Howard Dean understands that working with other people to build the party is the most important part of the DNC chair's job. He campaigned very hard for John Kerry, showing that he doesn't let past rivalry get in the way.
I don't know about Fowler, but if Rosenberg doesn't get DNC chair, I would expect him to continue with what he is doing. I hope he can supplant the DLC as the "centrist" organization in the party.
Here's a few questions that are probably grinding on most Dean supporters.
People argue that Dean would alientate the corporate/conservative wing of the Democratic Party and therefore, he is not a good choice.
Why is it assumed that Dean would alienate the corporate/conservative wing? Other than opposition to the Iraq War, he is closer to them than he is to the left end of the party.
Why are people more worried about alienating the corporate/conservative wing (the one that is closest to the Republicans) than they are about alienating the people who support Dean?
While I can't speak for all Dean supporters, I can say that a large percentage of us feel like this: We tried it their way and we lost. Let's try another way. We all swallowed hard and worked our asses off for John Kerry. Why can't you guys swallow hard and let Dean have a shot.
It is in some ways a repeat of the primary campaign where various people fanned hysterical fears about Howard Dean. This was based, largely, on the fact that he opposed the Iraq War. Well not only was Dean correct, but this is not an issue that is germane to the DNC chair.
What do these people fear from Howard Dean that they find so unacceptable? What evidence is there that what they fear is likely to occur?
It's true that the DNC chair is more about organization and less about ideology, but the two are related.
Increasing our base and particularly our activist base will require changes in ideology, and maybe more so, changes in the priorities. If we don't change our story, we will not attract and keep new people.
And, increasing the base/activist base will have ideological consequences. The new people will have different issue/policy priorities than the current establishment.
Some of these changes are going to be uncomfortable and may provoke issue/policy battles. I expect confrontations on abortion rights, gay/lesbian rights and other so-called moral or culture issues. The Democratic Electorate, people who vote Democratic, and Elected Democrats are both split on these isses. They are not split 50/50 and the portions that hold the minority (in the party) positions, pro-life and anti-gay, may kick up a big fight and/or bolt.
So, Jerome, do you buy Trippi's story that this his endorsement was scheduled independent of Dean's announcement? I'm pretty sure that it's one of those things that even if true will not be believed. Whatever the truth is, this play doesn't make Trippi look good. I wonder if he knows that.
There are two ironclad rules in political relationships: 1) Show loyalty even if you don't feel it, and 2) Don't violate Rule 1.
And what is Trippi's game? Is he looking for a gig at DNC? Why would anyone who can pontificate for money on MSNBC, and sell the occasional book, want to enter the faceless, thankless world of national party work?
There are some Dean supporters who would prefer that Dean not take the DNC chair and run for president in 2008. But I think they are in the minority.
The short answer is that Dean, and more importantly the Deaniacs, are about positive change and growth in the Democratic Party specifically and progressive politics generally.
We cannot afford to wait four years, we need to start now.
It was said over and over, but many people just did not get the Dean thing. It wasn't about Dean as much as it was about the Deaniacs. It wasn't about electing Dean as much as it was about taking back our party and our country. It wasn't about one thing, it was about everything.
While that is not the only important difference, it is The Big One.
Unlike the Iraqi insurgency, the Vietnamese had years effective defense from air attacks, an air force, armor and an unlimited supply of small arms and ammo. On top of that, the Vietnamese had twenty years' experience fighting colonial powers.
Can you imagine what Iraq would be like right now if China were providing arms and money and Iran providing arms, intelligence and sanctuary?
1) The Republicans have huge base of highly skilled and well organized volunteers. They do not only come out at election time, they work all year, every year, to promote Republican candidates and Republican ideology.
a) How can we build a similar base of volunteers?
b) How can we get the to work with each other?
c) Does a Democrat of any consequence ever say anything without another Democrat of consequence immediately criticizing it in public? Do you think that there is anything that can be done to reduce or eliminate this?
2) This last election cycle produced a whole new population of politically active and politically interested persons. What will you do to convince these people to become active Democrats?
a) What will you do to make the state and local parties encourage these people to become active?
b) What will you do to convince people that becoming active in their state and local Democratic Parties is worthwhile?
What will you do to bring the Democratic Party out of the Beltway? And out of the Beltway mentality?
Can you give one example from this last election cycle of a mistake by the DNC that you would never want to make?
Name a Democrat of significance with whom you disagree on a major issue. Tell us what you will do to make sure that this person stays in the party and works to get our candidates elected and our policies promoted.
a) Have you ever tried something like this before and had it blow up in your face?
b) Have you ever tried something like this and been successful?
Can you convince Hillary Clinton that she would best serve her country and her party by remaining in the senate?
Do you think the primary/caucus system should be changed? If so:
a) What changes?
b) How are going to get Democrats in Iowa and New Hampshire to go along with these changes?
Stop making choices for Democrats based on what Republicans will do or say. We could have Jesus Christ chairing a national committee of the Twelve Apostles and the Republicans would put out the same propaganda.
I agree with all your questions and the points implicit in them.
The Democratic Party needs to take dramatic steps to distance itself from Washington DC. Given modern communications technology, why does it have to be in DC? Why not in St. Louis? Or Chicago? Or Atlanta?
I could think of a hundred questions and I'm sure everyone else posting here could do the same. But there is one thing that I have not heard any of the candidates directly address.
Starting the aftermath of the 2002 midterm elections and accelerating in response to the Iraq War, this last election cycle saw an unprecedented number of what we might call "new people" getting involved in politics. Some of these people were new to politics, some had been active in their youth, but had not volunteered or donated money for years. While the reasons these "new people" were not previously involved are varied, and while they were animated by a range of issues, the difference in this last cycle was their belief that their participation would make a difference.
In the wake of the disappointment of this election, and the possibility that many of the "new people" will revert to their previous non-participation:
What will you do to keep these people interested in political activism?
What will you do to get these people to be active in the Democratic Party, as opposed to a campaign that was focused on defeating a Bush?
What would you do to encourage state and local parties to attract and welcome the "new people?"
On another and slightly related subject. The presidential primaries/caucuses left most of the country feeling that it had no impact on the process.
Do you support changes in the presidential primary system, and if so, what changes and why?
Running in every district doesn't mean spending the same money and resources in every district. There are obviously going to be allocations made, especially as the election approaches.
The state/county parties need to get involved with the DCCC and start picking candidates. I takes at least two years for congressional campaign, and it is already late.
If I were the DCCC campaign chair, I'd get in touch with each state party committee and tell them I want a list of vetted candidates for every district in your state, you have thirty days. More than one in a district is okay, more than three is not.
Then I would evaluate each one to make sure there are no Bernard Kerick problems, no arrests, no scandal. Shouldn't take more than another sixty days.
Then, once I had that list, I would start working them into a national team.
I would want to know what they had to say about what was important in each of their districts, and what they thought the Democratic National Top Ten List should be. I'd get them to commit to a process where once that list was pounded into place by candidates all over the country, that they would stick to it. God, Gays and Guns would not be on the list. Every candidate makes up his/her own mind on that stuff.
In exchange for their commitment to the Democrati Party Top Ten list, the candidates would get training in how to talk to the press/media, etc., talk show practice seminars, advice on public speaking, access to resources for information and research that backs up their positions.
Even in district we know we are going to lose, we need good people running, and we need them to run on the same issues & policies that all the other Democrats are running on. If they aren't willing to do that, they should get nothing from the DCCC.
I am just ruminating here, but I am tired of a party that has no cohesion, I am tired of bad candidates and I am tired of having our congressional candidates running against our party.