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View Diary: Financial parity in sight (161 comments)

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  •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
    Thanks for including the link. I'd gotten that article in my Baseline briefing and meant to read it, but it got lost in the shuffle. Plus, it features my girl Zephyr. It was pretty obvious even when I knew her at age 17 she was going to make a big splash in the world.

    Well, I'm not sold on Dean on the merits. But I have to admit I'm blown away by the degree of loyalty his supporters express. And it's great that the campaign listens to ideas from the grassroots on how to run the campaign and puts tools in their hands to do something about it. Kerry's campaign has tried similar things but like just about everything Kerry has done in this campaign season it comes off as clumsy and artificial.

    But I worry about the expectations of the grassroots in influencing policy and message and other crucial factors. I've already seen cockamamie ideas on here for Dean having his supporters vote for his VP candidate and other toxic non-starters. Now, Dean's not an idiot, so he's not going to go there, but what if there's a groundswell for him to advocate extreme and unpopular positions? If Dean is the nominee, his chances will hinge on his ability to manage the expectations of the grassroots (like what he did with the masterful "vote" on opting out of financing; he knew the answer he'd get ahead of time and let the grassroots put its imprimatur on it.) Very few successful campaigns have been fueled by the grassroots (maybe Jimmy Carter's...) but a few too many have been sunk by the demands of the grassroots (George McGovern, Adelai Stevenson, Henry Wallace, Walter Mondale).

    In other words, I know many of you think Dean's success will hinge on his inclusiveness and democratic processes, but I think if he's the nominee he'll win only by stage-managing it to appear democratic. (Or at the least make it truly democratic only with the trivial details, like picking carpet samples or whatever.) Otherwise he's apt to be swamped by the loopiness.

    I suppose the grassroots could become disciplined, self-sacrificing, and willing to submerge their immediate interests (Carville's "ass kissing festival") to achieve the only objective that matters: winning the damn election. The Christian Coalition and the NRA do it all the time, so we ought to be able to too. Still, it would be something of a first for the Democratic grassroots to suck it up for a candidate. Hey, maybe Dean is laying the groundwork for the tough disagreements and top-down decisions later on. If he pulls off that balancing act, he really is deserving of the awe he receives around here... and a hell of a lot more.

    •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
      You make some very good points.  I think the majority of the grassroots supports knows what they are getting.  And most aren't advocating loopy ideas like the VP vote.

      I am way to the left of Howie to the point that I've self-identified as a democratic socialist all my adult life.  I still like Howie. He's good with me on my core issues and I can make peace with the rest.  

      I think for a lot of us the promise of his campaign to change the process is as important as his positions on the issues.  I'm not saying that if Attilla the Hun ran a dean-like campaign I'd be hot to trot.  But Dean is a very palatable alternaitive to what we have now. And if he succeeds in changing the way candidates are chosen by changing the way money is raised and how campaigns are run, that bodes well for moving the country in a more progressive direction.

      •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
        There is promise in his campaign. And he's not utterly bereft of merit as a candidate. It's the holes in his swing that keep me up at night, though. I just have this image of him bungling the (probably lone) debate appearance with Dubya that won't leave me. And I haven't seen much evidence that he'd handle the Wurlitzer assault more adroitly than the others, and he comes with none of their built in (however thin) insulation.
        •  Re: Financial parity in sight (none)
          It's the holes in his swing that keep me up at night, though.

          Yes, I admit concern here.  He gets better with each "debate", so I hope he'll be ready for prime time in the general.  He's not wooden like Al, which is a plus.  Dubya cannot attack him from the left like Gep and Kerry are doing (with little effect).

          His stump speeches are great and he knows how to do the sound bites that the Rs have owned for the last several cycles. It's not hard to tweak GeeDub and make him look mean-spirited, so Howie's probably OK there.

          I would like him to have John Edwards' skills at the debate podium, but Edwards is the only viable candidate who really outstrips Dean. Weeping Joe and Gep are painful to watch and Kerry is just irritating.

          I'll reserve judgement on the Wurlitzer until the end of primary season. By then Howie should be able to lay off the pitches that are low and away.

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