Dated Kerry, Married Dean

Hotline has a great analysis of the Democratic party after last weeks midterms. An excerpt:

Who won the election for Democrats last week? Apportion a large measure of credit to the national environment and to Republican mistakes. Give the Democratic grassroots, who cultivated candidates, knocked on doors and raised money for people and causes ignored (at first) by the national party. Certainly, Rahm Emanuel and Chuck Schumer deserve their accolades.

And then there's Howard Dean, the unorthodox, insurgent chairman of the Democratic Party. For more than a year, many of the party's familiarly named strategists, consultants and hangers-on have been convinced that Dean wanted to shape the national committee as a counterweight to the party committees. So if party committees get credit for the victory, Dean should get none, right?


Dean ran for chairman on a platform to devolve power and spending authority to state parties. Dean believed the national party committees were too closely aligned with – and therefore only serviced – the interests of the Washington establishment. He redirected the flow of money and responsibility outward to his patrons in states. He legitimized the grievances and complaints of the party's grassroots army, who had grown frustrated with their status as outsiders looking in. The RNC pioneered a ground-game first approach in 2004; Dean became the first Democratic chairman to validate the work of volunteer ground warriors.


When Saddam Hussein was captured by U.S. and Iraqi troops in December of 2003, then presidential candidate Dean called the arrest "a good thing which I hope very much will keep our soldiers in Iraq and around the world safer." Then he uttered the words that would hasten his cataclysmic collapse as the Democratic frontrunner: "The capture of Saddam has not made America safer." At the time, it was an outrageous statement, and one from which Dean quickly retreated.

In retrospect -- three years later, amid a sluggish, intractable civil war that's left 2500 more American troops and untold Iraqis dead, Dean was prescient. Few who voted in last Tuesday's elections would disagree. They couldn't disagree; the facts on the ground have proven Howard Dean right.


[G]ive Dean credit for setting the tone and style of Democratic politics. Successful, Democratic politics, that is, in an environment that Dean first detected three years ago.
You know what they say about people who get it right too soon...

Not that I think it will happen, but Democratic success in last weeks election should put an end to the 'Governor Dean will Destroy the Party' rants by beltway insiders.

Dean was too far out in front of voters in 2004. He was too far ahead of many establishment Democrats in 2006. That's why we need him. As long as he stays ahead of the curve, he'll pull the party in the direction the nation moving but doesn't know it's yet.

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