Start at the beginning
Howard Dean has announced his list of the "Dean Dozen", "twelve diverse candidates that represent the spirit of grassroots democracy" that Dean and his organization will work to get elected this year.
What struck me most about this list is that only three of the twelve are national level candidates (two congressional seats and one Senator). Typically, national groups like DfA, when they sponsor candidates, put a lot of attention on people vying for a position in Washington. Dean, by focusing his considerable political muscle on nine state level races, is demonstrating that he he is just as interested in rebuilding the Democratic party from the lowest levels of elective office.
Good thing to. The Republican revolution started in much the same way by focusing on city council and school board races and working their way up. Too many progressives have an "all or nothing" approach to politics. They go right for the big prize (ala Nader and the Presidency) instead of building a groundswell that will carry Democrats into all levels of government. After all, the main thing the President does is set an agenda. It is the ground-level functionaries who will actually have to flesh it out and implement it. That is where the real work gets done.
20 years from now you can examine any list of the most prominent and up-n-coming Democrats and I bet you will find a considerable number of them cut their teeth on the Dean campaign.
From little seeds great forests grow.