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Dean to Step Down as DNC Chair

Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan, left, watches as Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean, speaks to a journalist at the National Press Club in Washington, Nov. 5, 2008. (Manuel Balce Ceneta/Associated Press)

By Chris Cillizza
Former Vermont governor Howard Dean, who rose to national prominence during a failed bid for the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, will not seek a second term as chairman of the Democratic National Committee, clearing the way for a loyalist of President-elect Barack Obama to be named to the soon to be vacant post.

The news of Dean's departure after a single four-year term in office was first reported by the Huffington Post's Sam Stein and confirmed by a Democratic Party source.

"At this point he has said that he doesn't intend to run again," said a DNC source granted anonymity in order to speak candidly. "He has said so publicly for a while. He has not said what he will do next."

Dean's tenure at the DNC has been marked by a sharp disconnect between the grassroots of the party and political operatives.

Grassroots -- and netroots -- activists, who propelled Dean's presidential bid and then helped get him elected as chair of the party in early 2004, love the former Vermont governor and credit his chairmanship of the DNC with the rebirth of the Democrats as a national party. (Dean's pioneering accomplishment during his four years in office is the 50-state strategy, a plan that put Democratic staff and organizations on the ground in every state in the country.)

Dean was not as well received among members of the permanent political class in Washington, many of whom dismissed him as a lightweight -- particularly on the fundraising front.

Dean, at times, clashed publicly with Democratic elected officials over his stewardship of the DNC -- particularly newly installed White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel. Of one particularly contentious meeting in the spring of 2006, Tom Edsall wrote:

"Rep. Rahm Emanuel (Ill.), who is leading the party's effort to regain majority status in the House, stormed out of Dean's office several days ago leaving a trail of expletives, according to Democrats familiar with the session."

Over time, however, Dean did win over some skeptics to his side (former president Bill Clinton among them) thanks to a series of special election wins in conservative strongholds like northern Mississippi and Baton Rouge.

Read more by Chris Cillizza at The Fix»

By Web Politics Editor  |  November 10, 2008; 2:08 PM ET
Categories:  B_Blog , Democratic Party , The Fix  
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Posted by: kevinschmidt...
Your accusation against Howard Dean is without merit. He has done nothing wrong legally or morally. You cannot equate trying to keep gambling out of Vermont with racism towards Native Americans. Your's is a ridiculous assumption.

Why does the far right have the uncivil bad habit of trying to smear those on the left with the crimes they themselves are guilty of?

Kevins response accurately portrays a type of subtle racism commonly being promoted in Vermont against an indigenous population.

There even was a Derringer cartoon of a roulette wheel unearthed at a burial site. Nice huh.. Abenaki's might as well be cavemen in a Geico ad.

The logic it takes jumping to conclude I'm in the far right for standing up for civil rights is also interesting.

If I sell my art and say I am an Indian I can go to jail. If I grow and possesses medicinal or spiritual plants I can go to jail.

It's not about gambling. That's an excuse and not a reason for cultural genocide. Read up. Move on. Dean's stance has actually been violating basic human dignity here in Vermont.

Just for the record.... I am about left as you can get. The present republican governor we have now is just as guilty pushing the exact same lines.

Posted by: kbrichard | November 11, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: kbrichard | November 11, 2008 8:32 AM

Your accusation against Howard Dean is without merit. He has done nothing wrong legally or morally. You cannot equate trying to keep gambling out of Vermont with racism towards Native Americans. Your's is a ridiculous assumption.

Why does the far right have the uncivil bad habit of trying to smear those on the left with the crimes they themselves are guilty of?

Posted by: kevinschmidt | November 11, 2008 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Please folks Google Howard Dean and Abenakis.

Judge for yourselves if this guy deserves a place working for Obama.

See for yourselves if you think this guy is full of hatred and bigotry.

Dean's spent a lot of time keeping the Indians put down.

Posted by: kbrichard | November 11, 2008 8:32 AM | Report abuse

For a cabinet position, consider The Department of Health and Human Services.

With the U.S. life expectancy now lower than over 45 countries, we need someone to get the toxins out of our food, water and farmlands.

Now Dr. Dean can start a 50 state detox strategy.

