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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, Wednesday, Nov. 5, 2008. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)

UPDATE, 4:00 pm: Two other potential names have emerged in the rapidly-moving DNC Chair race: Donna Brazile, who managed then Vice President Al Gore's presidential bid in 2000, and Alice Germond, the current Secretary of the DNC.


Former Vermont Gov. 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 to The Fix 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 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 the operative class.

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 Democrats as a national party. (Dean's pioneering accomplishment of his four years in office is the 50-state strategy, a plan that put 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 Louisiana.

Dean's future remains cloudy although he has been mentioned as a possible choice to head the Department of Health and Human Services in an Obama Administration. Former Sen. Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) is also being mentioned for that job.

With Dean expected to vacate his post early next year, speculation has already begun in earnest about who could replace him. (Our quick handicapping of the potential successors is below.)

What is clear is that the general chairman/operational chairman model set up during the general election when Dean chaired the organization and Obama field guru Paul Tewes ran the day to day operations is a real possibility to be repeated again. Among the names mentioned if Obama decides to go that route with the DNC are Tewes and Steve Hildebrand, another field guru for Obama.

Here is the (early) list of potential DNC Chairs:

Claire McCaskill: McCaskill's name was prominently mentioned in the HuffPo piece but according to sources close to her it is unlikely she would take the job. McCaskill was one of Obama's most prominent -- and effective -- surrogates during the primary season and is respected by the operative class for her political acumen.

Tim Kaine: Thanks to Virginia's inexplicable one-term limit on its governors, Kaine will be out of office at the start of 2010 and may be looking for a new gig. Kaine was one of three finalists to be Obama's vice president and is very close personally to the president-elect. But, does he want the job?

Kathleen Sebelius: Obama made no secret of his admiration for Sebelius during the primary and general election campaign. Sebelius will be term limited out of office in 2010 and might be interested in such a prominent national post. On the other hand, Sen. Sam Brownback (R) is widely expected to leave the Senate in 2010 to run for governor -- leaving an open seat in which Sebelius would almost certainly be considered a favorite.

Bill Richardson: Like Sebelius, Richardson will be term-limited out of his office in 2010 and is clearly interested in coming back to Washington as either a member of the Cabinet or perhaps chairman of the DNC. Richardson's Hispanic heritage could further aid Democrats' outreach to this critically important voting bloc and his political chops are unquestioned.

By Chris Cillizza  |  November 10, 2008; 1:48 PM ET
Categories:  Democratic Party  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Jindal: Never Vetted for VP
Next: A Thousand Words


Dean's clearly the unsung hero of this monumental election. He had to fight off Emanuel and the D.C. "insiders" in order to plow the field and seed it for the huge victory in the electoral college and the transformation of the electoral map.

It's sad to see so many old D.C. insiders creeping back into the new Democratic administration. I thought NEW was a high priority.

I hope Obama doesn't get overwhelmed by tired, old ideas. This country needs an overhaul not a change of oil.

Bob Clawson

Posted by: rjclawson | November 11, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

Howard-you beong to history now, and no one can take your place! You are the juggernaut from Vermont, and America's Champion!

Teddy Roosevelt is chiselled in stone for accomplishing less than you have done.

Against impossible odds, you have slain Goliath and raised the political consciousness of all Americans. We are a new nation now and you are our prophet.
Those who deal with you will treat you with honor, or our venom will consume them.

Whatever you want, we will give it to you because a nation honors its prophets. What greater challenge can you construe, will the world stage receive your attention?

In whatever capacity, many tens of millions of us will look in your direction for guidance. If you choose to laze by the trout streams for the rest of your days, we will look there for directions about which way the political winds should blow.

Posted by: cebowman | November 11, 2008 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think that it should be someone who knows how to get the "key" States organized to obtain a majority vote. Someone who does the job from the grass routes, noy from DC.

