the helm of the ship.

To sum up, Howard Dean has a number of qualities that could make him a really bad choice to be DNC Chairman - which is why most Republicans enthusiastically support his candidacy. No doubt they are echoing Karl Rove's famous words, uttered while watching Dean's supporters march by in a July 4th parade in 2003: "Heh, heh, heh. Yeah, that's the one we want. Go, Howard Dean!"

- T. Bevan 10:15 am Link

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