DNC, 50 State Strategy Update

by: Chris Bowers

Wed Jan 21, 2009 at 09:42

Another story we have been following on Open Left is the fate of the fifty-state strategy now that Howard Dean will no longer be DNC Chair. During the festivities here in D.C., I ran into a source close to the transition at the DNC who was able to provide an update on the new outlines of the DNC strategy, which does diverge from the current form of the fifty-state strategy in multiple ways:

  1. Increasing Centralization: The shift in resources away from paid media and toward on the ground organizers will continue. However, these resources will be more directly controlled by the DNC itself, rather than by state parties. In other words, the SPP program where the DNC pays for organizers chosen by the state parties themselves is, as previously reported, done. Instead, the DNC will likely hire and assign organizers themselves. State party grants will also likely be transformed into more centrally directed expenditures by the DNC.

  2. More swing state, less fifty-state: Many, if not most, states will have more resources spent on them during the next four years than during the previous four years. In addition to increasingly centralized control over how these resources are spent, there will also be a return to a swing-state focus for 2012. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Obama campaign's version of a swing state strategy was broader than either the Gore or Kerry incarnations.
In short, the DNC will be moving away from the long-term, decentralized, fifty-state strategy of Howard Dean's tenure, and toward serving as a short-term, centralized re-election effort for President Obama in 2012.  It will continue the move away from paid media ushered in by Howard Dean, maintain or increase the amount of resource expenditures in most states, and the number of states it targets will be a broader effort than the narrow focus we saw in 2001-2004 (but more narrow than 2005-2008). However, it will return to the traditional role of the DNC as a supplement for the sitting President's re-election campaign, rather than as the long-term, localized institution building operation that is was from 2005-2008.

The fifty-state strategy of 2005-2008 is going to be replaced with the "re-elect President Obama" strategy of 2009-2012. Both have their advantages, but I still consider firing the 200 state party organizers a real blow to the long-term development of local Democratic Party talent and infrastructure.

Chris Bowers :: DNC, 50 State Strategy Update

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I agree with the overall sentiment ... (4.00 / 1)
The fifty-state strategy of 2005-2008 is going to be replaced with the "re-elect President Obama" strategy of 2009-2012. Both have their advantages, but I still consider firing the 200 state party organizers a real blow to the long-term development of local Democratic Party talent and infrastructure.

Barack Obama will not necessarily need the entire DNC focused on getting him relected so fast - Obama will help his own effort immensly with his performance in office.

I suspect that they are attempting to rather use Obama as a pivot for local, House, and Senate election/reelection bids.

So, the overall Democratic strategy seems to rest entirely on Obama.

Again, depends on his performance.

In Short, Predictable Suckage (4.00 / 3)
"If it ain't broke, don't fix it" is one conservative nostrum that I wouldn't mind Obama believing in.

No such luck.

"You know what they say -- those of us who fail history... doomed to repeat it in summer school." -- Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Season 6, Episode 3

Missed opportunities (4.00 / 6)
In the short term, the greatest opportuniites are not in swing states.  California is the biggest opportunity in 2010 and it sure isn't a swing state.  In the longer term, the staleness of the California Democratic Party and the continuous nature that referenda and initiatives (either as a campaign or once passed) dominate and choke local and state government. This is possibly the highest priority for the Democratic Party nationally.  Republicans, after all, control 19 California House seats and the maps deceive.  Most hinge on the big population centers of Los Angeles and Orange counties and not the hinterlands (look at Buck McKeon's CA-25 as an example).

Is there any other state where Democrats could conceivably, in the wildest stretch of the imagination pick up ten House seats?  Is there any other state which, if lost, would make Democratic chances for the Presidency so difficult?  

Obama's re-election is a one-time, one-shot deal that will mostly hinge on his performance.  The party, otoh, has lasted over 200 years.  This is short-sighted, selfish, and exactly what I expected.

