ARC's 1st Law: As a "progressive" online discussion grows longer, the probability of a nefarious reference to Karl Rove approaches one

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Dean and the Destruction of the Democratic Party

Howard Dean doesn't have many fans outside of the Kossacks, DUers, and MoreOn.Orgers Elected Democrats don't seem to be too pleased with his performance as Party chair:

Dean still gives Dems heartburn
By Peter Savodnik

Democrats are voicing concern that Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean is compromising his party’s political prospects by straying on to controversial policy turf such as the Iraq war and Social Security reform.

These Democrats add that Dean should stick to the pledge he made after becoming chairman not to delve into party policy and to let office holders such as Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (Nev.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) craft the Democrats’ agenda.

Democrats from conservative bastions are particularly sensitive to Dean’s recent remark that the United States cannot win the war in Iraq, which prompted Rep. Earl Pomeroy (D-N.D.) last week to tell the DNC chairman to “shut up.”

An aide close to the Democratic leadership on Capitol Hill said, “There were serious concerns when Gov. Dean took over that he understand what his role was and what it wasn’t. There were meetings with the congressional leadership and Mr. Dean where it was discussed and the governor implied that he understood what his role was and was not, that he was the mechanical part of the party, not the standard bearer or message person. Subsequently, there have been episodes that have been concerning.

Earlier this year, Dean startled some Democratic lawmakers by calling for the lifting of the cap on Social Security taxes which shields income above $90,000 a year from being taxed.

Doug Schoen, also a pollster, who worked for President Clinton and now works for Sen. Evan Bayh (D-Ind.), added: “I don’t think it helps the Democrats to have a party chairman who is involved in controversy. There’s so much work to be done organizationally, so much work to be done in terms of fundraising, that I think he would serve the Democratic Party best by focusing on the grass roots.”

Pollster David Beattie, whose clients include Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), said that he had worked in 31 states in the past five years, only seven of which were won by Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) in the 2004 presidential race.

“In the other 24, Dean is more of a hindrance than a help,” Beattie said.

Other Democrats, declining to speak for attribution, said Dean should focus on “party mechanics” and fundraising. The DNC has raised a little under $48 million in the 2005-2006 cycle compared to the Republican National Committee’s $89.1 million.

Unfortunately for the Dems, all of this could've been prevented. It was pretty evident that Howard Dean was not going to be a guy that focused on "party mechanics." No, he was going to be out front on policy issues. Despite the policy differences between Kerry and Dean during the 2004 primaries (bug out in 6 months vs. bug out now, respectively), it was clear that promoting Howard Dean from has-been Governor of Vermont and failed Presidential candidate was only going to encourage him to continue saying outrageously stupid things.

As MoveOn.Org said,... "Now it's our Party: we bought it, we own it, and we're going to take it back." Well, Howard Dean as the DNC Chair is the personification of that statement. And if the DNC and the Democratic leadership didn't like the sentiments expressed by MoveOn, they should've objected to Dean's ascention as vocally as they object to Bush's triumph in Iraq.

Your Co-Conspirator,
ARC: St Wendeler