Omir the Storyteller

Stories. Music. Politics. Technology. Baseball. Friends. Family. Potrzebie.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Howard Dean, the Lightning Rod


I've been doing a bit of thinking about Howard Dean's latest comments about Republicans. You know the ones: how they're the party of white Christians. How he hates everything they stand for. Stuff like that. Apparently, so has the press. The other day about sixty of them crowded into Harry Reid's office (meant to hold about 20 people). Did they want to talk about jobs? Healthcare? Iraq? Social Security? Any other issue of importance to Democrats? Nope. They wanted to talk about Howard Dean. (I'm not sure what to make of the fact that the article I linked to is from the Washington Post's entertainment section.)

Let's, as a famous presidential crook once said, make this perfectly clear. Howard Dean is no longer running for anything. Howard Dean is running something; namely, the fundraising apparatus of the Democratic Party. That's his primary job. He doesn't set policy. He doesn't draft legislation. He just raises the money for the people who do. Oh, and he gets to be a lightning rod. He reminds me of this little poem:

I'm not the one who runs the train
The whistle I can't blow
I'm not allowed to designate
How far the train will go.

I never get to blow the steam
Or even ring the bell,
But let the darn thing jump the tracks
And see who catches hell!

And actually, that's OK for several reasons.

First, like I said, Dean raises money. In the recent past the Democratic party's primary source of funds has been large donors. This is not a Good Thing, because then the party becomes the party of the Large Donors. Dean's focus is to turn the party back into a party of the people. Now, would you think that making comments about the Republican party would polarize people and turn them away from Dean? You might, but you'd be wrong. In fact Democratic fundraising is ahead of where it was four years ago at this time. There could be a number of reasons why that is; but whatever the reasons, Howard Dean is certainly not hurting the Democratic Party by this statements.

Second, like I said above, Dean isn't running for anything. So fine. Let them attack him. The Republicans' success has been to stay on message, whatever their message happens to be at the time. By attacking Howard Dean, they are going off their message. And I can't help but think that's a good thing.


Post a Comment

<< Home