[ Parent ]
on the other hand (4.00 / 1)
I think we have to seriously ask why the huge Democratic party in California would expect the DNC to fix their problems.  Then we'd have to ask how the DNC would do so.  I can't imagine that adding four organizers would matter at all statewide -- and if it did, California could certainly afford them -- though I do suppose if they were told to focus on your ten districts that might do something.  

New Jersey politics at Blue Jersey.

[ Parent ]
10 house seats would never happen in CA (0.00 / 0)
I think there are two issues here, the centralization of the effort and the targeting of the effort. Especially in the case of California, centralization would make a lot of sense. Even with Kaine as Chair, I think it would be far easier to get people fired up about a DNC project than CDP.

As for targeting, I would far prefer 50 state, next best would be fill in the gaps 50 state, next best would be targeting senate and house seats not picked up the last two years, and the worst targeting I can imagine is just focusing on swing states, even Obama's list.

On twitter: @BobBrigham

[ Parent ]
Never? Compare with NY (0.00 / 0)
NY 1994 16 D, 15 R
NY 2008 26 D,  3 R

CA 1994 26 D, 26 R
CA 2008 34 D, 19 R

More than 10 California Republicans scored under 50% (I think it was 13 otr 14).  Ten seats wouldn't happen in one cycle but it might in three or four.  Is this optimistic? Yes.  But the demographic trends are working strongly in our favor.  As the percentage of white voters starts to mirror the percentage of whites in the population the anti-immigrant GOP becomes dead meat.

In two cycles where the number of GOP House members nationally dropped by 24% the number in California dropped by 5%.  That's under performing but also room for big gains.

[ Parent ]
Red state blues (4.00 / 4)
And just when we were getting started, too. Unless Obama turns out to be the Second Coming, this will set AZ back at least eight years. First he takes our governor, then he cuts us off. No more money for the DNC from me. Think globally, act locally, etc.

[ Parent ]
It depends on where you are. Here in Jersey (4.00 / 4)
the party sucks so taking resources away from the hacks and putting it under DNC central control is not necessarily a bad thing.  

[ Parent ]
Exactly what I was thinking... (4.00 / 6)
There are some benefits to putting the organizers and resources under the control of the DNC, particularly in states where internal party politics of the state parties hamper organizers' abilities significantly.

Further Reading

[ Parent ]
yeah .. and PA is another ... (4.00 / 2)
I wonder how much Bowers has been able to change things .. hopefully he'll give us an update on it .. because the Democratic Party in PA is not as strong as it could or should be

[ Parent ]
Empowering progressives, not hacks.. (0.00 / 0)
Yes, the pitfall of Dean's strategy is that it was dependent on the current Democratic Party structure in the states, many of which are dominated by corrupt hacks (for example, posterchild Rod Blagojevich). If the DNC does a good job, then they might be able to circumvent the hacks and make good things happen. On the other hand, they may just end up with a centralized process that is as bad as the old days.

Somehow, the process needs to be responsive to large numbers of goodhearted activists at the local level instead of to the money/power-grubbing hacks. Is there a way to do this?

[ Parent ]
Yes the way to do this is to have all members of the party (4.00 / 2)
pay nominal dues and allow all members to vote on positions. That is how you create a members organization but that is not what the Dems want. They want us to be their ATM.

[ Parent ]
You make a good point about NJ (0.00 / 0)
but there has to be another way to accomplish the goal of improvements in the party that doesn't include killing the golden goose that was the 50 State Strategy.

[ Parent ]
The only way to accomplish the real goals of the grass roots (0.00 / 0)
is to democratize the party and I don't see that happening anytime soon.

[ Parent ]
I'm glad I stopped my monthly contribution to the DNC. (4.00 / 3)
Dean made me believe in the DNC, Kaine, not-so-much.

Dean's fifty-state strategy helped Democratic candidates overall and the party in particular. It put pressure on all the down ticket Republicans.

While getting Obama re-elected is a worthy goal. As an exclusive goal it sucks.

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." - Mark Twain

What's going on with Dean? (4.00 / 2)
I am completely confused about his role in the primary and why he was left out of the administration.  I saw him in an interview recently and he was asked point blank why he didn't have a job with the admin.  He didn't answer, of course, and was gracious in saying he was happy with the past four years and that he had accomplished what he wanted to do.  But I though I saw a look of pain and embarrassment there.

