The care and feeding of volunteers
On one of the many Dean mailing lists I belong to someone posted a comment about how political campaigns need experienced political creatives (people who can think up great ideas for advancing the campaign) as well as the base of enthusiastic but inexperienced volunteers. He commented that "it can be a challenge to get both groups to see the value of each other, but it is a real winning combination when it happens."
The thing that annoys me is when I read stories that suggest that, because volunteers are amateurs, they don't have anything positive to contribute to the campaign. They are looked down for their apparent naivete about what can and cannot be done in a political campaign.
The Dean campaign is the first that I am aware of that seems to fully appreciate the importance of grassroots energy. All the great campaign ideas in the world wouldn't be worth shit if they didn't have the raw material of a passionate base to make them a reality.
Think of the Sleepless Summer Tour. The idea of the Tour was a great one in and of itself: highlight the laziness of George W. Bush by running an intense, multi-day, multi-state rally at the same time Dubya is sleeping in Crawford. But if Dean didn't have the 5000+ crowds coming to those rallies they would have been an asterisks on the political landscape. What brought those people there? The feeling that if they came they would actually be appreciated for their efforts.
The Bush and Rove know how to feed their base. Dean and Trippi know how to feed us. That alone makes me confident that Dean can beat Dubya.