hat tip: The Field

From the NYTimes.com:

Democrats’ Turmoil Tests Party’s Low-Key Leader
Published: April 2, 2008

WASHINGTON — The turmoil in the Democratic presidential race has presented a sharp test of Howard Dean’s low-profile approach to leading the Democratic National Committee, bringing calls from many Democrats for him to take a more aggressive role in defusing the threat of a protracted and divisive nominating fight.

After months in which he was largely absent from public deliberations about how to avert a risk to the party’s hopes of taking the White House in November, Mr. Dean stepped forward last week to say he wanted the contest resolved by July 1 and for Senators Hillary Rodham Clinton and Barack Obama to tone down their attacks on each other.

Yet three years after he won election as the party chairman by running largely as an outsider, it is not clear that Mr. Dean has the political skills or the stature with the two campaigns to bring the nominating battle to a relatively quick and unifying conclusion.

Indeed, 24 hours after he made his remarks, Mrs. Clinton said she intended to keep fighting for the nomination through the summer, if necessary. It was an unmistakable rebuke to Mr. Dean, who has never had good relations with the Clintons.

In an interview, Mr. Dean said he was taking steps to pave the way to a smooth convention in Denver this summer, suggesting that he had had private conversations with both campaigns.

Mr. Dean and his aides said they were assembling resources — voter lists, political organizations and polling on vulnerabilities of Senator John McCain, the presumptive Republican nominee. Beyond that, Mr. Dean and other Democrats argued that with the party so divided — and in the midst of a fight between two outsized political figures — there were limits to what he could, or should, do.

“I’m making calls all the time to people,” he said. “I’ve spoken to a great number of leaders who are not aligned. The operative thing here is let the voters get to have their say before the Washington politicians have their say.”

Mr. Dean, a reserved former governor of Vermont, goes home most weekends and spends most of his weekdays on the road. In Washington, he stays at a hotel. His approach and style offer a sharp contrast to a string of big-shoulder, high-profile party chairmen —Terry McAuliffe or the late Ron H. Brown — who rose through the party ranks and were fixtures at the parties, fund-raisers and restaurants that make up this city’s political culture and where much of the political conversation takes place.

He in many ways ran for chairman as a candidate defying the Democratic establishment, and his first years were marked by a very public feud with Representative Rahm Emanuel, Democrat of Illinois, over Mr. Dean’s trademark proposal to use Democratic National Committee money to build organizations in all 50 states. He does not have particularly close relationships with many of the people who are central to the Clinton and Obama campaigns or Washington Democratic players.

“I have never heard from him,” said Charles T. Manatt, who was chairman of the Democratic National Committee from 1981 to 1985. “But he is a totally different style from someone like me who came in through the party process. Dean doesn’t live in town so he hasn’t connected with a lot of people in town.”

Rest of article at link above.


I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

Time Magazine was right a couple of months ago when they had Clinton and Obama on the cover and the title was

Battle for the Soul of the Democratic Party

They were entirely right. The battle between Clinton and Obama isn’t just between two candidates, it’s about two entirely opposite and incompatible organizing philosophies.

With the Clintons, you get the 50%+1 strategy. This is a TOP-DOWN way of thinking and organizing, full of big donors, lobbyists, and other political parasites like the Democratic Leadership Council.

With Obama, you get the Dean Originated 50 State Strategy. This is a BOTTOM-UP way of thinking and organizing, full of little people thinking that they could have a say in the way things are run.

The Clintons and their henchmen have been after Dean ever since he ran for DNC Chair. They wanted to stop him then, repeatedly trying to diminish Dean’s successes in 2006. The thing is, the Democrats on the ground, who do the grunt work, love Dean, if for no other reason, he actually TALKED to them after years of being ignored by the DNC.

Obama took Dean’s 50 State Strategy, studied it, and then filled it in. It’s at the root of his success. When Billary didn’t have a post-Feb. 5th Strategy, Obama had already organized and had boots on the ground in those post-Feb. 5 States. Obama is winning this because he took every state seriously and organized there. Obama’s fundraising success is a shock to the entire political system. Remember, he was laughed at when he said that he wouldn’t take Lobbyist or PAC money. Remember, Billary’s insistence that she would opt out of public financing was done as a move of INTIMIDATION – because, of course, nobody was supposed to beat the vaunted Clinton fundraising machine. When Obama nearly matched her in that 1st Quarter, the political earthquake was felt, coast to coast. That he has now raised MORE MONEY than anyone in the history of Primary Politics is stunning, and has people just standing there with their mouths agape.

Obama winning the nomination and the Presidency will mean that one strategy will triump over the other, and all of those who had gotten fat and greasy using the 50%+1 Strategy will have to move over.

THAT is what the threatening letter to Pelosi was about.
THAT is what articles like this are about.

They are trying to undermine Howard Dean and move him out. It’s all about keeping the Clintons in power. Make no mistake about that.

And that’s why, in a way, Obama isn’t even about Obama anymore. It’s about something bigger. A vision larger than him, about fundamentally, how you want to see politics run.

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