What happened?

[ Parent ]
it is prety clear he got thrown under the bus (4.00 / 2)
the big question is was it Obama's idea on his own or was it the price of party unity with the hacks. Personally if you ask me either one sucks and points to why we have to keep the pressure on Obama to do the right thing

[ Parent ]
Post-Partisan (4.00 / 2)
means letting Republicans win. Dean busted his ass to get us all these seats and now we're handing them back

but the grass roots elect the head of the dnc (0.00 / 0)
so why couldn't we do it this time?

My blog  

Because That's Not Actually How the DNC Works (4.00 / 4)
2004 was an anomaly.

This year, it was business as usual with the DNC leadership posts.  

[ Parent ]
Neither of these are satisfactory answers (0.00 / 0)
it is just "because I said so!"  No explanation what so ever.

My blog  

[ Parent ]
because there is nothing democratic about how the (4.00 / 2)
democratic party functions.

[ Parent ]
It just makes no fucking sense. (4.00 / 1)
200 positions is peanuts compared to the funds expended in modern elections. These people aren't making six figures, you're paying them next to nothing (relatively speaking) and have them spread all around the country.

It should be the bare minimum baseline you'd expect from a forward looking party.

Just complete, absolute idiocy. The Obama network might mitigate this loss for four or eight years, maybe, but after that then what?

Piss poor decision making imho.  

Ugh (4.00 / 4)
I'm so crestfallen.  I'm effing sick of national party leaders putting their personal interests ahead of that of the Democratic party and the Democratic Party.  

Let this be the final statement to all of you who bought the "community organizer" crap from Barack Obama.  It was all a rhetorical ruse, an image to cast.  There is nothing 'organizing' about his DNC strategy, nor really was there in the campaign.  

Here in Wisconsin, I fear for the governorship, state senate majority, and state assembly majority that we won because of the 50SS and the SPP most particularly.  And I feel for the undeveloped leaders that we will never have because DNC staffers are going to be fluffing Obama and not developing party organizations.

Supporting Democrats is a serious political disorder (0.00 / 0)
Supporting Democrats is a serious political disorder, like alcoholism or returning again & again to an abusive spouse who repeatedly lies to you. It's easy to fall off the wagon, to make excuses & rationalizations for it.

Even many whose views are developed enough to recognize such truths as the fundamental rottenness of the 2-party system & the complicity of Democrats in all of the Republicans' major crimes, are still unable to draw the logical consequences of these insights. (Those so naive that they still conceive of Democrats as being the "opponents" of Republicans are another case altogether.)

The central point is this: capitalist society permits the Democrats to be one of the 2 allowed parties for a very definite reason. It's not because the Democrats "serve the people." It's because in a subtle but effective way, they help the capitalists keep the populace under control by providing them with the illusion of possible change. TPTB don't want the people "served." They want them managed, or controlled.

It is the job, the central social function of the Democrats to always be dangling before the people's noses vague pseudo-hints of possible change, so as to keep them from bolting from bourgeois politics altogether. It is the Democrats' intention to never deliver meaningful change, but rather to keep dangling hints of it alluringly forever. This produces control -- a populace habituated to remain safely within the lines required by ruling class interests.

This is why the Democrats NEVER paint a picture of US history that's the slightest bit accurate -- they want a brainwashed population every bit as much as the Republicans do. This is why they NEVER are willing to set forth an honest socioeconomic analysis of why things are as they are -- they much prefer that people not understand such things.

As long as a large chunk of voters can be deceived by the seemingly "nicer guy" act of the Democrats, there is no hope whatever of coming to grips with the core problems of our society. The most dangerous trends -- a wasteful consumer society, environmental destruction, grotesque social inequality, and an uncontrollable propaganda/war machine -- cannot even be approached within the framework of bourgeois politics, because they all serve ruling class interests. This is what is really being protected, when people opt to support Democrats just because they seem less blatantly cruel on TV.  

