Memo to Noam Scheiber: Dean was Elected
by Matt Stoller, Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 08:10:57 AM EDT
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.