Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Noam Scheiber just wrote the standard article about Howard Dean's stewardship of the DNC.  There are two claims: Dean can't deal with high dollar people, and he won't spend money on 2006.  I'm not entirely sold on Dean, and I have some reservations about how he's running the place.  

The piece, though, is just ill-informed.  Scheiber clearly talked to a bunch of insiders mad that Dean isn't a 'traditional' party chair.  Well why should he be?  The DNC Chairman is actually an elected position, and Dean made campaign promises to the people who elected him.  These include (a) building up the state parties (b) not focusing on DC (c) not focusing on swing districts and states (d) and giving money and resources to state parties.  I didn't like the proposals at the time, but Dean won fair and square.  I respect that, and so should the rest of the party.  But they don't.

While Reid and Pelosi and Rahm and Chuck might bitch about Dean 'not playing the traditional party chairman's role', where were they in February of 2005 when the elections were held?  Why did they let uber-local pol Donnie Fowler become a near kingmaker?  Why didn't they endorse or get involved in a serious way?  There was an election for this position, a position that was clearly going to control hundreds of millions of dollars and party resources in the next few years.  Was this election below them?  Apparently.  Well Dean was elected and he is doing what he promised.

Noam Scheiber could have pointed this out, though it's not clear to me he understands how the party works.  I'm not even sure that Scheiber knows that Dean was elected, which is ironic because I believe TNR journalist Ryan Lizza wrote the definitive article about what happened in the Chair's race.  Update the Dean story, my friends.  The 'outsider liberal internet savvy' storyline isn't right anymore, though it appears correct from inside DC and from the blogosphere.  There are many more factions than you realize, and Dean's time at the DNC is much more complicated than it looks.

Tags: DNC, Howard Dean, Noam Scheiber, TNR (all tags)

Comments

17 Comments

Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Dean's plan to build state parties and to bypass the beltway bandits in the process is the only way to build a viable national party apparatus capable of challenging in every Congressional district each and every cycle. Dean's DLC, DCCC and DSCC critics have compiled a record that would have gotten any coach in professional or collegiate sports fired some time ago.  Like one particularly successful Democrat once said, "All politics is local".  The Beltway Democrats have produced NOTHING but pablum for years, or maybe it's pumpkin soup.

by Retired Catholic 2006-04-13 08:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Let's just say for the purpose of argument that it is ALL true. Let's just say that Dean knows how to cater to the net/grassroots of the Democratic Party. Let's say he wasn't real clear on how to raise money from the corporate crocodiles and the rich folks.

Then I'd have to say: 'GOOD ON YA, HOWARD!"

Just like I say, "Screw You Lard-Ass Losers in DC!"

Lefty!

by LeftyLimblog 2006-04-13 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

As was said in the comments thread over at Eschaton:

"Good lord! You'd think Dean wanted a party that didn't suck up to rich bastards and Republicans! That's not what America's all about, bucko!"

Dean, and his brother Jim over at DFA, are also working with http://www.PublicCampaign.org to help reduce the role of money in politics.  But the TNR folk have been sold out for so long that they simply can't imagine going back to a time when corporate interests didn't own both parties.  They start going into jitters at the mere thought of it.

by Phoenix Woman 2006-04-13 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

"WTF?" is probably the most charitable thing I can say about this story.

I'm amazed there are people who still don't have a clue about Howard Dean.  It's their loss.

by KimPossible 2006-04-13 08:59AM | 0 recs
Congress and the 2006 Elections

Reid, Pelosi, Rahm, and Schumer are responsible for 2006.  That is what the DSCC and DCCC are for.  Dean has a wider mandate than taking back one or both houses of congress in 2006 -- important as that is.  His mandate is to build the Democratic Party into a permanent majority and that will not happen from inside the Beltway over the next seven months.  

Keep it up, Howard.  

by Arthurkc 2006-04-13 09:05AM | 0 recs
Same old.....

Here's yet another example of the "afraid to lose" mentality which grips the DC establishment.

Muddled Outcome for Both Parties in California Primary

"WASHINGTON, April 12 -- The race to succeed former Representative Randy Cunningham, a California Republican who pleaded guilty to corruption charges, took a complicated turn for both parties on Tuesday after a crowded primary in which a Democrat came in first, but did not win enough votes to escape a runoff... President Bush drew 55 percent of the vote there in 2004 -- and Ms. Busby, in winning 44 percent of the vote, benefited from a splintered field that included 14 Republicans.

'Democratic officials said they remained wary of expending political capital or funds in a race that, on paper at least, appeared daunting. They have taken pains to keep some distance from it in an attempt to make it harder for Republicans to portray a Democratic loss there as a repudiation of corruption as a campaign issue."

DC Dems are afraid to get involved in a district where Bush only got 55% because it "appered daunting" ? It's like how they're afraid to support  Arizona Dems even though Clinton carried the state in '96 and a whole slate of Democrats were elected in 2002 (thanks to a state campaign finance law).

When will DCDem get it into their ossified brains that they party  will never win by conceding?

by Sitkah 2006-04-13 09:16AM | 0 recs
Re: Same old.....

I see from the AdNag piece (durable link) that MoveOn say they're not committed to rerunning GOTV in the runoff.