Imprecision is a sin (4.00 / 1)
By 'The Democrats' who do you mean? Certainly not all of them.  Your own framing of the issue implies that plenty of democrats are people with good intentions who have been tricked into supporting a fundamentally oppresive party.

So which one's?  I ask because I think that a far more reasonable way to think about the Democratic party is as an institution constantly being fought over.  One party to that fight approaches politics in exactly the way you say they do.  They are fundamentally committed to capitalism and conceptualize aid to the poor and middle class as nothing more than steps to help maintain the stability of the markets.  But there are other parties to this fight.  Do you really think Feingold, Sanders and Kucinich are trying to trick people into accepting 1800's style capitalism?  No.  There are political struggles within the democratic party that are constantly going on, and that make it impossible to say that 'The Democrats' mean, intend or do anything as a collective.

And the fact remains that as an institution the Democratic party remains the best vehicle there is for bringing progressive/populist pressure on the government.  There is no left wing group that has anything like the organization, resources, strength of branding (to use a term I hate), or numbers of people that the Democratic party has.  I agree that for most of the 1990's it was the conservative cynical wing of the party that was in charge.  And Obama is only slightly better.  But that doesn't mean the party is a lost cause.

Or that you can get away talking about politics at that level of generality and vagueness.

[ Parent ]
You are clueless as to the Democrats function (0.00 / 1)
Aside from your petty discussion about one's "imprecision", one of the dumbest arguments I've ever seen in an internet discussion about politics, it is also painfully obvious that you have absolutely zero political acumen or understanding of American political history. Your "insight" falls to the level of high school civics textbook meanderings at it's worst. This is no doubt why you have to resort to such idiotic statements about one's "imprecision" when it's painfully obvious I am talking about the Democratic Party Apparatus. I'll use all capital letters for you so you don't get confused.

Of course you don't wish to debate the points on any foundational position because, like the Democrats, you are totally bankrupt of any ideas.

So once again let us leave Never-Never Land and examine The Very Real and Duplicitous Function of the Democratic Party in the American Political System:

The Democratic Party plays an indispensable role in society's political machinery. This doesn't mean it has any power, in terms of controlling the state or setting policy. It means that without the existence of the Dem Party, the US could no longer maintain the pretense that it's a "democracy." If the Dem Party disintegrated, the US would be revealed for what it really is -- a one-party state ruled by a narrow alliance of business interests.

In terms of defending the general population against the depredations of this business consortium, the Dem Party gave up the ghost in the mid-1960's. Their threadbare act as the "Party of the People" serves not to defend the well-being of the population, but merely to persuade ordinary citizens that within the official political system's framework, there's at least some faint hope for eventual progressive change. Their focus is not so much being on our side, as convincing us that they're on our side -- without the slightest serious examination of what that might entail.

The party's true function is thus largely theatrical. It doesn't exist to fight for change, but only to pose as a force which one fine distant day might possibly bestir itself to fight for change. Thus the whole magic of the Dem Party -- the essential service it renders to the US power structure -- lies not in what it does, but in its mere existence: by simply existing, and doing nothing, it pretends to be something it's not; and this is enough to relieve despair & to let the system portray itself as a "democracy."

As long as the Dem Party exists, most Americans will believe we have a "democracy" and a "choice" in how we are ruled. They will not despair, and will not revolt, as long as they have this hope for "change within the system." From the system's point of view, this mechanism serves as the ultimate safety valve -- it insures against a despairing populace, thus eliminates the threat of rebellion; yet guarantees that no serious change to the system will be mounted, because the Dems weren't designed to play that role in the first place.

Aren't the Dems The Lesser Evil?

The Democrats are not the "lesser evil;" they are an auxiliary subdivision of the same evil. To understand the political system, one must step back and regard its operation as an integrated whole. The system can't be properly understood if one's study of it begins with an uncritical acceptance of the 2-party system, and the conventional characterizations of the two parties. (Indeed, the fact that society encourages one to view it in this latter way, is perhaps a warning that this perspective should not be trusted.)

