Sunday, March 23, 2008

Howard Dean: enigma wrapped in a riddle...

I find Howard Dean puzzling. I always did, even pre-primal-scream. He has always seemed imperious and angry to me. When he was made head of the Democratic National Party, I realized it was because he seemed to be a terrific fundraiser, but, as it turns out he tends to be a terrific fundraiser for himself and/or when he's coming at the task as an "outsider."

No good fundraiser would allow the Michigan/Florida situation to have gotten to this point. Now Democrats from across the country want contributions they made to the DNC returned. They feel ripped off, by a party leader who seems to be failing in all aspects of his job. Some examples:
  • Dean is not running the party so that once a nominee is chosen by a process that reasonably reflects the will of ALL the voters the party's base will come together around whoever is selected.
  • Dean has Democrats of all kinds swearing they will not give money to the Party. This is a real problem for the party, not so much for the presidential candidate selected, but for the full slate of Democrats who will be running in the fall. State and local candidates rely on Party infrastructure to bolster and bulwark their own runs for office. This cannot be done by a Party that is neither a robust nor well-funded.
As noted in the Atlantic Journal Constitution, at this point the fate of the nomination process may come down to the Party's Credentials Committee (!), because Dean's failure to resolve the seating of Michigan and Florida by this time makes it likely that that Committee will have to decide the fate of those delegations. Forget about superdelegates - it simply does not get any more backroom than this.

So, Howard Dean, who rose to popularity because he was supposedly refreshingly transparent and open, is leading the Party right into a convention that may strike many rank and file Democrats as unacceptably unrepresentative and even rigged. Howard Dean, who got his job because of his talents as a fundraiser, is driving away donors to the Party.

I don't think either Senator Clinton or Senator Obama should withdraw from the race for the nomination. But why aren't more people asking Howard Dean to step down from a job he seems unwilling or unable to perform? While this measure probably would not be practical at this point, it still seems Democrats should be asking Mr Dean this question. It might jolt him into better performance - or provoke another primal scream?

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for a thoughtful critique about Howard Dean. As the party conflicts increase, where is he?! I know many people have contacted him (myself included, repeatedly) and told him they are furious about the situation with Fl & Mi, the poorly run caucuses, and the lack of leadership and receptivity to the process. He is completely MIA, and I don't understand why this is getting more attention. He needs to step up or resign and let someone do the job that is required.

March 25, 2008 at 8:44 PM  
Blogger old said...

If Dean did step down, who would replace him? Brazile has behaved worse.

One good idea I've heard, is to send in ALL the disputed delegates as "Uncommitted." Let each of them make up their own minds (effectively turning them all into Superdelegates). This levels the field without the monstrous idea of changing their pledges to 50/50.

March 25, 2008 at 10:46 PM  

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