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View Diary: Beltway Dem insiders whine, 'Dean stole our Golden Goose!' (303 comments)

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  •  Funny how on the ground reports differ from MSM (4.00)
    ..and we are going to Montana...

    Dean at the DNC meeting

    Howard Dean arrived after lunch. The crowd greeted him warmly. A fair number of non-DNC people filled the room.

    He talked about his travel schedule-leaving me wondering how he can look and sound so fresh. Not only did he come to speak in Montana...he's hanging around to go on a sight-seeing boat trip to the Gates of the Mountains with us.

    Dean reiterated that he expects the state parties to provide a few things...and soon. He has asked state parties to put together lists of home emails for all Dem party elected officials, from governors on down to precinct people. The idea is that the list can be used to send out messages so everyone can be on the same page with the same talking points.

    He also asked state parties to get together with elected officials to put together documents describing what issues are best to run on for each state. At the DNC meeting in Phoenix in September, they'll be combined, and then things will be subtracted from the platform so it's clear what the 3-4 things are that all Democrats can run on. He doesn't want everyone to run on exactly the same message-he says it must be tailored for specific locality-but that we all agree on principles. He went on to say that it must be succinct and not a laundry list.

    He praised the state party efforts, noting that the first states are hiring people now and that 13 have been funded. The DNC will train them and pay the new hires, although they're chosen by the states. In return, the states must work to build strong organizations at the county and precinct level. He says that he trusts the state parties to do what works in their states; the DNC will make sure they have the training and resources necessary. "We don't believe in a cookie-cutter operation."

    He hit a lot of familiar themes, saying we will be running on fiscal responsibility and small government. (Small government in this case means making your own private decisions instead of letting Tom Delay make them.) Local communities should run local schools, not the federal government. He mentioned that the Bush administration, not content with going after Social Security, is now after private pensions. "That money doesn't belong to United Airlines; it belongs to the workers who contracted to work for it." He wants to make pensions portable.

    He repeated his familiar line about the US being the last industrialized nation without health insurance for all. On national defense, he said the Democrats have to convince Americans that we're "tough enough to pull the trigger." (Note: that makes me cringe, but he's right.) He said that the current administration has sent 135,000 troops to Iraq while doing nothing about Iran and Korea and that they "can't tell the difference between a threat and a nuisance."

    He wants to turn the DNC into looking outward, not inward. He said that too many resources were devoted to reaching out to people already in the party and that we need to do outreach to those who aren't in the party. Chris Owen from the AFL-CIO is heading up a new outreach program concentrating on African-Americans, Latinos, and women. Dean said we are not going to show up in African-American communities four weeks before the election; we're going to show up now.

    Since values are a hot topic, Dean reiterated Democratic values: no child goes to bed hungry, an education system with opportunity for all, not leaving debt to your children, treating everyone with dignity, caring for the poor. He quoted Jim Wallis as saying "the Bible mentions caring for the poor 3,000 times; it doesn't mention gay marriage at all."

    He said that as he travels, he makes himself available for small press operations, such as constituency papers and weeklies.

    All of this went down well with the DNC members. He seems really well liked by the crowd, which is interesting as many of these folks were not initially happy about him winning the chairmanship.

    By Jenny Greenleaf   3:07 pm     Party Process: Dems

    •  and more (4.00)
      ...clearly Dean is a failure?

      Why Howard Dean is good for the Democratic Party

      I've been closely observing Howard Dean for a lot longer than most national political watchers. I first ran into him when I worked for Vermont's Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders. There, I got a close-up look at his governing style. Then, like everyone else, I watched his run for President and DNC Chairman. I'll be really honest - for a long time, I had mixed feelings about him. For many reasons, I never really got on the Dean 2004 bandwagon, even though I was impressed with him in a lot of ways (I think it was mainly because I had trouble pinning him down ideologically). But in recent months, I really have been impressed with him. And after spending some time with him yesterday at the DNC's Western Caucus meetings here in Helena, I've decided my recent inklings about him really are valid. Dean, even with his minor imperfections, is very good for the national Democratic Party.

      Dean governed Vermont as a moderate, but ran for President as a populist progressive - which tended to confuse me. But when his progressive message caused controversy and when the media pressure was on for him to abandon that message, he essentially stuck to his guns in trying to give voice to the progressive fight.

      In doing so, of course, Democratic "centrists" viciously attacked him during the Presidential campaign (I put "centrists" in quotes because I think the term is a misnomer). And now, former GOP/Christian Coalition operatives like Marshall Wittman - who hilariously call themselves Democratic "centrists" and pretend to speak for Democrats - continue to underhandedly attack Dean even today. These "centrists" think they do themselves a favor with such disloyalty. But what they have actually done is unify a strong contingent of the Democratic base around Dean. For his part, Dean understands that these centrist elites will never be his base of support within the party (nor should a chairman want them to be). So he has a political incentive to stay on the populist progressive message as DNC Chairman. In other words, the grassroots and the progressive wing of the party have become crucial to his political career/survival - and that's who he is going to fight for. Say what you will about his transformation from governor to DNC Chairman, I'm glad he's on progressives' side.

      Certainly, that is scary to the insulated Washington, D.C. Democratic establishment. For years, these insiders have been able to handpick chairmen to make sure the party doesn't move back to its grassroots, middle-class roots. That explains their anger at him, and their subsequent attacks.  more ...

    •  nice.. (none)
      they "can't tell the difference between a threat and a nuisance."

      that's a good way of putting it. of course, its easier now, back when the war was starting, anyone who called iraq only a 'nuisance' was laughed out of DC..

      alcohol and night swimming. it's a winning combination!-l.leonard

      by chopper on Tue Jun 07, 2005 at 04:51:10 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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