Any given piece of reactionary legislation is invariably supported by a higher percentage of Republicans than Democrats. Does this show that the Democrats are "less evil?" If one focuses on the noble efforts of the few outspoken dissenters, it's easy to feel that the Democrats are somewhat less evil. But in the larger picture, Democrats invariably submit to what Republicans more ardently promulgate, & the entire range of official opinion thereby shifts to the right. Thus the overall function of Democrats is not so much to fight, as to quasi-passively participate in this ever-rightward-moving process. Just as the Harlem Globetrotters need their Washington Generals to make their basketball games properly entertaining, Republicans need the Democrats for effective staging of the political show.

The Democrats are permitted to exist because their vague hint of eventual progressive change keeps large numbers of people from bolting the political system altogether. Emma Goldman once said, "If voting made a difference, it would be illegal." Similarly, if the Democrats potentially threatened any sort of serious change, they would be banned. The fact that they are fully accepted by the corporations and political establishment tells us at once that their ultimate function must be wholly in line with the interests of those ruling groups.

Doesn't the presence of the Dennis Kuciniches, Cynthia McKinneys, et al "prove" that the Democrats are progressive? No. The Kuciniches and McKinneys are indeed significantly different from the Hillary types -- but there are compelling reasons not to get too excited about them, either. First, they are used by the party as a "Left decoration," simply to keep potential left defectors in tow. Secondly, the party power brokers will NEVER in a million years let the Kucinich-McKinney faction have any real power.

In other words, the very modestly-sized progressive Dem faction is cynically used as a marketing tool by the national party. They are dangled before your eyes to make you think that the Dems are the "lesser evil" (since the Republicans offer no such Left decorations). The existence of a few decent Dems makes no real difference in the overall alignment of the party, and they will never be internally influential. They are a distraction.

Can Progressives "Take Over" the Dem Party?

The argument is often advanced by progressives that they might be able to "take over" the Dem Party just as the Republican Party was supposedly "taken over" by the Religious Right and neoconservatives. This is wishful thinking, and ignores the actual history and character of both parties.

The Republicans were always the party of Wall Street & Northern manufacturing. The Democrats were the party of the Southern slaveocracy. When the national Democrats defied southern racism by passing the Civil Rights Acts in the mid '60's, the southern states bolted, destroying the New Deal coalition. The Republicans profited from this by adapting to southern tastes, values, & religious/cultural conceptions.

But this was in no way out of character for the Republicans. The far right was able to take over the Republican Party because that kind of alliance was always very much in the nature of the Republican Party anyway. It was compatible with, not contradictory to, the big-business nature of the Republican party. Forming an alliance with fascists, racists & religious zealots ADVANCED the big-business agenda.

By contrast, for progressives to take over the Democrats would be an unprecedented departure from the party's character. To understand this, one must first recognize that the sole Dem claim to being progressive is rooted almost entirely in the New Deal, itself a response to a unique crisis in American history. FDR recognized that to avert the very real threat of massive social unrest and instability, significant concessions had to be made to the working class by the ruling class. Government could act to defend the weak, and to some extent to rein in the strong, but this was all in the longterm interests of defending the existing social order.

Before FDR, the Dem Party had no progressive record whatsoever; and after FDR, though the New Deal coalition survived until the mid-1960's, it did so with a record of achievement that was restrained compared to the 1930's. After passing Medicare in 1965 the party reverted to its longterm pattern, and since then, there has again been no progressive record to speak of. The party's progressive social reform was thus concentrated mostly in the 1930's, with some residual momentum lasting until the mid 60's. The party's "progressive period" was thus 1) an exception to the longer term pattern; 2) a response to a unique crisis; and 3) has in any case been dead for over 40 years.

