Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Winning the hearts and minds of Democratic leaders

This is one way to win the support of wavering Democratic Congress members:

Dean pushing Democratic Congress
Asks supporters to help influence other key races

By Glen Johnson, Globe Staff, 12/2/2003

Howard Dean has said repeatedly that he would, against the odds, help elect a Democratic Congress to move his agenda if he were elected president next year.

Within the next 24 hours, the former Vermont governor will take the first step to live up to his word. An official said the campaign will send a mass e-mail to Dean's 513,220 registered campaign supporters, asking them to donate immediately to Representative Leonard L. Boswell, an Iowa Democrat who has been targeted for ouster by the Republicans.

The appeal is part of a broader effort by Dean to use his unexpectedly potent fund-raising network to support the campaigns of 19 or 20 congressional candidates. Collectively, their victories would break the Republican grip on both the House and Senate.

Dean is using his influence in a way that demonstrates that he isn't just in this to win for himself but for the party as a whole. If this works (and I think it will) then I think it will win over a lot of converts within the Democratic leadership who have been annoyed at Dean's "abrasive" criticisms. They may not like being called Bush-Lite. But if someone can send them money then they can forgive him a lot.

Of course, as this article notes, this isn't entirely altruistic of Dean. Boswell is an uncommitted Iowa Democrat. Helping him out could go a long way towards persuading him to endorse Dean (or at least not endorse Kerry or Gephardt). But then this just demonstrates the political acumen of the Dean campaign.

Update: Here's the official announcement on the Dean blog.

Update 2: Did I mention that I think this is a brilliant way to address my previous concern about Democrats running away from Dean if he gets the nomination? It will be a lot harder for them to do this if they know that doing so might mean losing out on the Dean bucks.


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