OK

So apparently the 50-state strategy was all James Carville's idea, and Howard Dean messed it up.

Carville, during coffee and rolls with political reporters today, said Democrats could have picked up as many as 50 House seats, instead of the nearly 30 they have so far.

The reason they didn't, he said, is the Democratic National Committee did not spend some $6 million it could have put into so-called "third tier" House races against vulnerable Republicans.

And what 20 other House seats would those be, Carville? And what about that $6 million that Emanuel sunk into just two losing campaigns, Duckworth's and Farrell's? And how about those third-tier races that the DCCC never went into or went into so late that it couldn't make a difference? How about ID-01? How much money did the DCCC spend there? How about WY-AL? How much did the DCCC spend on that one, Carville? Or maybe CO-06? The DCCC really stepped up for Bill Winter, there, didn't they.

Obviously James Carville is not a stupid man. He knows he didn't invent the 50-state strategy and that this line that they didn't pick up an additional 20 seats because of Dean is ridiculous. So what's the explanation? Why is he spouting these absurdities? Covering for Emanuel because he either ignored or got into the third tier of races so late? Frankly, Emanuel never imagined that we could have had 50 seat pickup this year, and he wanted to focus on the 20 races he started with, on his grand plan.

Is Carville is carrying Emanuel's water on this one? I don't know for sure, but I do know that the rest of the Dem Party establishment has credited Howard Dean and the 50-state strategy for the great success of this cycle. Senator Schumer said so himself in a comment in his diary today:

Friday night I was on the Bill Maher show and talked about what a great job Dean has been doing at the DNC.  The DNC helped out at a crucial time financially and organizationally that helped put us over the top.

Chuck Schumer hasn't run around to every traditional media outlet to pat himself on the back and hog all the credit for this victory, when our victories in the Senate were incredible. We all knew we'd take the House, but how many really thought we could swing six Senate seats? Schumer's leadership in this achievement was critical, but he graciously acknowledges all contributions to the effort.

This year we won because we are smart, committed to a common cause, determined, and indefatigable. The diversity of our new Democratic majority shows that we have a big tent. From Ben Cardin to Amy Klobuchar to Bob Casey to Bernie Sanders, to Jon Tester and James Webb, our candidates were energetic campaigners, and will now be exceptional members of the Senate.

Your efforts, combined with the DNC's 50-state strategy, is creating a political environment that is one of the best Democrats have seen in decades. Our bench of candidates is growing, our state parties are becoming stronger, and our prospects for growing our majority look brighter everyday.

Let's briefly look at some of what else the 50-state strategy achieved:

Fifteen state governments are now solidly blue politically, seven more than before the voting. Ten state capitals are fully in Republicans' hands, down from 12. The other 25 states have divided government.

The Democratic surge was not restricted by region, and puts the party in a strong position going into the 2008 presidential election because of the vast new extent of its grip on the levers of politics and policy.

In Tuesday's election, the Democrats picked up four open governors' seats that had been in GOP hands.

But I guess state legislatures and governors' seats don't matter in James Carville's or Rahm Emanuel's world.

If I'm wrong about Carville acting on Emanuel's behalf, then Rahm can set the record straight by disassociating himself from Carville's remarks and praising Dean. Unless he's too busy being interviewed for the next puff piece on how he made the world safe for Democrats again. I'm not holding my breath.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Wed Nov 15, 2006 at 11:53 AM PST.

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