Gimme a D...

The NY Times reports that Howard Dean will most likely become the new DNC chair.
"It's a fait accompli, it's over: Dean's going to be it," said Gerald McEntee, head of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, who runs the umbrella political organization for all the unions in the A.F.L.-C.I.O.


Dr. Dean announced the support of 53 new committee members, bringing his total vote count to 103 public commitments, his campaign said. He won the formal endorsement of the Service Employees International Union, said Anna Burger, its secretary-treasurer. Among the committee members supporting him are Edward J. McElroy, the president of the American Federation of Teachers.

Mr. McEntee of the public employees union said he would probably support Dr. Dean as well. He said Mr. Fowler and his father, Don Fowler, a former D.N.C. chairman, had telephoned him Tuesday to urge him not to view Dr. Dean's election as inevitable. Mr. McEntee said he advised Mr. Fowler to quit the race.
I’m very pleased with this possible outcome, as I’m still very much the smitten kitten when it comes to Howard Dean. I hope he finds a way to use the admirable talents of Simon Rosenberg, who I also like, but Dean is really the man for this job. And it’s not because he’s got more name recognition and more built-in grassroots support, although those aren’t insignificant, either—it’s because he has been on the right side of every issue that’s come down the pipe since he threw his hat into the ring for the presidential nomination. Not on the right side by one person's standards, but empirically right.

When he spoke of needing to convince guys with the confederate flag on their pick-up trucks that we’re their party, it was a poor choice of words, but the right sentiment. Other Dems were saying we could win without the South, and whether intentional or not, that was very much how the campaign was run, but Dean was right. And he didn’t mean to increase appeal by running to the center on social issues; he meant by reframing the debate.

When every other Dem was deciding their Iraq vote using political calculations, Dean (who didn’t have to cast a vote himself) came down hard against the war resolution. So unique was that position among Dems, that he became the “anti-war” candidate. While others, including our eventual nominee, had to explain to a nuance-averse public the semantics in casting a vote for a war resolution but not the war itself, Dean just said no all along, and in the end, he was right to have done so.

And perhaps most importantly, Dean was right in bringing righteous anger back into the Democratic lexicon of expressions. He was the one who came out swinging, and if it hadn’t been for his fighting stance, quickly adopted by all the other candidates when they saw how well it played with an angry and marginalized liberal electorate, we likely wouldn’t have come nearly as close to unthroning King George as we did.

And Dean’s choice to be guided by his moral compass rather than by political opportunism works for him still. He’s come out against the nomination of Gonzales to Atty. Gen., and rightfully criticized Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid for having said he would support Antonin Scalia as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. Dean’s right, and anyone who suggests that a man who sought to legitimize torture should be the highest lawmaker in the land, or a man who has severe conflict of interest problems stemming from his relationship with the executive branch should lead the highest court in the land, is just plain old wrong. Some things are just that simple.

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