What an incredibly stupid story.
After months in which he was largely absent from public deliberations about how to avert a risk to the party’s hopes of taking the White House in November, Mr. Dean stepped forward last week to say he wanted the contest resolved by July 1 and for Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama to tone down their attacks on each other.
Yet three years after he won election as the party chairman by running largely as an outsider, it is not clear that Mr. Dean has the political skills or the stature with the two campaigns to bring the nominating battle to a relatively quick and unifying conclusion.
Indeed, 24 hours after he made his remarks, Mrs. Clinton said she intended to keep fighting for the nomination through the summer, if necessary. It was an unmistakable rebuke to Mr. Dean, who has never had good relations with the Clintons.
Clinton's remarks may have been a rebuke to Dean, but who cares? If the supers come out in force and side with Obama, this thing is over. If they side with Clinton, this thing is over. Having Clinton publicly accept that now has nothing to do with Dean's "political skills". You know what does? Getting those supers to commit before July 1.
[S]enior officials in both campaigns said they had heard rarely from Mr. Dean on matters like the tone of the contest and how it might be concluded and what to do about the Michigan and Florida delegates, the subject of a bitter and potentially debilitating debate between the Clinton and Obama campaigns.
Dean has been very clear about Michigan and Florida: the rules are the rules. That doesn't make the Clinton partisans happy, but that's not from a lack of leadership on it, but because of his leadership on fighting for the rules that the party agreed on. Let's not forget that Clinton pitbull Harold Ickes was on the committee that voted for the sanctions.
As for "tone", does anyone really think that any outsider can impose his or her will on the campaigns? What was he supposed to do, kidnap Mark Penn as he urged the Clinton campaign to go negative and lock him away in some dungeon in the basement of DNC headquarters?
The campaigns will do what they need to do. Dean would have to be a moron to think he has any influence in such decisions.
The chairman of the Florida Democratic Party, Karen Thurman, said she could not recall the last time Mr. Dean had called her to try work out the dispute. She and other Florida Democrats are to meet with Mr. Dean on Wednesday to try to persuade him to agree to a compromise.
Dean made the DNC's position very clear to her before the primaries started. She ignored him while Florida Democrats openly mocked him. Now she wants him to get her out of her own mess? Hilarious.
Some Democratic Party leaders, while offering sympathy for Mr. Dean’s plight, said it was urgent that he take a more assertive role to restore peace. Several suggested that Mr. Dean — who has sought to build a legacy by expanding party operations to all 50 states — risked having his tenure as party leader remembered for a traumatizing loss in a year where most Democrats think victory should be easy.
"Some leaders"? Who are those leaders? Let's count them -- Donald Fowler (a Clinton supporter) and Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. That's it. Just two. And again, what do they want him to do? Kidnap Geraldine Ferraro and lock her up with Penn?
But that stuff is nothing compared to this old, tired tripe:
He in many ways ran for chairman as a candidate defying the Democratic establishment, and his first years were marked by a very public feud with Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, over Mr. Dean’s trademark proposal to use Democratic National Committee money to build organizations in all 50 states. He does not have particularly close relationships with many of the people who are central to the Clinton and Obama campaigns or Washington Democratic players.
"I have never heard from him," said Charles T. Manatt, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985. "But he is a totally different style from someone like me who came in through the party process. Dean doesn’t live in town so he hasn’t connected with a lot of people in town."
Good. That's really, really good, no matter how much the villagers whine that Dean won't attend their cocktail parties or pad their bank accounts. There's a reason why the party outside DC loves him, and the party in DC hates him, and it's for the right reason.
At this point in the article, "some Democrats" say that Dean is just peachy. But the story moves on quickly to this beaut:
But frustration with Mr. Dean’s hands-off approach was reflected across Democratic ranks. Peter S. Lowy, a prominent Los Angeles contributor who has held regular fund-raisers for Democratic campaign committees, sent Mr. Dean a letter complaining about his leadership of the party during this period.
"As long-term supporters of the party, we have been singularly dismayed with your performance during the current Democratic presidential primary season," Mr. Lowy wrote.
This the same Lowy that has maxed out to John McCain, and someone who hasn't given a dime to the DNC this cycle? Yup. Just another big dollar donors upset that Dean isn't kissing his ass. And he's going to lecture Dean on party building as McCain cashes his checks?
Every so often one of these articles come through the transom. Dean's faced them before, and he'll deal with them the same way he has before -- by ignoring the shrieking critics and doing what's right.
You have to be a frakin' moron to pretend Dean has shown no leadership. So here it is, in bullet points for the addled and their journalist friends:
- Florida and Michigan violated DNC rules. Their contests don't matter. The DNC rules committee can re-evaluate at the appropriate time.
- Florida and Michigan are more than free to hold sanctioned contests if they want.
- Dean thinks the process should play out. And once the final contest is in the books, in June, the super delegates should declare their preferences.
I didn't have to do research to jot those three bullet points down. They are self-evident and have been repeated a billion times in every interview Dean does. They are studiously non-partisan at a time when the most zealous supporters parse every utterance for evidence of bias.
Those whining that Dean isn't doing anything, quite frankly, either have their own agenda, or they're just really stupid. But now that the NY Times tells us what some of the Beltway crowd think about Dean, time to find out what we think of him.