Wednesday, February 16, 2005

The Dean Scene

PTF apologizes for the oversight of commentary about Gov. Howard Dean's recent election win as Chair of the DNC, but I didn't want to jump in too quickly on this one.

Obviously, there are those on the Right who believe a Dean-led DNC will equal a future of painless fundraising and lopsided Republican victories. By making statements like this, they only elevate the stature of the DNC position - c'mon, other than political junkies like you and me, how many people in mainstream America REALLY know anything about Terry McAuliffe?

Those of the progressive, liberal ilk support Dean and his acquisition of the DNC Chairmanship, citing that his ability to organize and fundraise on a grassroots level is exactly what the party needs to energize itself for a win in 2008.

Never let it be said that this FleshPresser disagrees with the need for an energized, motivated, and active grassroots-based Democratic party. But let's look at a couple of facts:

* Gov. Dean's Campaign did raise substantial funds, particularly at a grassroots level, and organized Democrats in a big way. But this was NOT the doing of Gov. Dean himself. Rather, it was the Dean CAMPAIGN that made such effective use of the Internet in consolidating Democratic discontent. If the DNC wanted someone at its helm to make this same magic for the Party as an organization, it should have voted Joe Trippi as it's Chair, and not Dean. Trippi, by the way, believes that Dean will be seduced once again and will break his promise not to run once again in 2008.

* Once "I Have a Scream" was over and done with (how many more times are we going to see THAT now?), and Kerry was knighted as the Candidate Who Could Beat Bush, fundraising in support of Kerry and the Democrats broke all records, leaving Clinton's earlier highwater marks in the dust.

The result? Kerry and the Democrats lost. What's worse is that they lost with money still in their pockets.

* I don't know about you, but particularly during the 2004 Campaign, I was receiving e-mails on a regular, if not daily, basis from the likes of John Kerry, The Democratic Party, MoveOn.Org, George Soros, and a host of other organizing bodies on both a national and local level. Each touted the momentum behind John Kerry and others on a local level and the certainty of a Democratic win, based on the unprecedented level of grassroots organization. Living in a glorious "swing state", I saw this organization in a massive way each and every day as the election drew closer.

The result? Kerry and the Democrats lost. What's worse is that they squandered the powerful momentum of the grassroots, the likes of which hasn't been seen in decades.

By making these points, I am not (intentionally) trying to hold on to that hangover that hit most of us in November and has been lingering ever since.

My point is that both the conservatives and liberals are right, to an extent, about Dean taking over at the DNC. The Republicans will absolutely extract dollars from their base by flashing pictures of Gov. Dean. Democrats will definitely attempt to relocate their backbone as we move ahead.

But Terry McAullife is not the reason Democrats lost. Money was not the reason Democrats lost. Organization was not the reason Democrats lost. Until Democrats put forth a truly powerful candidate again, Democrats will continue to lose. The ideas and the candidates are what's important. It's always been known that without money, a good candidate can lose. What 2004 proved was that even with lots of money, a bad candidate can't win.

Posted by FleshPresser at 10:20 AM /


  • Blogger Stephen posted at 2:47 PM  
    You are obviously much more "in the know" as to who and what are the powerful Democratic organizations, unlike me in California (the most populous state in the Union which was IGNORED throughout the campaign, except as a fundraising base for BOTH sides), but I TOTALLY agree with your last paragraph. Until and unless the Dems can put forth a candidate who truly BELIEVES in what Dems stand for (and can find a way to speak to middle America...those "normal folks" out there), then we will continue to lose the White House and Congress. I didn't vote for Dean, but if he's able to TRULY motivate the base, then I applaud his selection as DNC chair.

    Keep it coming, my friend!

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