Democrats & Liberals Archives

The Game Is Afoot

The Dean success in the “money primary” has shifted the grounds of the Democratic race, and put it into a higher gear.

Suddenly all sorts of Dean criticisms, and negative Dean comparisons are coming out of the woodwork. Bob Harris, a Kucinich supporter, offered one yesterday, a very self-serving “comparison” showing that his candidate is principled while Dean isn’t.

Liberals will say he’s not liberal, conservatives will call him a “hyper-liberal” (whatever that is). The DLC will say his stand on Iraq makes him unelectable.

Already we have seen Karl Rove supposedly urging support for Dean, confident Bush would beat him like Nixon beat McGovern (or McKinley beat Bryan). We have seen Dean labelled inconsistent, we have seen his support called "soft," and we've seen the "conventional wisdom watch" claim he has peaked too early, that (insert the name of their candidate here) will be able to knock him out when the time comes.

This is where Dean's existing troops, and his ability to recruit more, comes into play big-time. Dean already has a site dedicated to helping his forces counter-attack. He has active blogs in nearly every state, each with an audience (and a moderator) beating the bushes for positive stories to praise and negative stuff to knock down.

The biggest challenge for Dean right now, I would say, is not money. It's growing, and managing that growth. His Meetup number is now 59,000. It must go much higher. And those people must be activated. They need to go online, into the streets, and get to work recruiting. They have to be organized, by state, city, town and precinct. They have to get to Democratic Party meetings and start taking over the establishment. They have to scale, they have to engage, they have to do all those things professionals have been doing for a generation, without taking a dime for it.

If Dean's people can do this, if they can prove their ability to essentially replace the functions of the party over the next three months, this primary campaign might be over before the end of the year. If he can't grow, if he can't scale, if he can't continue generating excitement and activity in the Netroots, then, yes, you can trot out all those (McCain, Perot, McGovern) stories. But only after you have evidence.

Until then, you wait. And we fight.

Posted by Danablankenhorn at July 9, 2003 3:45 PM