J Rapach

Posted by: johnrapach | November 11, 2008 9:00 AM | Report abuse

Howard Dean should be commended not just by Democrats, but by anyone who wanted to see elections take a national scale again, rather than simply be decided by Florida and Ohio. Obama should reward him with the job of Surgeon General, since that position actually requires an MD, and name Tom Daschle as Secretary of HHS. If something substantive is to be done about health care reform, there need to be as many bright minds as possible.
As for the DNC Chair, the first name to come to my mind was instantly "David Plouffe." What makes more sense than employing the campaign manager of probably the most brilliant Democratic presidential campaign in anyone in America's lifetime to run the entire Democratic party? The only question is whether he'd do it, but I would think the chance to impress upon the entire national party the values he found so special about Obama's campaign would do the trick.
If not Plouffe, then Tim Kaine, because he is a prime example of the pragmatic politics that have turned Virginia into a Democratic-run state.

Posted by: radical_centrist | November 11, 2008 8:52 AM | Report abuse

I agree with the commenters who have suggested that Donna Brazile is ill-equipped to serve as DNC chair. Gore's campaign suffered as a direct result of her erratic direction.

Also, her decisions and commentary appear to be more emotionally-based rather than cerebrally guided. One cannot oversee a large organization effectively while showing a limited capacity for rational thought.

Please! No Donna Brazile!!

Posted by: GillianNC | November 11, 2008 2:11 AM | Report abuse

Dean has been totally vindicated by events, with Democrats turning states that neither Republicans nor establishment Democrats would have believed possible four years ago.

It's not just his political strategy that's been vindicated, but his policy too. Howard Dean strongly opposed the invasion of Iraq when these Democratic bigwigs were falling over themselves to kneel before Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld.

Next to that fact, everything else is trivial. Dean will always be a good guy in my eyes.

Posted by: kevrobb | November 11, 2008 12:35 AM | Report abuse

crrobin -- You are totally ill informed and apparently suffering from a little psychological projection (i.e., "shooting from the hip). Howard is anything, but shoot from the hip. He is the most deliberative DNC Chairman ever. Usually, it's some dimwit fundraiser who gets the job and has no clue about shaping a party that can govern. Instead, they pander to whatever interest can pay to play. Dean, on the other hand, built a genuine national political operation that has invigorated the party in areas Terry McAuliffe and his ilk wouldn't have even thought about because it didn't make "financial" sense. Talk about silly. So, in short crrobin, you know nothing about Howard Dean. He is anything but silly or ineffective.

Incidentally, he's the only guy in Washington to put Rahm Emanuel in his place. That's plenty effective.

Posted by: goldbear85 | November 10, 2008 11:39 PM | Report abuse

Carol Mosley Braun
Bob Kerry
Max Cleland

Donna Brazille is not qualified to run a pepsi vs. coke campaign- please keep her away from the heart of the party- she let her personal animosities and biases ruin Gore's campaign in 2000.

Posted by: nycLeon | November 10, 2008 11:31 PM | Report abuse

Can't imagine why ANYONE in the Democratic party would criticize Howard Dean.

He should be regarded as a hero who saved not only the Democratic Party, but the nation itself.

The 50-state strategy has helped the Democratic party gain majorities in both houses of Congress and now the Presidency.

Dean was the greatest chairman of the DNC and will be sorely missed.

