Tuesday, February 22, 2005
More on Dr. Dean
With all the derision the Republican party is heaping upon Dr. Deans selection as head of the DNC, there is an undercurrent of fear among them. I found this today on a blog I just discovered: www.mydd.com
Republican Leader Warns the GOP About Dean
by descrates From the diaries - Jerome
The Seattle Times has a op-ed by Reed Davis, an associate professor of political science at Seattle Pacific University. He ran for the GOP nomination to the U.S. Senate last year, and is a former chairman of the King County Republican Party. Reed argues that, despite the foolish congratualations the party is giving itself over Dean's nomination, the new DNC Chair has the potential to be very dangerous to them.
Republicans may think that the nomination of Dean is hysterically funny -- a scream, in fact, as George Will recently put it -- but they are deluding themselves if they think Dean is nothing more than a wild-eyed ideologue with a temper and a cult following.
Dean brings three talents to the chairmanship that can potentially sink not just a GOP presidential candidate in 2008 but the Republican-controlled House and maybe even the Senate well before then. Diaries :: descrates's diary ::
Mon Feb 21st, 2005 at 07:57:18 PM EST
First, he's a fund-raiser par excellence. Lest we Republicans forget, not only did Howard Dean set records for fund raising, he set them in one of the most imaginative, difficult and unorthodox ways imaginable -- namely, through the Internet. And remember, he set those records not by initially tapping the big-money crowd but by combing through the grass roots for nickels and dimes.
Second, and more important, Dean knows not only how to raise money but what to do with it once he gets it. He has repeatedly declared that he's going to rebuild the Democratic Party from the bottom up, blade by blade, volunteer by volunteer, state by state, because he understands that face-to-face get-out-the-vote programs, not slick advertising or direct-mail merchandizing, are what win elections.
Not only does he have a mountain of scholarly evidence confirming this -- Yale, of all places, has a group of scholars insisting that the only get-out-the-vote effort that works at all is face-to-face contact -- but he also has the elections of 2004 to go on. After all, virtually every commentator and analyst in politics is claiming that the Bush victory is owed largely to its monumental grass-roots get-out-the-vote effort. And if Dean stands for anything, it's the importance of grass-roots politics.
This is by far Dean's most important attribute. He has the ability to motivate the activists to action both with their time and money. Bowers has spent some time talking about how far behind we are on our GOTV. I'm not sure I fully agree that we were really beat by the Republican GOTV, but it didn't help. Reed makes the point that if anyone can make this happen for the Dems it is Dean.
Third, he is charismatic. And this is where Republicans make their biggest mistake in judging him. They believe his allegedly vegan, bohemian liberalism will appeal only to lefties from New England and Seattle.
Well, maybe so, but that's not the secret to Dean's charisma or his recent DNC election. Dean's appeal doesn't lie primarily in the fact that he's a great speaker (although he is) but in the fact that he's a great listener.
Grass-roots activists in both parties have been so starved for attention and support during the past 20 years that they will flock to the first person who promises to listen and do what he can to support them.
And that, more than anything else, was the message that Dean took to the party faithful in his campaign for the party chairmanship: He's there for them, not for the insiders, not for the professionals, and certainly not for the consultants. Dean will be there for the hardworking activists who make up the rank and file.
Contrast this to the state of the Republican base right now. No less a figure than Rush Limbaugh is warning the president that he faces a mutiny if he and the Republican Congress don't control spending and protect the borders, the two top concerns of the GOP rank and file.
In fact, if Republican leadership fails here, the GOP will have bigger problems than Howard Dean.
Now more than ever, the Republican Party needs to toss its heavy-handed, top-down management style overboard and rejuvenate its grass-roots parties. Howard Dean already has.
One of the things that I admire about Rove as a strategist came out in his recent speech urging the GOP not to become complacent. Rove has little interest in talking about how terrible the Democrats are doing right now--he's far too smart for that. He knows full well that the president's 51% margin in no way signifies a long term shift for the GOP. The Republicans are in hot water in a wide variety of ways: with their reelection of Bush they can expect to historically be held solely responsible for the Iraq Debacle; they are dangerously out of step with the priorities of most Americans on an issue by issue basis; and the unity that 9/11, the Iraq War, and the election provided them is quickly being sapped away.
The Democrats will be positioned well in the coming years if they can continue to build their organization up and finally settle some long fought ideological issues. And Dean may be the one man who can get it all done.