The doubters not just Rahmbo and the usual suspects. (Or is this disinfo for the GOP's benefit...)

by skeptic06 2006-04-13 10:41AM | 0 recs
Dean was elected with a mandate

Not only was Dean elected, he was elected with a mandate to change the culture at the DNC.  That mandate came not from the netroots, though it was supported there, it came from state party people who wanted a less Beltway-centric, less presidentially-focused national party.    

Dean is going about the business of changing the DNC culture in a measured way, with the support of the state party people and with the continued support of a large portion of the netroots.  He has that support because he is earning it.  

Can anyone recall a more closely watched DNC chair?  Other than the occasional tired and tiresome kvetching from the Loser Dems, we read and hear nothing but positives about Dean's work.

I don't expect that Dean can single-handedly revolutionize the DNC.  Dean spoke of the difficulties in effecting change from within before he announced he was going for the DNC chair job.  Those difficulties are real and institutional.  So long as we continue to do what we have been doing, all of us are part of the problem, whether it is Beltway Insiders hanging on to the old ways or 'grassroots' people refusing to join and energize our local and state parties.

I don't think Dean is perfect or always right, but he has been right or close to right on nearly every question of importance in the last four years.  The Beltway Insiders have been wrong and they have lost elections.  What are the chances that any of these Loser Dems will acknowledge that?

by James Earl 2006-04-13 10:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean was elected with a mandate

I don't expect that Dean can single-handedly revolutionize the DNC.  Dean spoke of the difficulties in effecting change from within before he announced he was going for the DNC chair job.  Those difficulties are real and institutional.

Absolutely correct.  There are people who expect Howard to do overnight what it took the Republicans 20-30 years to accomplish....

by KimPossible 2006-04-13 10:44AM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Gee, I'm really alarmed here... Dean's folks apparently don't realize that they're inadequately sucking up to the big donors!  They think that they need better grassroots fundraising!  

Gee, don't they understand the benefits of a party wholly owned by special interests?

Wait... we've already got one party like that. A second would be superfluous. In fact, that would seem to be indicative of the Democratic party's problem.

Scheiber doesn't realize that parties don't have to work like a game of Stratego where the only difference between the players is whether the pieces are red or blue.  Maybe a party that claims to best represent the working people, as opposed to corporate interests... might be better served by being financed by the working people... rather than the corporate interests.

Dean's on absolutely the right track.

Maybe that's why Al Gore just called Howard Dean "the ideal Democratic party chair".

by Malacandra 2006-04-13 10:25AM | 0 recs
Dean's USP

The difference between Dean and all the other Dem leaders (political equivalent of bullpen by committee): with the others, no one has any idea whether they're heading on the right track or not.

With Dean, even though he might not be getting very far - I don't think there's been any comprehensive report-back on his efforts - at least we know he's definitely on the right track.

We know the party apparatus at state level and below is - of variable quality, shall we say? And we know that, without that apparatus in full working order, any success the Dems might have (eg, in winning a house of Congress in November) will be unsustainable.

Candidate Dean, I wasn't so keen on. Chairman Dean - Yeeeaaaarrrrgh!

by skeptic06 2006-04-13 10:49AM | 0 recs
Re: Dean's USP

With Dean, even though he might not be getting very far - I don't think there's been any comprehensive report-back on his efforts - at least we know he's definitely on the right track.

Now that is not clear to me.

by Matt Stoller 2006-04-13 12:28PM | 0 recs
Re: Dean's USP

Change the metaphor to Dean has the right destination: ie, a functioning party at all levels.

Whether he's taken a wrong turn, I've no idea: perhaps he's actually heading away from that destination!

And, like I said, my impression (I'm not exactly going to be the first guy to be told!) is that progress reports on Dean's activities to renew the state parties have not exactly been thick on the ground.

by skeptic06 2006-04-13 02:11PM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Last year at this time, the new Montana Demo party leader, Dennis McDonald, initally refused to meet with Chairman Dean, because "he was too insulting to republicans". After being told the error of his ways, he did meet with Dean at the summer state party convention, after the Good Doctor got a fifteen minute standing ovation for just walking into the room to give his dinner speech. And that was before the state party got a couple of new organizers paid for by Dean's Democracy Bond program.

Last week, I walked into the state demo's headquarters, and there was a picture of our state chair shaking hands and grinning with Chairman Dean. Dean's doing what he promised to do and converting all but the must jaded skeptics.

by Ed in Montana 2006-04-13 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

Money tends to have that effect on people (state chairs).  Heh.

by HellofaSandwich 2006-04-13 02:35PM | 0 recs
Re: Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected

 Sheesh...why is the state Democratic Party leader so damn concerned about the sensitivities of Republicans?

 To use the technical term, fuck that shit. Republicans are the enemy. Enemies of the Democrats and of the nation.

 Have you EVER heard a Republican muckety-muck complain about, say, Tom DeLay or Newt Gingrich because they weren't nice enough to Democrats?

 I tell you, the Dems make me pull my hair out sometimes with this kind of loser "be-nice" crap.  But I'm glad to hear Mr. McDonald has come around.

by Master Jack 2006-04-13 07:49PM | 0 recs
Why do we care?

What the opinion of The New Republic(ans) is?

A magazine by and for elitist trust fund kiddies, with a declining reader base that financially survives based on subsidies from it's publishers.

Really, who gives a damn? Society ignores people on welfare...why care about trust fund kiddies on welfare?

by ElitistJohn 2006-04-13 11:20AM | 0 recs

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