DNC Chair Cattle Call, Week One

Update Two: Things seem to be changing so quickly, that most of what I have written is now heavily disputed by this new article. Oh well. I'll keep trying.

Cobbling together as much information as I can, right now I think the battle for the next chair is basically a four-way race. There are 440 members of the national committee, and they will elect a new chairman early next year.

The Big Four

  • 1. Harold Ickes. If he is the choice of the Clinton people, as is the rumor, he must have the inside track right now.

  • 2. Simon Rosenberg. He is interested, or is at least floating a trial balloon (my apologies to Rosenberg fans who will certainly dislike the link I produced--it was the most recent one I could find). With centrist and insider cred, coupled with respect among the netroots, he might be able to emerge as a compromise figure between the Clinton and Dean people.

  • 3. Howard Dean. If people like Breaux are warning about Dean, then our Internet polls and netroots are not the only people pushing for him to become the next chair. And yes, he is interested.

  • 4. Jean Shaheen.Seems to have emerged as the favorite of the Kerry people, and is supposedly "testing the waters." Hard to know how much having Kerry's backing will help her now. Pelosi also seems to be backing her, which could quickly allow Shaheen to move up in the rankings.
Other possibilities, not ranked
  • John Edwards. Would he really want to? It would keep him from running in 2008. Also, with all the other southerners being floated, why is he so rarely mentioned if he is a serious contender. Still, his uncertain immediate future and prestige within the party prevent from entirely scratching him off the list.

  • Tom Vilsack. Much like Edwards, I really don't see Vilsack going for the job because he is certain to run in 2008. In Democratic circles, if you came as close to the VP nod as Vilsack is, that means either that you already ran for President (Vilsack hasn't), or that you have not only indicated that you want to run for President, but that you have been given the green light to do so by the party powerful. Further, would he really want to leave office right now? Then again, he could use the DNC position as a means of setting up a run sometime after 2008.

  • Brad Carson. A longshot. Rumored to be the favorite of some southern Democrats (I suppose those southern Democrats not directly allied with Clinton). An aide of his recently either popped the trial balloon he was floating, or at least attempted to end speculation while Carson tests the waters.
I am still looking for more info on Ron Kirk, Dennis Archer, Wellington Webb, and Antonio Villaraigosa to see where they stand. For now, I'll leave these four to kosRon Kirk
The former African-American mayor of Dallas got trounced in his Senate race in 2002. But he was a popular figure in Republican Dallas and has had some crossover appeal. A good public speaker. An intriguing possibility.

Dennis Archer
I know very little about this former Detroit mayor.

Wellington Webb
I know even less about this former Denver mayor.

Antonio Villaraigosa
Villaraigosa is a former speaker of the California Assembly and failed Los Angeles mayoral candidate. He's an old school political machine type of politico. I want someone more innovative.

Others mentioned in previous articles, but who are not serious contenders
  • Roy Barnes: The Southern wing seems to have their man in Brad Carson, should Harold Ickes fail or drop out.

  • Inez Tenenbaum: See Roy Barnes.

  • Mark Warner: Warner will (justifiably) receive a lot of pressure to run against Allen for Senate in 2006, or at least complete his only term as Governor. This pretty much puts him out of the running.

  • Bill Clinton: Three words: not gonna happen. Anyway, why would he supposedly be backing someone else if he wanted the job? All he would need to win the job is to ask for it.

  • Donna Brazille: Hotline claims she is out. Gore's people never achieved anywhere near the same level of prestige within the party as Clinton's people anyway.

  • Leon Panetta He was mentioned at first, but I haven't heard anything about him since. With Ickes receiving so much attention, and with Panetta being Ickes boss at one time, it is hard to imagine that he is in play.
That covers every name I have heard. Matt Stoller is asking people what they want in a DNC chair. I am doing the same. Plus, provide your own rankings and insight.

Update: Apparently, Vilsack might be interested after all. It is a qualified sort of interest that might merely be playing to Iowans. Keep your eyes open...

Tags: Democrats (all tags)



I abhor the idea that the Democrats should become more like Republicans to succeed.  As we move more to the center to please the "values" crowd, we drop support at the other end of the spectrum.  I don't even think the "values" crowd can be swayed since those who vote on that issue espouse values that Democratic party cannot possibly embrace if it wishes to remain true to its core principles.  I am very tired of this values hysteria.  It is way overblown and I don't believe it was a decisive factor.   These schmucks (Breaux, etc) that want us to move to the right need to go away.  Let the Democratic wing of the Democratic party have a go. This centrist philosophy has been floating around longer than this single election.  It clearly is not working.
by cls 2004-11-11 11:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean
We shouldn't become more like Republicans in our position on the issues...in fact just the opposite, we need to be more like the Republicans in that we don't hide from who we are.  Bush stood there, day after day, night after night saying, "you may not agree with me on all of the issues, but at least you know where I stand and what I'm going to do".  Scary as it is, that stuck and people voted against their own interest because he "stood his ground" which portrayed him as #1. Moral and #2. A Strong Leader.  