The word "progressive" refers to the commitment of a political party to defend the interests of the working class (aka the overwhelming majority of the population) against the depredations of the ruling elite. Not only is the Democratic Party unable and unwilling to engage in such a fight, it is unwilling even to pronounce the fight's name -- "class warfare." Marx is understandably reviled by capitalists for his annoyingly accurate perception that the capitalist class and the rest of the population have a fundamental conflict of interest. Capital seeks only to maximize its return; return can certainly be enhanced by using the machinery of state to transfer costs and burdens to the weak and vulnerable; thus rule by capital is intrinsically inimical to the basic interests of the majority of the population. There is no escaping this reality.

American public discourse attempts to paper over this vexing truth with fatuous happy talk, such as, "By working together, we can make make things better for everyone!" This is a lie. When capital controls government, government is no more than a tool used by elites to enrich themselves at the expense of everyone else. This kind of arrangement cannot possibly "make all boats rise" over the long term. Only the yachts will rise. If there is no political mechanism for opposing plutocratic rule, the strong will continue to squeeze additional wealth out of the weak until a) the weak become desperate and rebel, b) the weak are crushed and become permanently enslaved, or c) the strong begin suffering more from guilty consciences, than reaping enjoyment from additional wealth -- and therefore relent. (Very few instances of this last are known in recorded history.)

For the Democratic Party to even begin to serve as a vehicle for opposing the absolute rule of capital, it would at a minimum have to be capable of acknowledging the conflict that exists between the interests of capital and the rest of the population; and of expressing a principled determination to take the side of the population in this conflict.

A party whose controlling elements are millionaires, lobbyists, fund-raisers, careerist apparatchiks, consultants, and corporate lawyers; that has stood by prostrate and helpless (when not actively collaborating) in the face of stolen elections, illegal wars, torture, CIA concentration camps, lies as state policy, and one assault on the Bill of Rights after the next, is not likely to take that position.  

[ Parent ]
Confusion (0.00 / 0)
If you really think anyone is going to read a rant that starts off with such childish insults, you are quite confused.

I wonder what people like you take yourself to be doing.  You act like petty spoiled children (most of the time people who say things like you are children.  Or at least in the first few years of college and really into their young socialists club), and simply assert things without argument. Hoping to do what I wonder.  Obviously not convince people.  You act like an adult if you want to convince other adults.  I take it you are just venting.  Which is fine I suppose.  Just be aware you could be doing more.

Now if we can put aside the childishness and actually attempt to communicate.  Do I think the Democratic party is, as things currently stand, a progressive instutition?  No.  Do I think it could be?  Certainly.  It would take actual progressives having the power in the party, and while that would be difficult to acheive, to say it is impossible is engage in useless hyperbole.  We might disagree about whether it would be more prudent to develop a third party or try to reform the democratic party, but to do that you would have to start acting like an adult.

[ Parent ]
Obama's campaign in Floirda (4.00 / 2)
was in many ways awesome.  There were no less than FIVE canvassers who knocked on my door in the last week.


There was no coordination with down ballot races.  In Florida we badly need help down ballot, and if this signals a repeat of 2008 it sounds like we won't be getting it.  

There was coordination with downballot.... (0.00 / 0)
...here in Ohio, but it was unsuccessful in my district...

The question is whether the Obama campaign can translate to the midterms... if it can, then we should be in good shape, maybe even better shape than before...  Let's hope!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
ditto for Iowa (4.00 / 2)
Even the Republicans were surprised by how well they did in the statehouse races. Democrats had net gains in the Iowa House and Senate, but not as many as people were expecting, and Republicans won some seats they had practically given up on.

If the DNC is mainly going to be focused on re-electing Obama, it's very bad news for the health of state parties.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

[ Parent ]
Same in Illinois (0.00 / 0)
No major change in the make up of the state houses.  Though of course Blagojevich needs to be figured in the mix.

[ Parent ]
questions... (4.00 / 2)
Any idea if the total number of full time field organizers will be more, or less, than 200 for the full four year cycle?

Does the re-elect Obama strategy mean, re-elect Obama with an even bigger mandate? And, with an even bigger majority in the House and Senate?

They call me Clem, Clem Guttata. Come visit wild, wonderful West Virginia Blue

Fuck that noise. (4.00 / 2)
Stranded out here in the Utah desert we were just starting to get somewhere.

