Monday, November 15, 2004

Dean vs. Anybody-But-Dean

I still caution people not to get dragged into a "let's you and him fight" trap laid by those who would love nothing more than for the Democrats to fight more amongst themselves than against the real enemy, but this post by Kos suggests that there is a real battle-line being drawn in the fight over the DNC chair position.

I always, always laugh when I hear one of these insiders talk about the "disaster" that a Dean chairmanship would wreak on the party.

I mean, disaster compared to what? Being shut out from all levers of government? From the White House, Supreme Court, House, Senate, majority of governorships and majority of state legislatures?

How about the disaster of three straight losing election cycles? That's not a freakin' disaster?

Dean means reform. Simon Rosenberg means reform. There are probably other dark horse candidates out there who would mean reform.

And that's what we need. Reform, not status quo. The status quo is untenable. I'm tired of losing, and that's the only thing the current gang has delivered.

The battle seems to be shaping up to a fight between Dean and Vilsack, but really they are just stand-ins for a bigger battle: grassroots reform driven by a real desire to win against entrenched power with a real desire to protect what little power it still has.

Fortunately for the Dean forces, the forces on the other side appear to be adopting the same strategy they had during the 2004 election. Then it was Anybody-But-Bush. Here it is Anybody-But-Dean. The question is whether a campaign that is primarily driven by a desire to halt progress is more powerful than a campaign that is all about progress.

Kos points out that the Dean forces have a lot of powerful arguments to make on their side. And, ironically, those arguments are also primarily negative: why should we continue to support a power structure that has consistently failed us for the last 10 years?

Kos also points out that the Anybody-But-Dean forces are adopting the same strategy of the Bushies: demonize the opposition by distorting their position to the extreme. Dean is not the candidate of leftists. He is the candidate of Democrats who want Democrats to act like winners.

And all this before we even get any definitive word that Dean is interested in the job.


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