We need to stand for what we believe in.

by elscal 2004-11-11 01:09PM | 0 recs
I would like to see a co-chair arrangement with these two.  They both have strengths that are badly needed in the DNC.  Dean can be the can-do, ass-kickin' mofo that puts the wood publically to the repugs.  Rosenberg is an organizational dream with his knowledge and experience with the machinery.  He also admits readily to the failures of the DNC and is hell bent to not repeat them with the NDN.  

I hope that is an option worth consideration.


by joby 2004-11-11 11:29AM | 0 recs
Dennis Archer
Former mayor of Detroit.  Served on the Michigan Supreme Court before that.  Not a good choice. Did some good for the city (new stadiums, revitilized downtown area a bit), but did not seem to be a great motivator.  Said he was going to get the white suburbs more involved in the city, but this never really happended.  A lot of people accused him of lacking "_alls."

Not someone you want in charge of fundraising and motivating people to feel good about the party.  

by Eric11 2004-11-11 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Dennis Archer
The DNC couldn't do better.

I lived in Detroit's eastside Copper Canyon for Young's last two terms and Archer's first. Archer inherited a municipality that was corrupt from top to bottom. Each city service was run as a fief. His first moves were to try and get rid of 20 years of entrenched corruption left over from Young's tenure. I had friends who were running what was to be a month long sting operation focusing on theft at Dept. of Education warehouses. When they realised the phenomenal amount of goods being taken everyday they moved in immediately. Even the white cops were impressed.

Archer WAS highly sucessful at breaking down the divide at Eight Mile and getting "the white suburbs more involved in the city". Last time I checked Illitch, Karmanos and Ford were white suburbanites. Illitch took a huge risk pouring money into the theater district. Karmanos moved Compuware's headquarter's from Farmington Hills to downtown. Ford moved the Lions from Pontiac to Detroit. Archer wrangled GM into staying downtown. He also convinced investors that gambling casinos were viable in the city. Check the color of the faces at these venues a lot of them look "suburban" to me.

Archer would have had even greater success at revitalization had the Republican legislature not made a devastating cut in the city's tax base in 2000. In what I can only regard as racist legislation, they rescinded the city's 80+ year old residency rule for employees. That legislation affected the city all the way down to the neighborhood level.

He chose not to seek a third term as mayor and is currently the President of the American Bar Association. I have asked people who have worked with him if "he is for real". I've heard him described as astute, intelligent and squeaky clean. Don't sell this man short.

That he is being mentioned for the DNC post is a personal disappointment for me. I had hoped under Kerry he would be AG or SCJ. If nothing else I hope he comes back to MI to run for Levin's senate seat when he retires. It's his if he wants it.


by hardhat 2004-11-11 03:11PM | 0 recs
I would go with Dean. But I am for whoever is going to focus on actual rebuilding and logistics instead of being a pretty face.
by Matt42 2004-11-11 11:34AM | 0 recs
Re: Centrism works because.......
What does that even mean? This is a serious question- what is centrism in the context where we have an administration lurching ever right. Is centrism to lurch just a tad less right than they have moved. I used to be you. Trying to keep safe inthe middle. But, when the middle keeps being redefined how useful is this as a position to run on? If you can answer this, I will be able to talk further to you whether centrism is really what they are seeking- or is it leadership? For most Americans its about character- what is our character?
by bruh21 2004-11-11 11:50AM | 0 recs
Gotta Be Dean
I like everything I've seen from Rosenberg and Ickes has a good reputation, but to me the biggest problem with the Democratic Party is not that they don't have a message, it's that they can't sell it.  I don't understand this hue and cry about the Democrats needing to "move to the center."  Our problem is not that we are too far left.  I repeat: Our problem is NOT that we are too far to the left (I don't hear Dems calling for marijuana legalization or other supposedly "radical" stances), it is that the Republicans kick our a$$ when it comes to controlling the debate. We need a fire-breather who will go toe-to-toe with them.

