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"America has two great dominant strands of political thought - conservatism, which, at its very best, draws lines that should not be crossed; and progressivism, which, at its very best, breaks down barriers that should never have been erected." -- Bill Clinton, Dedication of the Clinton Presidential Library, November 2004

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Tuesday, November 09, 2004


Turn the DNC Purple

posted by Aziz P. at Tuesday, November 09, 2004 permalink View blog reactions
I have a feeling that Dean is going to make a bid for DNC Chair:

UPDATE: The inevitable Draft Howard petition website has sprung up.

Former presidential candidate Howard Dean is considering a bid to become chairman of the national Democratic Party.
"He told me he was thinking about it," Steve Grossman, himself a former chairman of the Democratic National Committee, said Monday. Grossman was a Dean backer during the former Vermont governor's failed presidential bid."I strongly urged (Dean) to seek the position," he said. "Howard is a voice of political empowerment and that to me is important, for the Democrats to get their sea legs back as quickly as possible, to get beyond the disappointment of the last week and to believe there is a bright future ahead for the Democratic Party."

Dean has been outspoken since the beginning of his presidential bid in saying that the Democratic Party must establish a separate and unique identity from Republicans.

Grossman said that if Dean were to run for DNC chair, he would need to pledge that he would serve the full four-year term, thus ruling out a presidential bid in 2008.

Dean as head the DNC would be a strong move in favor of more Purple-based politics, in my opinio. The reason is that Dean was the first, and remained the only, candidate to articulate the idea that the Democrats should not concede the South. Re-orienting the Democratic Party towards a truly national one, rather than trying to cherry-pick a majority of selected regions, is essential towards changing the RedBlue political culture. At the very least, it would force the Republicans to compete on the issues in Red States, which would introduce more dimensions to the political dialouge than just "god, gays, and guns" - and I am not just talking about economic appeals. Rather, the opportunity for a morality-guided domestic policy, with regard to charity, social works, and a true culture of life (more on that soon...).

The important thing is to try to move away from the same old GOTV arms race paradigm and to try to craft a geniunely national platform.

There is a political benefit as well. The various factions within the Democratic party - the DLC, the Clintonistas, the Kennedy Clan, etc - all were united against Dean. In Kerry, they had the chance to finally unite and present their conscensus candidate (selected through the front-loaded primary schedule that McAuliffe, a Clintonista, crafted precisely for the purpose of a rapid selection). Kerry's failure has essentially bankrupted their political capital. Dean represents a bold change and in remains the Democrats' sole success story (with regard to transformative politics). As chairman, he would actually have a mandate of sorts, to try new strategies and stymie the firmly-inside-the-box inertia thinking of the old guard. After all,m he can simply say, "you torpedoed me, and you got your way - and you failed. Now its time to try it my way." That kind of freedom is almost comparable to that of, say, an incumbent President freed from the worries of re-election.

ADDENDUM: Steve Grossman is a former chairman of AIPAC, who seemed to be a turncoat during the Dean campaign's waning hours, but is someone who still has Dean's trust and therefore deserves benefit of the doubt.

UPDATE: Liberal Oasis disagrees, arguing that Dean should instead seek to be a Bill Kristol-inspired Strategist and Ass-Kicker At Large (SAKAL). It's an intriguing idea, but why wouldn't Dean's arguments be any less distorted if he were the SAKAL rather than the DNC Chair, by the right-wing smear machine?


I have switched the comment system to Blogger's built-in one. Note that the daily open threads remain pop-up via Haloscan. Lets see how this works..

I've baswically added this comment to test how it works and for some fine-tuning. At present, anyone can comment, but I can enable comment registration at will if we have a troll infestation. I encourage people to register with Blogger - and if you do, to start a blog! I will link to Dean Nation regulars in a dedicated blogroll if you choose to do so.


Yes. The post-election maps of "purple America" show that there really is an 'us' there and not so much divisiveness as the neo-cons would have us believe. But where are the millions who could have but did not vote? They still didn't see enough of a change between parties that rule to get out there. The Democratic Party must stop being re-active, become pro-active and not 'neo-con-lite'.

Howard Dean's run at being Democratic National Chair would be a good thing. The Democratic party needs to become the "SOLUTIONS" party, the pro-jobs, pro-environmental conservation, pro-fiscal responsibility,
pro-human rights, pro-international cooperation, pro-peace, pro-nuclear disarmament, pro-healthcare for all, etc. with workable plans that can get through debate in Congress.
Come to terms with the grassroots energy that rose up in the past 4 years, much of which (including Dean campaign) was OUTSIDE DNC party mainstream, and take some pages from the Green Party book, in fact, try to
work with the Greens to create grassroots power.

Get away from DemocraticLeadershipCouncil centrists.
They are elitist and too big-business oriented. Be the
common person's party. Uphold the "moral values" and take care of the least among us, the poor, the sick, homeless, elderly, children. Do not allow preemptive war and crimes against humanity in the name of USA citizens.

I think maybe Howard can take the Democratic Party in that direction, but he will need a coalition of others to back up the notion.


I like the "solutions" theme. That makes for a very simple, yet descriptive, label for the party's purpose.


For what its worth when Howard Dean decided to debate Bob Dole at my school of Ohio State, afterwards I was standing close to him when one of my more poltical astute friends told him he should become the DNc chair. And Dean said "That would be a terrible job."

So essentially I believe he will not take the job unless he sees that it will go to someone who will be completly hostile to his view of where the Democratic Party should go. In that case he would run not just to win but to show the strenght that his ideas have in the party.


Just testing to see if my blogger account is working...

And bason on a comment in one of the open threads, I don'y think Dean will try for the DNC chair, for reasons already stated.

on the other hand - one major advantage of this move for Dean would be that "democrats" would no longer able to let cheap shots at Dean by pundits pass without defending them.


On one hand, I think Dean running the DNC would be a great way for the Democratic Party to move towards the way he leads, which is really about empowering people. It would probably also encourage Deaniacs sitting on the fence to really commit themselves to improving the Democratic Party rather than abandoning it and working to build, say, the Green Party.

Of course, my initial emotional response is "No! I want Dean to run in 2008!" I just don't like the idea of Dean essentially pledging not to run in '08. Would the country really have him? I still believe if enough people heard Dean talk about the issues without being wildly distorted by the mass media, he would have a great chance of being elected. We don't know what will happen in the next 4 years.... perhaps as the Bush administration drags us further down the path of no return, Dean's current baggage will look awfully light.

Still, the DNC job may be a smart move -- being chair of DNC would give him a lot more clout nationally for the next four years and allow him to use and retool the mechanisms and already considerable influence that the party already has. I would really rather see Dean as an out-front leader than a behind-the-scenes guy, though.


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About Nation-Building

Nation-Building was founded by Aziz Poonawalla in August 2002 under the name Dean Nation. Dean Nation was the very first weblog devoted to a presidential candidate, Howard Dean, and became the vanguard of the Dean netroot phenomenon, raising over $40,000 for the Dean campaign, pioneering the use of Meetup, and enjoying the attention of the campaign itself, with Joe Trippi a regular reader (and sometime commentor). Howard Dean himself even left a comment once. Dean Nation was a group weblog effort and counts among its alumni many of the progressive blogsphere's leading talent including Jerome Armstrong, Matthew Yglesias, and Ezra Klein. After the election in 2004, the blog refocused onto the theme of "purple politics", formally changing its name to Nation-Building in June 2006. The primary focus of the blog is on articulating purple-state policy at home and pragmatic liberal interventionism abroad.