The Democratic Party looked completely dead and irrelevant after the tragic stolen/lost Election episodes of 2000, 2002, 2004, and their voiceless aftermath.
Thanks in large part to this blog site, MoveOn.org, and purely grassroots initiatives, Howard Dean then became voted in as the DNC Chairman (replacing Terry McAuliffe), and proceeded to launch a new National 50-state strategy that changed the equation, and made Democrats competitive once again in places they had not been in for decades.
But three years ago, Howard Dean was openly mocked and vilified by Democratic party insiders and Washington Democrats for spending DNC resources in places such as Alaska, the South, and the West. Rahm Emanuel, the then Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee chairman, opposed and fought against Howard Dean's strategy tooth and nail, and he and other Party insiders even made public calls for Dean's resignation (and wanted DLC insider Harold Ford Jr. to replace him) to keep their failed ways going.
This week, Alaskans watched Mark Begich swear in as their newly elected Democratic Senator. This is just one example of the payoff from Dean's 50-state outreach, that has proven to be wildly successful in both the 2006 and 2008 Elections.
Despite reinventing the whole Election organization of the Democratic Party, and leading it to in consecutive triumphant election cycles, Dean was completely passed over for the Cabinet position he coveted (Health and Human Services). He was also shutout from consideration for any other administration post. And there have been allegations that Dean was not even invited to attend the event with President-elect Barack Obama introducing Gov Tim Kaine at DNC headquarters to be his successor, which Dean indicated he would have attended (rescheduling a trip) had he received such an invitation. The shabby treatment of Howard Dean, by the Democratic Establishment is baffling.
Why is the Party that feels obligated to do back flips to reward (unnecessarily) the likes of Joe Lieberman (a complete traitor to the Party), and one-time John-McCain-promoter Hillary Clinton, and that wants to keep in power Bush family confidant (and Iran-Contra figure) Robert Gates for the sake of "continuity" in our disasterous Defense policies, now marginalizing the one real hero in the Democratic Party that is largely responsible for laying the groundwork for Obama's own (red-state dependent) victory, and for the Party's resurgence in the public image and legitimacy across the Nation?
At stake now is a slide backwards to the failed, narrow Rahm Emanuel, Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi supported model of focusing on targeted high-profile races, and the promotion of "Party establishment approved" candidates, at the expense and detriment of the overall Party, and the degree of outreach and creativity of their message and image. In such a senario, a guy like Al Franken would never had defeated Norm Coleman, and Franken is just the kind of principle-oriented, fresh voice that I'm now going to look forward to be hearing from.
While Obama and Tim Kaine have both made some brief statements in support of the 50-state strategy, whether they just slowly revert right back to the old establishment game, and the old beltway habits, with Howard Dean no longer in the picture remains an open question. For no matter what anyone says about the 50-states approach, the more central question here is who other than Howard Dean even had the type of personality, the type of organizing and speaking skills, and the passion and vision to really travel all around the Nation to very obscure, small town America, and actually implement this kind of approach on a day-to-day basis, and pull it off? Is Tim Kaine really gonna do that? And even if he did, would it have the same appeal and the same kind of effect?
It's not that I think that Kaine is a bad guy, but to be clear, when Gov. Kaine laid out his top three goals for a new DNC, the 50 State Strategy was not even written as one of the bullet items! (albeit he did say of Dean, that he had "big shoes to fill", but talk and action/strategy are different things).
I got an EMail from Jim Dean, Howard Dean's brother who runs Democracy For America, asking everyone now to sign a petition which will be delivered to Tom Kaine, with the message to keep the 50-state strategy going.
Everyone go and sign this now: Keep the 50-State Strategy alive!!
In the same EMail, Jim Dean also said this:
"The 50 State Strategy will go down as one of the most successful long-term programs the Democratic National Committee has ever implemented. Not just for Barack but for candidates up and down the ballot all across the country. But while there has been a lot of talk about keeping it alive, all of the original DNC 50 State Strategy organizers have been let go."
Of these recent events, Joe Trippi said this:
"He [Dean] was never afraid to challenge the way party establishment in Washington did business, and that doesn’t win you friends in either party. You don’t have to look any further than Rahm Emanuel. Now one of them is the chief of staff to the president of the United States, and one of them is the outgoing party chair."
--Joe Trippi, Dean's former campaign manager
I find it depressing that the Democratic Party establishment would rather applaud Joe Lieberman on the Senate floor, and reward him with Chairmanship control, then it would choose to proudly and decisively embrace Howard Dean, the man who saved the Party from obscurity itself.
Consider that Dean and Obama and Franken, and that message, won the Election, but yet it is the likes of Rahm Emanuel, Larry Summers, Bob Gates, Joe Lieberman, Nancy Pelosi, and Hillary Clinton who are given the big seats, and the keys of control.
I'm not sure why Obama thinks that those people, with their past track record, even represent the public interest to begin with, much less deserve the rewards of this Election?
The Audacity of Hype
If the 50-State strategy slips..even just a little...we could go right back to dark days of 2002 and 2004 again.
Everyone go and pounce on this petition and send a message loud and clear:
Keep the 50-State Strategy alive!!