May 11, 2006


Democrats Are Fractured Over Strategy, Funds (Thomas B. Edsall, May 11, 2006, Washington Post )

Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean and the leader of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee have clashed angrily in recent days in a dispute about how the party should spend its money in advance of this fall's midterm elections.

Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who is leading the party's effort to regain majority status in the House, stormed out of Dean's office several days ago leaving a trail of expletives, according to Democrats familiar with the session.

The blowup highlights a long-standing tension that has pitted Democratic congressional leaders, who are focused on their best opportunities for electoral gains this fall, against Dean and many state party chairmen, who believe that the party needs to be rebuilt from the ground up -- even in states that have traditionally been Republican strongholds.

Emanuel's fury, Democratic officials said, was over his concern that Dean's DNC is spending its money too freely and too early in the election cycle -- a "burn rate" that some strategists fear will leave the party unable to help candidates compete on equal terms with Republicans this fall.

The money and which races they spend it in doesn't matter unless they move the Party back as far Right as Bill Clinton had it in '92 and '96. Making Mr. Dean the chair was calculated to prevent that from happening.

Posted by Orrin Judd at May 11, 2006 8:21 AM

Howard Dean was in NC last weekend, visiting minority communities and appearing at a fund-raiser.

Dean says he is trying to rebuild the party from the ground up, but all he does is reach out to the left. He is rounding up all the usual suspects (the Bush-hating anti-war left, the poverty pimps, the limousine liberals, the lefty media, Hollywood, etc.) and trying to pump them up. He isn't doing what Ken Mehlman has done, because Howard Dean is not going to go to the First Baptist Church in anywhere USA and talk to "white Christians". He despises "white Christians".

Now, Rahm Emanuel & Pelosi & Reid & Schumer may despise "white Christians", too, but they want their votes. That's why Bob Casey and Tammi Duckworth are candidates this fall. But the masquerade can't last (i.e., Casey is slipping in the polls and has done terribly in his Democratic debates). Paul Hackett (in OH) is a good example of this tension - the Deaniacs thought he was the savior, but the party machinery dumped on him because they knew his freaky statements about under-taxation were repulsive. That sort of thing is tolerable from John Conyers or Charlie Rangel because they have seats for life. But to win in a competitive race, you can't run Markos Moulitsas or Oliver Willis.

The Democrats should be thankful that the GOP isn't running strong candidates for the Senate races in NE and ND. Otherwise, 60 seats might just be a reality. My guess is the GOP wins in NJ, MN, possibly WA and MI, and keeps the seats in PA and MO. Only MT and RI are probable losses, and Burns could turn it around. Chafee can go live in Europe.

Are reporters still asking Dean about Harry Reid's Abramoff money? I thought that was why Howlin' Howard stopped appearing on TV.

Posted by: jim hamlen at May 11, 2006 9:26 AM

Emanuel is basically operating under the idea that is doesn't matter is you win the game 17-1 or 2-1, it still counts the same in the standings. He (and Hillary in 2008) and to focus on the swing states and districts where they think Democrats (and the missus two years from now) can win, while Dean and his people have some grandiose idea that that can remake the party, spread their ideology far and wide and people will come 'a runnin'.

Dean's strategy is actually a little more straightforward, but dumb, given that what he and his folks support and what the majority of the population believes are at odds. But the Deaniacs/Kos Kids/DU types spend so much time talking to themselves on the Internet they think they're riding a tidal wave of popular support. Folks like Rahm or Hillary are willing to modify and/or disguise their beliefs in key target areas, in hopes of turning a few thousand votes here and there in key Congressional districts (or in Ohio in '08), in order to regain control of the legislative and executive branches. The fact the Howard doesn't want to work around the edges explains Emanuel's X-rated tirade while leaving the DNC office.

Posted by: John at May 11, 2006 9:51 AM