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June 11, 2005

Howard and "Hillary Rules"

Ed Kilgore has a post over at the new tpmcafe on Howard Dean that makes a lot of sense to me.  He says:

Dean took on the often thankless job of party chairman, building on the aspects of his 2004 candidacy that virtually all Democats appreciated: small-dollar fundraising, and grass-roots efforts to expand the ranks of party activists.  For all my differences of opinion with Dean's 2004 campaign, his self-sacrificing choice afterwards earned my respect, and my loyalty.

He adds:

The media's tendency to distort and then hype Dean's rhetoric is predictable and unavoidable.  In a NewDonkey post congratulating the Doctor on his victory in the DNC chair race, I observed that he would be playing by "Hillary Rules," which means exceptional and unavoidable scrutiny of every single word he says.   

Kevin Drum, in building onto what Kilgore said, says:

But Ed, that's a feature, not a bug! I don't want Dean to go over a cliff with this kind of stuff, but his reputation as a straight shooter allows him to say things that other people are only thinking, and his role as party chairman forces the press to pay attention. This is a good thing.

Initially, of course, it doesn't look that way, but guess what happens after the initial firestorm has died out? With news hook in hand, reporters will get to work. Does James Dobson control the agenda of the Republican party? Are Republicans overwhelmingly white? Do party leaders work against the interests of the working class? This is exactly where we'd like the focus to be: on our issues, not theirs. After all, the answers to these questions are inevitably going to be bad for the Republican party.

We in the netroots asked him to do this job with a pretty clear sense that he was the only one who could rebuild the Party in a way that would move us to a place where we could win again.  I stand behind him and applaud him. 


Posted by Lynn Allen on June 11, 2005 at 10:09 PM in Inside Baseball | Permalink


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I think this is a beautiful red herring. They are playing good democrat / bad democrat with the media, and it's a win either way.

Dean says something shocking to the press... It gets a lot of headlines, we win. Core democrats almost start dancing in the streets they are so happy to the democrats take a stand, we win. Biden, et all, take a softer line, we get lots of headlines, we win. This also this unruffles some feathers, we win. Dean goes on the talk show circut and mostly blows off their 'crisis of the day' questions and discusses what he wants to discuss, we win.

Clinton once said that when people are thinking, democrats win. Dean/Biden et all are making people think.

Who cares if the press covers it as inner-fighting, as long as they cover it, we win.

Posted by: Brandy | Jun 12, 2005 4:08:18 PM

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