Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dean's 50-State Mistake

I don't mean to pick on the man, but Howard Dean continues to show a naivete concerning politics in America that is frightening for a man that has become DNC chair.

His recently announced a new plan for the next presidential election, which he calls the 50-state strategy, is the latest example. The as-per-usual energetic Dean described it this way:
I don't believe in blue states or red states,'' the former 2004 presidential candidate said. ''I believe in purple states — and some are more purple than others.
Such a plan seems to have been negatively received from both ends of the political spectrum. Patrick Hynes has a conservative opinion piece on why the strategy will fail. Hynes notes:
There is a reason Democrats haven't spent a great deal of time, energy and resources in states like Mississippi and Utah in recent elections, just as Republicans have largely ignored, say, Vermont. Republican National Committee Chairman Ken Mehlman would love to make next year's Vermont open seat Senate race competitive by dumping hundreds of operatives and millions of dollars up there. But not only would such an effort be for naught, it would also rob genuinely competitive races of those resources.
It is also clear that many Democrats also see the folly in the plan. Again from Hynes:
To many red-state elected Democrats, Dean is about as welcome as a Wal-Mart Superstore. On a recent trip to Georgia, not one of the six Democrat state officeholders appeared with Dean. Democrat governors in predominantly Republican states such as Tennessee, Kansas and South Carolina all pleaded "scheduling conflicts" when Dean headlined events in their backyards.

What does it say about Chairman Dean's vision and strategy if this is how successful Democrats in Republican states receive him?
Once again, a strong Democratic party is better for the country than a weak one; a two-party system is infinitely superior to a one-party system. But I'm still hoping against hope that the idea isn't to get the Democratic base super excited by the same (lack of) ideas. The plan should be to come up with legitimate, new, differentiated ideas and views and the excitement will come naturally.

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