Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Keeping It Real Politik: Banging the Gong

From this little corner of the electronic universe, it's time to take a stand:

Howard Dean should be the next chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

Dean has the smarts, the toughness, and the appeal to make the tough decisions and changes to revamp a demoralized Democratic Party. We need star power, we need people to be excited about something, we need a message, and we need to combat the massive conservative media echo chamber. Howard Dean is the guy if anyone is the guy.

People are starting to get the idea. Elanor Clift believes Dean is a centrist (contrary to popular belief) with "conviction and passion... an obvious choice." Daily Kos has been banging the drum for weeks, and a Draft Howard movement is on the march.

Tom Vilsack, the amiable, soft-spoken Governor of Iowa, is said to have taken himself out of the running, possibly because of the enthusiasm for Dean. This is a good thing for several reasons. First, Kerry backed Vilsack in his newly self-appointed role as power broker. Kerry is trying to engineer his '08 candidacy and he thinks that Vilsack (an '04 Veep finalist) would be his guy to man the helm for the next several years.

Now, I like Kerry a lot -- a good man who has served his country bravely and well for decades. Was he a great candidate? Not so much. He wasn't terrible, but he couldn't knock off an incumbent with a slippery slope war in Iraq, a tepid economy at home, and social policies that take Clinton's 'bridge to the 21st Century' and turn that badboy right in the direction of Louis XIV land.

So Dean as DNC makes a Kerry comeback less likely. Good on many levels -- we need a fresh face next time around, especially with a campaign cycle that drags out over two years. Gore wisely faced this fact, and I hope that Kerry will to in time and become a force in the Senate that, frankly, he hasn't been over two decades in that chamber.

Dean as DNC also makes a Dean '08 campaign impossible. Also a good thing. Dean, even running a brilliant campaign, would likely not make the 270 electoral votes necessary to win. And another Northeasterner is likely to make a lot of Dems uneasy.

Which brings us to m'lady HRC (Hillary Rodham Clinton). HRC is going to fascinating to watch over the next two years, and Dean as DNC would only enhance the dynamic. She's another dynamic and popular figure in the party.

And it just could be that Dean and HRC could be the two forces that kick the Democrats out of their doldrums next time 'round.

I, for one, can't wait to see.


The Sore Loser said...

I like what you're saying. Dean is smart, articulate, and even a tad charismatic. Unlike Kerry (whom I like), he genuinely excites the Democratic base. The choice of Dean would clearly indicate a desire to fight and stand up for principle. The choice of a more centrist candidate would clearly indicate a preference for capitulation and for a further drift to the right.

Drifting rightward would be a mistake because Democratic ideas are popular. The problem is not so much the message but the delivery. A more charismatic candidate probably would've beaten Bush. Any candidate that could not be stereotyped as a silk-hatted northeasterner would be an improvement.

Eric Berlin said...

You make two good points, Mr. Sorest. Now is not the time for bland Parliamentarianism (that's why I argued in a previous post that Harry Reid is a bad choice for Senate Minority Leader -- why not, seniority or no, give it someone like Ted Kennedy or Sen. Schumer or New York? Keep things interesting, at least...) and Dean offers the best combination of star power, know-how, and charisma at present to take the job.

You're also right on the need not to drift further right. Making the Dem party a "values-lite" or GOP-lite affair is exactly the wrong idea.

Finally, when Dean talks about the Democrats as a party of balanced budgets and fiscal responsibility, the guy just makes sense. He's Clintonian, in fact, that he's the only other guy I can think of within the last year that can make the case for the Democrats better than anyone else.

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