I started writing some thoughts about Dean's new campaign CEO Roy Neel in a response to something else, but it started getting meaty enough to rate its own diary. Let me know what you think...
Interesting thing about Roy Neel... he's not a professional campaign manager. He's a Beltway negotiator and power broker. Totally different skillset, and totally different Rolodex. Why him? And how will Dean use him?
First, let's look at one of Dean's biggest problems... large parts (not all) of the Democratic Establishment have been trying to kill him for nearly a year now, and are STILL trying to kill him. Those people are lining up behind Kerry, providing him with money, organization, and covering fire in the media. Their main line of attack? Dean is "unelectable", for a kaleidoscope of shifting reasons, which change every time Dean disproves one (anti-war, too liberal, too angry, and now no momentum).
What can Neel do? Start calling key players up and forging a peace treaty between Dean and the Establishment. Dean promises that his Revolutionary Vanguard won't be lining them up against a wall, and the outsider anti-Establishment rhetoric will be focused on a few key players (say, the junior senator from MA and the head of the DLC). The Establishment, in turn, offers up a few choice morsels for sacrifice to Dean's hordes (yes, YOU, Al From). Most of the Establishment gets to keep their jobs, the reformers get to feel like they've made a real change (and to some extent, they will), and everyone goes home happy.
Now what else is in it for the Establishment? ELECTABILITY. You don't get to the top (or the middle) of the heap in Washington by being stupid or ignoring talent. They KNOW that Kerry is the weakest candidate, and they know Dean is the strongest. They really are, for the most part, good Democrats, who have had to compromise for a long time. They know Dean can stare down a GOP Congress in a way Kerry cannot, and maybe even have some coattails.
Say this deal works. Remember, Kerry's support is almost completely soft. Voters vote for him because he's "electable", not because he inspires them. The Establishment can sabotage Kerry far more effectively than they sabotaged Dean. The right stories leak, the right people stop returning phone calls, and Kerry just falls apart. Dean, with a solid base and a stream of puff pieces in the right media, rides to a string of critical wins.
It's cheaper and more effective than another ad campaign. :}