Wednesday :: Jan 12, 2005

Howard Dean--A Dissenting View


by rayman

Yesterday's long-expected announcement by Howard Dean that he is running for DNC chair has been met with widespread approval among liberal bloggers, even erstwhile detractors. However, I'd like to lay out an argument as to why Dean isn't the right person for the job. Let me state at the outset that my objection to Dean is not based on the fact that he's supposedly "too liberal." Politically, I'm more liberal than Dean on many issues (as are many of you), so this is irrelevant as far as I'm concerned. Also, as Kos and others correctly point out, the battle within the Democratic party isn't between ideological camps, but between reformers and the status quo.

Having said that, as much as I respect Dean, and hope that he continues to assume a prominent role within the party, I do not feel that he's the right person for the job. Specifically, whether we like it or not, Dean has made many enemies within the Democratic Party throughout the past two years. Admittedly, much of this antipathy isn't his fault, but rather the result of Beltway Democrats with a vested interest in protecting the ancien regime, no matter how many elections we lose. However, Dean himself picked many of these battles with establishment Democrats during his primary campaign. Even though I agreed with the substance of his criticisms, it's impossible to ignore the ill-will and mistrust that he engenders within certain sectors of the party.

Between now and the 2006 midterms, it is imperative that the party remains united in its opposition to various administration policies. So far, I've been impressed with the amount of solidarity. However, I simply don't think someone as divisive and controversial within the party as Dean can maintain this united front in the crucial months ahead. Again, this may or may not be his fault, but it's an unavoidable factor.

However, I also feel the election of Tim Roemer would be unwise for this very same reason. Although I mentioned above that the primary battle within the Democratic party isn't about ideology, it's impossible to ignore the fact that, on certain key issues, such as Social Security, Roemer is to the right of even the DLC, which is a significant problem. Although Roemer comes from the opposite side of the intra-party spectrum than Dean, I'm similarly unconvinced that he'd be able (or even willing) to maintain party unity and discipline as DNC chair.

In my opinion, therefore, the best person for the job is Simon Rosenberg. Rosenberg is firmly within the reform camp, and will be an effective spokesman for the party. However, Rosenberg doesn't carry the same kind of baggage that Dean and Roemer have accumulated, which is definitely a plus. Certainly, Rosenberg doesn't carry the same charisma as Dean, but I think his ability to get things done behind the scenes more than makes up for this drawback. Anyway, I'm interested in reading other people's opinions on the state of the race for DNC chair.

rayman :: 10:11 AM :: Comments (33) :: Digg It!