Dean gets it.  He realizes that you need to re-frame the debate.  This idea that the Dems are too far to the left is only being re-enforced by other Democrats.  Donna Brazille is ridiculous if she thinks that, to solve the problem, we need to become a de facto annex of the Republican Party.    Howard Dean realizes that this is about re-invention.  "Going to the center" will only lose more elections and re-enforce the idea that the Dems are weak.  I thought Kerry played to the center and how did that work?  

by 2manyids 2004-11-11 11:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Gotta Be Dean

Agree absolutely. Dem dogma is already a lot of watered down pap about defending middle class entitlements. Abortion? Most Americans agree with us that it should be legal, safe and rare.

I started rooting for Dean when I read an interview with him about three years ago. He gets it! Take positions, stick to them, be proud of them, and frame them as important to people like you and me. Voters will follow - even most of the Bush voters prefer the Dem positions, as long as they aren't being flogged by some unimpassioned wonk.

If the DNC lurches to the center, I'm lurching back to the Greens.

by spandrel 2004-11-11 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Gotta Be Dean
I agree Dean is the only person. We cannot keep shifting right. If the Dems don't get it then we need a third party.
by jr00 2004-11-11 01:44PM | 0 recs
I never really jumped on the Dean bandwagon for president, but I know he would make a great DNC chair. He's proven himself with Democracy for America. If this comes down to what the Clinton's want, I've lost my faith in the Democratic party.
by news 2004-11-11 12:03PM | 0 recs
Re: Dean
The good thing about Dean for Chair is that he definitely stood against the Right.  He has the energy (although he needs to control his emotion a bit).  I think he's the best for this position I've seen....no for President but probably an effective and energetic Chair for the DNC.  Terry M was neither.  
by elscal 2004-11-11 01:13PM | 0 recs
Stop buying the media spin
"he needs to control his emotions a bit"

this is such crap.  just what do you base this on? the Dean "scream"? which has been debunked so many times.  It was an phony creation of a directional mic which filtered out all crowd noise.  Please name ONE real incident when Dean's emotions were out of control.  There aren't any.  This is all part of the establishment/corporate media strategy to destroy the biggest threat to their power. Wake up!  

by rusrivman 2004-11-11 01:40PM | 0 recs
Re: Dean
I was suprised to see Dean loose to Kerry. Gephartd, Clark, Lieberman were all shooting Dean. The Dems did not like him. Really a wierd group. Kept quiet about Diebold too.
by jr00 2004-11-11 01:56PM | 0 recs
Re: Centrism works because.......

I think too many people are making too much of the "self-identification" of voters as conservative, moderate, liberal. Many voters will not identify themselves as liberal simply because all they know about it is that liberals are wimps who want the UN to hand out birth control in Kansas. If asked to identify where they stand on multilaterism, Kyoto, abortion, SS, healthcare, gay rights, a majority come down on the "liberal" side. Hell, a majority of BUSH SUPPORTERS come down on the liberal side of half of these.
by spandrel 2004-11-11 12:31PM | 0 recs
Re: Centrism works because.......
bingo- this is exactly the point- when people say centrism they think that means to lurch right without thinking whether people are actually voting for Bush for example b/c he has moved right. Most people vote for Bush in b/c they felt like he was a strong leader
by bruh21 2004-11-11 12:33PM | 0 recs
Dean / Rosenberg
Joby has it right-  Dean/Rosenberg in a co-chair arrangement.  Dean provides the fire and the personality that the roots will rally around, Rosenberg is a first-rate strategist and organizational thinker.
by global yokel 2004-11-11 12:56PM | 0 recs
I'm a loyal Democrat, but I swear
if the DNC and the Party attempts one more time to appease a bunch of conservative southern white racists and "christian" moral degenerants, I'm out of here.  

I will support the creation of a new northern based party based upon Democratic principles but free of the southern repressive influences.  (Think the new Republican Party of 1856/60 and free of southern Whigs)

by rusrivman 2004-11-11 01:27PM | 0 recs
What about Alexis Herman?
I'm surprised her name hasn't been mentioned. She was on Kerry's transition team and was rumored to be a possible chief of staff had he won; she could have a shot at his support if it's true that Shaheen doesn't want the job.

She could also be a consensus candidate. She has previous DNC experience, she's African-American and originally from the South, she's worked well with both unions and business on the White House staff and in the Department of Labor.

I don't know if she's a "new ideas" person, and I'm not necessarily pushing her candidacy--but maybe she (like many others) would make a good combo with Rosenberg.

by slvn 2004-11-12 04:13AM | 0 recs


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