Friday, May 14, 2004

Dean Machine

On a related note to the previous discussion of Dean's "peculiar" political endorsements...

I think it is important to understand that Dean is a long-term strategist. He isn't thinking just about this years election but about what is going to happen in 2020. He seems to understand, at a gut-level, something that many in the Democratic establishment just never got: that the Republicans achieved power through a long-term strategy of taking over the country piece by piece and that defeating them will require a similar movement in response.

Also, there is a fundamental disconnect between the way politics is presented in this country by the media and the way it actually operators. The media focuses our attention on The Candidate to the point where the casual viewer comes to think that all that you need to do is get to know The Candidate and you will understand what they are going to do once they get in office.

But, we don't elect people in this country. We elect machines. We elect the organizations that back The Candidate because it is those organizations that will supply the mid-level administrators who will actually run the country.

Perhaps one of the reasons why Dean ultimately failed in his bid for the nomination is that he had no machine to back him up. He was just one guy standing on a podium asking questions in a loud voice. But when it came down to it, many people just didn't know what they would be getting if they put their support behind a Dean administration because they didn't know who would be in that administration.

Democracy For America may be Dean's attempt to build the machine that he was lacking in 2000. In 10-20 years that machine could provide him, or someone else if he chooses not to run again, with the organization he will need to convince people that he isn't just a hothead.

I, for one, hope he pulls it off.


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