Posted by: kevinschmidt | November 11, 2008 1:50 AM | Report abuse

If only Nancy "****-for-brains" Pelosi could also take a hint. But I guess liberals like the irony of a stuttering mentally handicapped House Wife, erm, House Speaker.

Posted by: omega_man | November 10, 2008 7:57 PM | Report abuse

Howling Dean's stepping Down!


He did such a WONDERFUL Job making the Dimocrats look like -Well;


Posted by: SAINT---The | November 10, 2008 7:34 PM | Report abuse


Trent Lott, Tom DeLay and George Allen made comments, which were called divisive, and the media and the Democrats ran them out of town.

Posted by: mwhoke | November 10, 2008 5:16 PM | Report abuse

I hope that if he is nominated for a cabinet slot that someone inquires of him what he meant when he stated that the Republican party is the party of white people?

He is a divisive character who should crawl back to Vermont!

Posted by: mwhoke | November 10, 2008 5:13 PM | Report abuse

Democrats are democrats and gays are gays.
One has nothing to do with the other, if you REALLy think about it. I personally like the Democrats' renewed emphasis on the things that made the Left attractive to hundreds of millions of working people worldwide to begin with, starting in the early 20th century. To wit: primarily the championship of socio-economic equity for all those who work for a living - i.e. most of us.

For a time, it seemed that the Democratic Party was primarily concerned with advocating for the rights of various minorities, based on nothing but race, language, gender, and sexual patterns.
And the tyrrany of political correctness starting in late 1980s and only easing up recently? UGGGH!! At the expense of everybody else, of all regular and traditional Democratic supporters. That's how we got the so-called "Reagan Democrats" - what an abomination that is!

When people hurt economically through no fault of their own, it doesn't matter what shape, color, or sexual preference they are - the Democrats' proper role is to be concerned PRIMARILY, if nor exclusively, with ensuring and protecting a basic package of socio-economic equities and benefits for the working poor and middle-income people and their families.

Posted by: VMR1 | November 10, 2008 4:19 PM | Report abuse

I LOVE Howard Dean and really hope that he will get a cabinet position. I also really, really hope that whoever takes over the DNC continues his winning methods and strategies and does not go back to the old ways. People are tired of that. Rahm Emmanuel worries me, and it worries me to read about that meeting with Howard Dean--but doesn't surprise me since Emmanuel represents all that Dean was trying to move away from. Hmm. It will be interesting to see if Obama will have room in his administration for all types of Dems.

Posted by: furysmom | November 10, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse


Please don't forget that Howard Dean was instrumental in getting civil unions for same sex couples passed in VT. It was a first in our nation.

I have a tough time believing that Governor Dean would dismiss anybody for criticism delivered in good faith. It's not how he operates.

Posted by: veeve | November 10, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean and the DNC is being sued for anti-gay discrimination and defamation. And has a horrible record for standing up for the Civil Rights of gays and lesbians. Maybe it's no wonder that Democrats won the White House, but lost all of the anti-gay ballot measures.

Trial is set for early 2009. I'm sure the media will watch, and what a legacy for Dean to leave with.

Posted by: greenbean1 | November 10, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

Looking forward to seeing Dr. Dean in the Cabinet. He's too good a man to be heading back to Vermont during these troubling times.

Posted by: osullivanc1 | November 10, 2008 3:19 PM | Report abuse

I suspect Dr. Dean may be headed toward a Cabinet or other high-ranking post in the Obama Administration. I hear they need a new head of HHS...

I'm all in favor. Dean played a major role in cultivating possibilities for the Democratic Party in all 50 states, and he deserves credit for it.

Posted by: ASinMoCo | November 10, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

I would have thought that Dean's 50-state strategy, that he fought for so vigorously, would have won favor from the Obama people, since it's the strategy the pursued. Obama is assumedly preparing for his next run ( and he must have signaled to Dean that he (Obama) wanted one of his own at the helm of the party apparatus.

Posted by: edwards1 | November 10, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I remember all the criticism he received during the primaries....Michigan and FLorida Wah, wah, wah,...snatching defeat from victory, wah, wah, wah...

Look who's crying now.

Posted by: JRM2 | November 10, 2008 3:05 PM | Report abuse

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