Posted by: 2greekdc | November 10, 2008 11:00 PM | Report abuse

On the right track with Richardson, but Patti Solis Doyle needs a spot. Richardson can be asst Secy of State for Latin America, Lugar is my choice for Secy if not Powell. This spot requires some election know how and Patti went with the flow going for the kill on super Tuesday. Her team made Biden a good choice for Obama. A woman and Latino is just the future of the Democratic party. Latinos and blacks are far more conservative socially than the Democratic party thinks as shown by the CA gay marriage vote. Republicans must take a few steps to the left and move toward compromise to have any effect in the next congress. Stem cells and contraceptive rights are coming with hopefully more help for single mothers. Open relations with Cuba is coming to both countries benefit. Sugar farming for ethanol should be encouraged in PR, Cuba and the deep south. Corn ethanokl sudsides should be converted to feed and food corn to shore up the worlds food supply and be used diplomatically overseas. Billions should be spent on alternative energy projects, with tax credits for solar panel and insulating effectiveness in housing and commercial buildings. Wind should be exploited everywhere feasible as should geothermal transfer in new buildings. Hybrid cars that generate electricity for transfer should be explored. We even with the recent bombings can pull out of Iraq faster than we thought. The terrorists are down to adolescent girls for martyrs. They have no honor and no support from most Iraqi's. Obama must be clear on no military funding cuts by congress. A mix of Raptors against the Bear and fighter bombers against everyone else should be in defense outlays. So should more up armored armadillos. Our commanders are 20,000 men short in Afghanistan and the quicker we draw down Iraq, the quicker manning goals will be met. A good homeowner bailout involving everyone with a mortgage appears to me the cheapest, safest way out of the mortgage crisis. Shoring up the financials that funded failing mortgages does not solve the underlying problem of people unable to pay the increased premiums. The ownership of these mortgage by our nation seems to me the safest bet for the American taxpayer. Increased taxes on the top end can be eased as loopholes are closed and the corporate rate reduced accordingly. The far right attack politics died in the election, the far left has the chance to change and it is up to Pelosi and Reid. Reid has enough moderate Republicans to get things done without cloture being used, as long as he does not overreach and compromises. We need the Tip O'Neill and Alan Simpson approach to politics in this new congress. Perhaps a move to Clinton or McCaskill instead of Reid would get more done. If the Democrats wanted to go for the kill they would ask Obama for Plouffe as the chairman. They probably are not smart enough for that, so Republicans can breathe easy.

Posted by: jameschirico | November 10, 2008 10:15 PM | Report abuse

From the third paragraph of the Original Post: "At this point he has said that he doesn't intend to run again," said a DNC source granted anonymity to speak candidly. "He has said so publicly for a while. He has not said what he will do next."

This is one of the finest examples of using unattributed quotes we will ever find. Clearly it was necessary because without giving the source anonymity, the Cillizza never would have gotten this information to the public – WHAT!?! - wait a minute! - the information – according to the source – had already been made public! So why the heck does he have to give the source anonymity?! What a joke. Such unattributed sources should be used rarely and only with a critical need.

Posted by: TexasDemocrat1 | November 10, 2008 9:57 PM | Report abuse

I don't much care how Howard Dean is regarded or what's the stature of the Democratic party.

I care a great deal about what happens to people whose employers won't hire anyone full time because they don't want to pay benefits.

I care about people who work in chicken processing plants which are invariably situated in so-called "right-to-work" states, who work their butts off for $8/hr, and I care about people who staff the checkouts at your local Wal-Mart and your local groceries and pharmacies, who work for less.

I worry about people who perform farm labor that almost no native-born US citizen is willing to do at twice the going wage, who are vilified because they're "illegals" and who too often become the victims, not only of neglect, but of hate crimes.

I understand that we need to get control of our borders, and I favor gaining that control, without victimizing those whose only crime was to come here under a lax immigration regime seeking the opportunity to get ahead by working hard.

I care about what happens to people who should see a physician because they know something is wrong, but don't, because they don't have health insurance, and the cost of health care for a working person of limited means is prohibitive.

I'm rooting for this Democratic administration to address some of my concerns, which I'm sure aren't mine alone.

I'm excited about the change that *may* be happening.

I don't give a damn about abortion rights or gay marriage. I know the advocates of those things are part of my coalition. Hopefully, they can endure my speaking frankly.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 10, 2008 9:49 PM | Report abuse

I don't think it will be any high-profile person (Kaine, Sebelius, etc.) When a party is out of power, the party chair is defacto head of the party (GOP or Dem) and has a huge agenda of his or her own. When you control the WH, the president runs the party and the party chair is an organizational person, not a public leader.

You are more likely to see a high-profile Republican take over the RNC after Bush leaves office. The Dems (Obama) will choose a political pro and insider (much like the two you named in your update.)

Posted by: cbl-pdx | November 10, 2008 9:48 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is a highly regarded political figure of the Democratic party. Under his leadership, the Democratic party regained its stature at national, state and local levels.

I urge President elect Obama to include Howard Dean in his cabinet, preferably in HHS. He is a great organizer and knowledgeable individual and has earned the respect of millions of Democrats.

Posted by: hsnkhwj | November 10, 2008 9:26 PM | Report abuse

Many thanks to Gov. Howard Dean for his service. I find it strange that some people harshly criticize him. During his one term, the Democratic Party gained healthy majorities in both the House and Senate, and even won the Presidency. We haven't had it this good in a long time.
If Dean did something wrong, then I hope that his successor is equally wrong.

