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

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    ...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 ...

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