Saturday, June 7, 2008

Slightly old news, but still good news...

Glad to see that Obama's first major decision was to keep Howard Dean as head of the DNC. Whatever errors Dean made in regards to prolonging the primary fight and issues with Michigan and Florida, his '50 State Strategy' was instrumental in the Dems taking back Congress in 06 and leveling the playing field for all future national elections. And, in my opinion, it was also instrumental in Obama winning the nomination, since many of the smaller or redder states that Obama triumphed in were the very states that needed a strong localized Democratic network that had been lacking or absent beforehand.

For what it's worth, I saw the infamous Dean scream speech live as it occurred on the night of the Iowa caucuses back in January, 2004. When I watched it live, with all the microphones turned on (not just Dean's) it seemed like a normal high-energy political speech, meant to raise the spirits of supporters who expected Dean to triumph in Iowa. Later broadcasts played the video with only Dean's audio audible, making him sound like a delusional madman rallying a silent crowd (to be fair, it may have also been the fault of his unidirectional microphone, which filters out crowd noise). Even Diane Sawyer and CNN more or less apologized for overplaying this non-story. Granted, that's not what doomed his campaign. Dean made several rookie mistakes in Iowa and his whole campaign wasn't nearly as professional or as well-organized as everyone assumed. Plus, the Democrats were so desperate to find someone, anyone to call their candidate against George W. Bush that they would have rallied behind whomever won Iowa and New Hampshire, be it John Kerry or Dennis Kucinich.

Dean has been a key figure in rebuilding the Democratic Party following the shattering 2000 debacle, and the 2002 mid-terms (in which Democrats were encouraged to run as pretend Republicans). Despite the super-delegate stand-off and the issues over Florida and Michigan, he has concentrated on building the party for the long run, not just for the next election. Obama choosing to keep him where he is shows good judgment and good taste.

Scott Mendelson

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