Friday, February 18, 2005

The Chairman

Consulting is slow, blogging kills time, and this is a solid piece of news analysis on how Howard Dean became chair of the party and what it may mean.

Nichols, unlike many MSM folks, is more than open to the possibility that "Dean has positioned himself as the most camera-ready Democrat in the country. As such, he is in a position to make his party--as opposed to an individual candidate or faction--more newsworthy and potentially more dangerous than it has been in decades."

Yes, Nichols also notes the Scream. Everyone will. For four years and longer Howard Dean will be associated with one night in Iowa. And there may be good reason. There is a chance, one I hope does not happen, that the Dean chairmanship will lurch the party too far out of the mainstream.

By lurch I do not mean the ideology of the party will truly change, or that Dean is even a leftist (see: Dean and budgets, Dean and NRA, etc). I am not advocating Republican-Lite. I am simply stating that the idea of framing, the new Kool-Aid of political strategy, is done better by the GOP than by the Dems today and they have reems of oppo research on the man.

But Dean's election signals something more hopeful to me. The cautious and predictable "party insiders" were not able to stop the grassroots juggernaut. The Senate and House minority leaders were not able to annoint (though it might have helped if they didn't have to pick last on the playground with all the good potential annointees saying no thanks).

Nichols finishes this way, and I'll let him have the last words of the post:

What's genuinely exciting about the Dean chairmanship is the prospect that the party might come to mirror its new chief's enthusiasm for bold stances and strategies. Dean's best applause line in the race for DNC chair was, "We cannot win by being Republican-lite. We've tried it; it does not work." For all the important talk of rebuilding state parties and using new technologies, what matters most about Dean's election as DNC chair is his recognition that Democrats have to be serious about holding out to Americans the twin promises of reform and progress, and that they are not going to do that by tinkering with the status quo. "We just can't let the Republicans define the debate anymore. We have to be the party of ideas," Randy Roy says from Topeka. "Dean understands that we have to be the party that shakes things up."

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