Friday, January 14, 2005

February 12th

Well, arrived safely back to Oxford via the always sketchy Zoom airlines, and slowly recovering from the jet lag before the new term (and hopefully a new-found work ethic) begins on Monday. So why not an attempt at the first substantive blog entry of the new year? And since Tim has already covered the Prince Harry Nazi fiasco, here is a quick attempt to summarize the current Dean for Chairman situation before an evening of Guinness at LSE's Three Tuns in London [warning - beware of hyperlinks]:

First of all, Tim and I share our fair share of healthy political differences - though they do seem to be converging all the time - but Howard Dean's election as DNC Chairman is an area of absolute accord. Almost immediately after Kerry's loss, we both registered our support (here and here) and I am pleased to see the cause picking up steam as we near the vote. Kevin Drum has recently joined the fray as well. It is clear from various articles such as this one that Dean remains the front-runner, though the race is far from won.

For my money, the race will probably boil down to Dean, Simon Rosenberg, and maybe some establishment candidate. Rosenberg remains a compelling choice and has racked up a number of impressive endorsements, including Joe Trippi (on Hardball) and Matthew Yglesias - to name but a few.

I like Simon's focus on reform and the power of the netroots. But Yglesias' argument that Rosenberg is "Dean without the baggage" fails to fully appreciate the passionate support of Deaniacs, his wide personal recognition and proven charisma, and his past experience as Chair of the Governor's association. Basically, I think Dean can incorporate Rosenberg into his organization, while I doubt he could play second fiddle to the lesser known man. While candidate Dean could never overcome the infamous Scream, it suits chairman Dean just fine.

In any case, here's hoping for the reform duo. But beyond all this, just who has a say in this election, and when will the decision be made? Certainly the blogosphere has done its part to help explain how it all works and how activists can help - is it just me, or was I under the impression that Clinton just appointed McAuliffe in 2000? Here is the latest from my email inbox from Tom McMahon, Executive Director of Democracy for America. Aside from the usual calls to contribute, here is the critical information on the process and Dean's plan in one sentence:

"Here's how it works: less than a month from today, on February 12, the 447 members of the Democratic National Committee (made up of leaders from across the country) will meet to select a new chairman. Between now and their vote, DNC members from various states will be holding a series of forums and listening sessions to hear from candidates and grassroots Democrats -- these events have already begun.

As Governor Dean crisscrosses the country, he will try to meet face-to-face with as many DNC members as possible. He has a strategy for this race not unlike his strategy for our party's future -- stand up for what you believe, make a clear case for reform, and fight for every single vote."

That strategy sounds like the winning one alright. Keep your eyes on Blog for America for transcripts of Dean interviews and further updates. If Democrats want to take their party back from loser consultants (anyone crying over Schrum's retirement? not us), Dean is the choice. And hopefully he can find room for Rosenberg as his #2.


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