He lets us go adrift and we will be nowhere.

Can we borrow some of those California organizers since the entire state is starting to move/escape to here?

That's one of the downsides of centralization... (4.00 / 2)
That they will probably make cost/benefit decisions that wouldn't have been made before, which may be shortsighted.

The good news is that while they may deny the state parties funds for organizers, doesn't mean that we can't pick up the slack ourselves.  They can't control us, so the grassroots should probably shift our attention to helping state parties ourselves to make up for any shortfall... We'll shift our attention locally instead of globally, or maybe even create something on our own.  Perhaps even have MoveOn implement its own 50 state strategy...

At the same time, we should scream like hell at the DNC to make sure our voices are heard and maybe we can get some concessions or even a reversal...

It was we who got dean elected in the first place... even though we are small donors, if enough of us scream loud enough, they will have to listen!

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

[ Parent ]
Gee thanks, Rahm (4.00 / 2)
Maybe I'm completely in the wrong here for blaming Rahm, but that's what makes the most sense to me.  Also, it has to be coming from Obama and his advisors.  

Who is it?  Who is the control freak in the mix?  Is it Axelrod?  Rahm?  

Did someone forget that there are other elections before 2012?

I simply cannot believe this is happening.  I kind of understood bringing the DNC into the Obama campaign because it meant they could adopt a similar infrastructure, and improve the way they operated, or so I thought.

Why would they kill the golden goose?  Or do they not realize what good has been done with the strategy?  

I'd love to see Dean start another organization that does what the DNC has done during the last four years.  But I realize that unless the official party is involved, it would most likely be sabotaged.

I hope OpenLeft keeps reporting on this issue and provides some more specific information about the reasons why this is happening, with names, etc.  Because this can't stand.  This is something worth fighting for.

Calm down (0.00 / 0)
this is not official yet. It's based on bad anonymous sourcing. Rahm is not running the party, Dillon is.  

John McCain: Beacuse lobbyists should have more power

[ Parent ]
vote with our wallets (4.00 / 1)
I said no to the DNC phone-banker who called me for money last week (the first time I'd said no to them in a long time). I am not funding the DNC if we're going back to the 1990s, when the DNC existed to serve the president's re-election effort.

I said yes to Democracy for America when they called to ask me for a monthly contribution.

Join the Iowa progressive community at Bleeding Heartland.

Two points (4.00 / 1)
(repost from my DK comment)

1. Gore's situation was entirely different from 2008 and even 2004 as Gore assumed (due to Clinton scandal fatigue) whopping double digit 15-20% national poll deficits to begin with (which were reduced to about 10% deficits entering the Dem convention), and hence he was likely trailing by 25% or so in the eventual "red states." It would've been illogical (and in fact political malpractice) for Gore to spread his limited resources too thin (by trying to pull off wins in states where he was trailing by huge 20-30% deficits) under those circumstances, especially given the Nader factor where Nader was attacking Gore and threatening to deliver "must win" blue states to Bush. Gore's best case scenario for a victory was a "hail mary" approach focusing on a group of states that ensured 270 electoral votes with some buffer (as margin for error) to spare. With FL in his column, Gore did win 292 electoral votes, a strong accomplishment considering where Gore started out (likely less than 100 electoral votes in his column) in that cycle. The 2000 election should simply not be considered to be on the same footing as any other recent election, given the overwhelming shadow/handicap of Clinton scandal fatigue that Gore was forced to carry.

2. While a sitting Dem president is the natural leader of the party, in principle, the DNC should be neutral broker when it comes to Democratic primaries (including the pres. primary.) Dean played a neutral and fair-minded broker in the 2008 primary and that can be argued to have been the reason why the Clinton camp couldn't find a way a somehow deny Obama the nomination and crown the "Mrs. Inevitable." One can be fairly sure that if someone like McAuliffe was the DNC chair, they would've bent the rules here and there to benefit Clinton, as eg with how the MI+FL situation was resolved. Considering how razor thin the primary ended up being in the end, even minor bending of the execution of the rules could've tipped the nomination over to Clinton.  

