Very early in 2009, the Democratic National Committee will hold an election that will determine the fate of the Party itself. Either the DNC will reelect its current leader, the person who has brought the party to the sorry state of affairs I discussed in my previous post on this blog or the DNC will consider other candidates, hold a meaningful election, and put somebody competent in place as DNC chair.
I doubt Dr. Dean will heed my advice and step down for the good of the Party. And even if he does he will try to handpick his successor, just as he handpicked the Democratic Party's current candidate for President. One thing we all learned this political season is that he who controls the DNC can control the very choice of the Democratic Party's nominee, if he decides to abuse his power and nullify the votes of millions of Democrats by refusing to count them (think Michigan and Florida) and by refusing to permit duly elected delegates to authentically represent rank and file Democrats at the Party's own convention.
Here's a little information on the process used to elect a new chair in 2005:
Note bene: "..state party chairs, various elected and appointed members, and other bigwigs." Sound like a familiar bunch. These are the same people who spent their time in Denver intimidating Clinton delegates into going along with a sham roll call vote; many are the same superdelegates who decided to support a candidate who did not win the primary in their state.
Get the picture? Our audience is the people who followed Dr. Dean's marching orders and foisted a candidate on the Party rather than simply let pre-established party procedures play out fairly. We have to make it crystal clear to these officials that we want new party leadership or else they cannot count upon any of us supporting the Party that they have put in peril.
It was not foreordained in 2005 that Howard Dean would become the Chair, although he campaigned hard for the post, although apparently without lapsing into Dean screams. (Here's a choice piece of rhetoric Dr. Dean used as part of his stump speech: "The Democratic Party will not win elections or build a lasting majority solely by changing its rhetoric, nor will we win by adopting the other side's positions," he said. "We must say what we mean -- and mean real change when we say it." No further comment.
A little more history about the 2005 election for Party Chair:
Dean will join six other candidates in the DNC race: Former Reps. Tim Roemer of Indiana and Martin Frost of Texas; former Denver Mayor Wellington Webb; Simon Rosenberg, head of the centrist New Democratic Network; former Ohio Democratic state chairman David Leland; and Donnie Fowler, a veteran Democratic activist and campaign manager for retired Gen. Wesley Clark's presidential bid.
Kate Michelman, former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America, a group that advocates for legalized abortion, has said she will decide this week whether to run for the DNC post. [source]
As always, it is easier for an incumbent to remain in office than for a challenger to defeat him. Dr. Dean is even permitting the DNC website to host a movement for his reelection as Chair. All together now: conflict of interest.
But incumbents do get defeated. In presidential elections, Jimmy Carter was, as was George H.W. Bush. So the perks and privileges of entrenched power can be bucked.
The first step is putting those Party bigwigs on notice that Dr. Dean's failure to lead the DNC to a functioning coalition disqualifies him from consideration for reelection. (To help with that effort please consider a supporting an advertising campaign to directly target those bigwigs with that message, a campaign sponsored by Democrats for Principle Before Party.)
The next step is to consider who would be a good alternative. Serious suggestions welcome.
UPDATE: Some folks have mentioned Geraldine Ferraro...