Wednesday, November 08, 2006
The Doctor Is In!
While Rahm Emanuel is claiming credit for what other people did, Howard Dean spells out the full magnitude of the Democratic victory. It wasn't just that the Democrats took back Congress. The Democrats shifted the balance of power in the states, too. Much of the credit goes to Dean's 50-State Strategy, which was derided by the Inside The Beltway Boys and particularly resented by <ahem> Rahm Emanuel because Dr. Dean wasn't just handing the money over for Rahm to control.
Kansas: Our 50-state strategy organizers helped transform the Democratic Party in Kansas under the leadership of Democratic Governor Kathleen Sebelius. Strong leadership from the Democratic Party created a wave of party-switchers -- moderate Republicans fed-up with the right-wing stranglehold on their party. The reinvigorated state party knocked on hundreds of thousands of doors and elected Democrats up and down the ballot, including new Democratic Congresswoman Nancy Boyda in the 2nd Congressional district and new Attorney General Paul Morrison, who beat his opponent by over 134,000 votes. Minnesota: Four DNC field organizers in Minnesota have created an unprecedented field program. Republican Mark Kennedy was supposed to have a lock on the open Senate seat, but with new technology by the DNC and 1.6 million voters contacted, Amy Klobuchar defied expectations and handily won the race after thousands of unlikely voters came to the polls. We're not stopping here -- this work will continue apace as we position our party to take back a Senate seat in 2008. Ohio: Our field organizers in Ohio expanded the state party's infrastructure, making inroads deep into what has long been considered "Bush Country." A DNC-funded field director, four field organizers, and a voter database manager all helped run voter contact operations in parts of the state that hadn't heard from the Democratic Party in years. Take Butler county, for example, where Democratic performance improved by nearly 50% on our 2004 results as we elected a new Democratic Senator, Democratic Governor, Democratic Secretary of State, and more Democrats up and down the ballot. South Dakota: The Democratic Party in South Dakota is now a powerful political operation. In 2002, Democrats recruited only 66 legislative candidates. This year we recruited 90. Democratic Congresswoman Stephanie Herseth was re-elected, and South Dakotans rejected a radical measure that denies the basic right of women, in consultation with their families and doctors, to make their own decisions about their reproductive health. New Hampshire: In this crucial state we re-elected our Democratic governor and picked up House seats. In the course of our work we laid a permanent foundation for the party -- including a research and tracking operation that helped elect Democrats this cycle and will be the foundation of a tracking operation to hold Republican presidential candidates accountable as they crisscross the state. Indiana: Over a year ago, Democrats in Indiana started planning for Election Day. They focused on a strategy that initiated a new media campaign to hold Republicans accountable for their actions, and worked to drive the Democratic message using grassroots support. The state party was able to hire a communications director, and because the executive director no longer had to focus on working with the media, he was able to concentrate on fundraising - raising enough money to hire an organizer to work in the 2nd congressional district, another Democratic pickup, where Democrat Joe Donnelly gained more than 17,000 votes than the Democrat had in 2002. And in other states, Democrats gained new majorities in eight state legislative chambers. We now have majorities in 55 state chambers - the largest shift since 1994.One of those "other states" is Michigan, where the Democrats gained eight house seats to achieve a 58-52 majority and gained seats in the Senate. The Beltway-centric politicians may not be able to see it, but gains at the state, county, and local level are every bit as important as gains in Congress. For one thing, the legislatures will be reapportioning the Congressional districts in 10 years, and when we hang onto these gains we'll be able to undo the "permanent one-party rule" district boundaries. For another, the policies enacted in cities and states often have a greater effect on people's lives than Congressional actions. Howard Dean knew exactly what he was doing. And he was right. (Don't hold your breath waiting for Rahm Emanuel to thank him.)
That's why I like Howard Dean. Clear, rational decision-making at its best. Just what family practice doctors do all day long.
Unlike the surgeon who is no longer in Congress. Surgeons have a very limited and rigid view. That's why their slogan is "when in doubt, cut it out".
And BTW. What was Rahm's job, electing a Dem Congress.
Did it work.
Here's and idea, why don't run for office and we can all talk about what a joke you are.
Let me guess that Anonymous doesn't know a great deal about politics.
For what it's worth, there has been a tension between Democratic careerists and the grassroots for 40 years. It was the grassroots that forced the issue of segregation in Mississippi onto the floor of the 1964 Democratic convention and started Lyndon Johnson onto the track of ending legalized segregation. If it had been up to the careerists, the Democratic Party would still be the political home of racism.
Rahm Emanuel is one more careerist, standing athwart the movement to renew democracy in this country.
The good news is that the Democratic Party is like a weed. It grows around the dead wood.
No reason to get excited about the careerists. Just support the people you like.
I think I'll be sending the governor a check with thanks for the 50-state strategy.
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