Monday, February 23, 2004

Dean PM

Four articles from The American Prospect on the Dean candidacy and its legacy:

  • Michael Tomasky: Dean as a revolutionary.

    It’s an old rule of history that revolutionaries make bad governors (small “g”). The skill set required to storm the Bastille isn’t the one needed when it comes time to involve oneself in the mundane tasks of running a government. Among many others, Robespierre, Lenin, and, in a less malign form (in that he mostly refrained from the wanton butchery of his foes), Daniel Ortega have all taught us this lesson.

    So where does this leave Howard Dean? Within the parameters of our comparatively civil democracy, he was certainly a revolutionary. And while he will not have the chance to govern, he can — if he does it adroitly — move into a new phase in which he becomes a lasting force inside the Democratic Party. (Yes, Howard Dean can become a Democratic insider!) In his exit speech, he spoke of turning Dean for American into an organization that will somehow or another serve as the progressive conscience of the party….

  • Simon Rosenberg: Dean should complete the $100 revolution.

    Hats off to Howard Dean. While he didn’t win, he imagined and implemented a new and more compelling vision, one that again put average Americans at the very center of politics.

    To ensure that this powerful legacy lives on, I hope that Dean dedicates himself this year to implementing the $100 revolution he began — in the Democratic Party. His vision of a vibrant, active community of 2 million citizens giving $100 each to beat George W. Bush is not only important for our fortunes this year, it’s a vital and necessary step to help modernize and strengthen progressive politics over the long haul….

  • Garance Franke-Ruta: Dean reinvigorated American democracy.

    A common criticism of Howard Dean’s bid for the presidency was that it ultimately became a campaign about a campaign instead of about a country. After the initial success of Joe Trippi’s innovative Internet strategy, a profusion of further procedural stories overwhelmed Dean’s original message of fiscal conservatism and health care for all. And standard-issue campaign-management techniques — We’re going to knock on doors! We’re going to call people! — became the subject of a romantic cult.

    Yet this critique fails to recognize the ways in which so-called process issues embody deeper philosophical questions about what constitutes appropriate governance in a free society. How we govern ourselves — who has power and who can use government power to improve their lives — may be a process question. But it’s also the one this country was founded on. Americans did not fight against the British for universal health care, gay rights, and a 50-cent increase in the minimum wage. They fought for the freedom to be self-governing….

  • Nick Confessore: Dean gave the party a new operating system.

    Had I been voting in one of the early Democratic primaries or caucuses, Howard Dean would not have been my first choice — or even my second or third. But I think the Democrats should be very glad he ran. For all its many faults, Dean’s candidacy was a gift to the Democrats in several ways. One was to teach the other candidates that it was possible to criticize President Bush — even very strongly — and not only live to tell the tale but prosper. Without Dean, the other candidates, and the party as a whole, would never have begun to find their voice and to develop a coherent response to the Bush administration’s many failures and blunders in Iraq….

  • Read the rest of the articles here. Lessons to be learned and precious food for strengthening for battle.