January 28, 2005


Ex-Clinton Aide Ickes Backs Dean for DNC (WILL LESTER, 1/28/05, Associated Press)

Harold Ickes, a leading Democratic activist and former aide to President Clinton, said Friday he is backing Howard Dean to be chairman of the Democratic National Committee — giving a powerful boost to the front-runner.

"I think all the candidates who are running have strong attributes, but Dean has more of the attributes than the others," said Ickes, who considered running for chairman himself before dropping out in early January. "Many people say Howard Dean is a northeastern liberal, he is progressive, but his tenure as governor of Vermont was that of a real moderate."

Ickes, who is chairman of the political action committee of Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., said the endorsement was his alone and "does not reflect Sen. Clinton's opinion."

While Ickes would not comment on the Clintons' preferences, he is a close ally and would not be endorsing Dean against their strong objections.

...look who they've been reduced to accepting. On the other hand, it does position Ms Clinton to triangulate against her own party chairman.

Ancient Woes Resurfacing As Dean Eyes Top Dem Post (E.J. KESSLER, January 28, 2005, The Forward)

One of Dean's top backers, as he was during the primary, is Steve Grossman, a former DNC chairman who also once served as president of the pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. Grossman waved away the criticism of Dean, saying it was reminiscent of the barbs lobbed at the late Ron Brown when he ran for DNC chairman in 1988. "Party chairs do not make foreign policy," Grossman said, adding that Dean nonetheless favors a "robust" one.

Grossman said that Dean "recognizes he misspoke himself on several occasions" and regretted those statements. In the end, however, Dean "does not want to lose nor does he expect to lose the overwhelming support of the Jewish community" and would spend time rebuilding that relationship.

Even as Dean's critics hammer him for his past statements, his backers cite his rhetoric as being one of the doctor's main draws.

"It seems to me that Governor Dean combines in exactly the correct proportions the rhetorical and inspirational and visionary qualities required by a political party in need of direction with the sound and sensible practical skills that he exhibited for many years as a successful governor," Dean adviser Jim Jordan wrote in an e-mail. "He can reform us and transform us and lead while building on the good practical institution-building work done over the past few years by [current DNC Chairman Terry] McAuliffe."

Dean's image problems are broader than his problems with the pro-Israel community. According to a survey cited last week by The Wall Street Journal, only 27% of Democrats view the Vermonter positively, down from 48% a year ago.

Dismal as the poll numbers are, you'd prefer them to being compared to Ron Brown and Terry McAuliffe, no?

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 28, 2005 8:54 PM

Dean as DNC chairman?

This is when GOP Elephants like me start piping up the music from those Blockbuster "No More Late Fees" commercials:


Posted by: Matt Murphy at January 29, 2005 5:13 AM

I scream, you scream
We all scream for Howard Dean!

Posted by: Mike Morley at January 29, 2005 9:04 AM

Well, at least Dean probably isn't on his way to indictment (like Ron Brown), or just lucky to have dodged it (like McAuliffe).

But it seems strange that Dems would choose someone who is most likely to alienate their most reliable voters. There is already tension between Dean and the black community, which will only grow as the GOP moves in. Also strange that we haven't heard a peep from Harold Ford since the election. After 2002, he was everywhere until Pelosi took charge. And just how is Dean going to defend the kleagle?

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 29, 2005 9:53 AM

The chairman of the DNC has only one job and that is to get money for Democratic candidates. At that job, Dean should excel. He understands the Internet's power to unite loonies from across the globe in a common cause. He was popular with the Hollywood liberal crowd. His appearance of relative fiscal conservatism will ingratiate him with the oddball liberal Wall Street Crowd.

Is he the face the Dems want on network TV? No, but who is?

Posted by: Bart at January 29, 2005 12:16 PM


Posted by: at January 29, 2005 3:43 PM