Thursday, November 13, 2008

Praising Dean

In the aftermath to the 2006 midterm elections I noted that whatever his failings, Howard Dean deserved credit for helping shape a 50-state strategy that enhanced Democratic competitiveness in a short span of time. With the announcement that Dean is stepping down as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, it is worth recognizing Dean's vision again, as Adam Nagourney does at The Caucus, the politics blog of The New York Times:
As chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Mr. Dean pressed the party to expand its efforts and set up offices in all 50 states, arguing that the party was making a mistake in effectively ceding states to the Republican Party. That position led him into some famously pointed clashes with Representative Rahm Emanuel of Illinois, who at the time headed the Democratic Congressional Campaign, and who was angry that Mr. Dean was not sending money he had raised to help in Democratic efforts to take back Congress.

Dean, who was never as much a man of the left as either his supporters or detractors let themselves believe -- he was a centrist-turned-opportunist -- proved to be a pretty savvy and successful party chair. The Democrats are a legitimate national party again, indeed, are the majority national party again, and while no individual deserves the full credit for the party's reemergence as the dominant political force in the country, Dean deserves a significant amount of the credit.

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