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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dean’s DNC: How Effective?

Open Left’s Matt Stoller riffs on Jeff Zeleny’s Sunday New York Times review of Howard Dean’s performance at the helm of the DNC, and Stoller adds some perceptive insights of his own, including:

The DNC’s fundraising has been horrific, and Dean has completely lost control of the primary calendar. There are some good spots in his record, but in my opinion, the lessons to learn here are about what not to do with a party institution when you gain power. First, let’s go over the good parts. The technology platform that Dean oversaw to handle voter files is terrific; DNC data geeks are cleaning up data, forcing accountability on vendors, and working to ensure that officials will have the ability to make smart political decisions. That’s not a small problem to solve, since keeping lists of who will vote and why they will vote is complicated and had not been solved in twenty five years of fretting by DNC Chairs about technology. Dean has also served as a good moral inspiration to activists. Emphasizing the ability of individuals to get involved, pushing power and funding to the state parties, and branding the 50 state strategy are clearly useful transformative qualities for a party.

Stoller has more to say, pro and con, and his assessment seems balanced enough. Some of the comments responding to Stoller’s blog add perspective, although it would be good to see a response from Dean or someone in the DNC. Now seems like a good time to address internal criticism of Democratic Party institutions, conducted in a constructive spirit and moving towards greater Party unity in the home stretch.

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