From MyDD... (4.00 / 3)
Kaine's own words at the DNC meeting... take with as many grains of salt as you wish...

There's no question it'll be hard to match Howard Dean's record as chairman of this party. His 50-state strategy was simple and powerful. The Obama campaign adopted it and the results speak for themselves.

The basic point-and the principle I'll carry with me as DNC Chair-is that everybody matters...

...You don't have to be a big donor for your donation to matter.

...You don't have to be an expert for your idea to matter.

...You don't have to be a full-time campaign worker for your effort to matter.

I will be true to that strategy-every state, every community, every person matters.

Together, we'll do some new things-because we can never rest on what worked yesterday. But we will never again as a party write off states or regions or people.

The 50 state strategy is now and forever what Democrats do.

REID: Voting against us was never part of our arrangement!
SPECTER: I am altering the deal! Pray I don't alter it any further!
REID: This deal keeps getting worse all the time!

Howard Dean and Larry Dierker (4.00 / 2)

 Before the 1996 baseball season, the Houston Astros made a bold move and pulled former pitcher Larry Dierker out of the broadcast booth, where he had served the organization very effectively after the end of his very fine pitching career. The Astros were an up-and-down organization on the field, but they had good talent and Dierker was hired to see if he could win with it.

 And win he did. Dierker managed the Astros for five years, and they enjoyed the best run in their history, winning four division titles and exceeding 90 wins three times, with a peak of 102 in 1998. That success, unfortunately, didn't transfer into the postseason, but overall the Astros had become one of baseball's elite organizations.

 There was one issue with Dierker, though, besides the playoff flops (which were basically small-sample issues). Dierker was an intellectual, a very unconventional manager. He applied sabermetric (advanced performance metrics) principles to his managing style (in a very quick nutshell, sabermetric-oriented analysts are to the baseball establishment what the netroots are to the Democratic establishment). And while he was very successful, he angered many within the organization who resented his unconventionality.

  After another early playoff exit in 2001, Dierker was bounced from the manager's job. This in and of itself might have been defensible -- managers CAN grow stale after several years on the job, even if they've been successful. But what's utterly confounding is that Dierker has never gotten another offer to manage another ballclub. Mind you, managers far less successful than he have been recycled multiple times -- but Dierker has been kept at arm's length by the baseball establishment.  Bucking the "conventional" way of doing things makes the establishment uncomfortable enough as it is. But WINNING in an unconventional way -- especially when you win with the ideas of the sabermetric crowd, the DFH's of baseball -- is pure heresy.

  I trust the Howard Dean parallels are obvious enough.  

"We judge ourselves by our ideals; others by their actions. It is a great convenience." -- Howard Zinn

Fabulous Baseball ref (0.00 / 0)
I wondered what happened to Dierker

[ Parent ]
On the other hand... (0.00 / 0)
The 50 State Strategy made perfect sense when Democrats were in the minority and there wasn't much to lose. But I can see an argument where it's more important now to solidify the Congressional gains and focus support on the new Democrats, rather than keep casting the net wide and perhaps overreaching -- especially given that the anti-GOP sentiment that helped make the 50 State Strategy work will (probably) not be as strong in 2010 or 2012 as it was this past year. Maybe that broad 50 state push makes more sense in years of presidential transition when there's more money to go around, than in midterm or reelection years.

Maybe these interim years are a better time to shore up and/or form grassroots organizations outside the Democratic establishment -- networks that will have a few years to plant some roots in those states the party is less focused on -- before the big melee of 2016.

Fine... (0.00 / 0)
A lot less money for the DNC then.  (I prefer candidate-specific donations anyway...)

Maybe we need to create our own financial version of the fifty-state strategy.  Since money talks, having state parties be as or more beholden to us than to the DNC, DCCC, DSCC, etc....might wake the folks at the top of the party up.

Can we use ActBlue for that purpose?  Five bucks a month to, say, North Carolina or Nevada or even Mississippi isn't much from one person, but multiply that by a few thousand.....


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