Posted by: orange2 | November 10, 2008 9:25 PM | Report abuse

Does "fiscally moderate and socially progressive" mean (anti-labor unions) and ((pro-abortion) and (pro-gay marriage))?

Enquiring fiscal illiterates need to know.

That would be a great plan for winning the Philadelphia bedroom counties, but I'm not sure it promises the nation much of a future, unless your vision of nirvana is a bunch of people working for peanuts, who can get abortion on demand and marry chipmunks if that's their thing.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 10, 2008 9:16 PM | Report abuse

Governor Bill Richardson should be the next Chair of the DNC. He has the requisite legislative and executive experience to be able to identify areas in which the Democratic party agenda can be most effectively implemented. Governor Richardson could effectively build on the 50-state plan that Chairman Dean had which proved to be so effective. The selection of an Hispanic to head the DNC would also send a clear message to the world that the Democrats are the party of inclusion for all in this nation.

Posted by: lavinsr | November 10, 2008 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Dean was right in his 50 state strategy and Emanuel was wrong. I guess this shows that Obama likes foul-mouthed bullies (Illinois bullies, of course) who were wrong, rather than people who blazed the grass-roots trail and who envisioned the very strategy that won Obama the Presidency.

I voted for Obama, but his Emanuel pick and forcing out Dean are not good starts. Emanuel appears to have no negotiating skills (other than getting a good job with Obama) and I guess the originator of Obama's campaign would be embarrassment if he were to stick around.

Posted by: Tambopaxi | November 10, 2008 8:57 PM | Report abuse

given his term limit, and his hispanic background i would put my money on Richardson for DNC boss...he broke for Obama early, but i dont think he is tough enough for secretary of state. Or the UN slot either...
Yea, my bet is on Richardson

Posted by: Shootingsparks | November 10, 2008 8:25 PM | Report abuse

the self- absorbed and self-important clinton era team cost the democrats at the local and national level. they made it possible for bush to come to power and established the receptive and republican congress. pls no one associated with the clintons.

Posted by: am_jim | November 10, 2008 8:23 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is a traitor to the Democratic party,if not for him and Pelosi and Donna Brazzille Senator Clinton would have gotten the nomination.Dean split the party because of his petty hate for the Clintons.May he rot in hell.Obama has used him up and now he is kicking him under the bus along with the Reverend Wright and many,many others.Dean is no longer useful to the Messiah.

Posted by: cincigal74 | November 10, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

pls not richardson, brazil, or any other clinton era hack

Posted by: am_jim | November 10, 2008 8:12 PM | Report abuse

mchaun is one of the reasons wise gardeners wear gloves. You never know what might crawl out from under the next rock you turn over.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 10, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Howard Dean, a seriously honest guy with a very intelligent grasp of the realities of politics - has done his Party and the Nation a great service by conceiving and installing his 50-state strategy.

Fiscally moderate and socially progressive, Dean deserves his Party's respect and applause for putting aside his own cause and engineering the positive contribution he made to both Party and Nation after his Presidential bid imploded.

Howard Dean is an ethical and honest man. Whatever his future holds, we wish him well.

Posted by: gandalfthegrey | November 10, 2008 8:02 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that Rahm Emanuel, a very tough and nasty smart guy, appears to be turning his position of privilege to his personal benefit by evening the score with fellow Democratic enemies like Dean?
If this fantastic Democratic victory and sweep is to succeed and restore our country, Obama should make it clear to Rahm that Rahm is there to serve Obama's goals and to implement the Obama priorities, not Rahm's personal vendettas or empire building. Let's not eat our own.
Dean was an amazing hero and visionary, with not much need for publicity, ego gratification or rewards. We need more guys like Howard Dean, and fewer Dem insiders who are eating our most productive performers. The 50 state strategy, internet fundraising, etc. are so critical.
Obama, please reward Howard Dean and don't let him sulk off as a victim of Rahm's sword. And keep Rahm under control, working on your and Democratic Party priorities.

Posted by: enough3 | November 10, 2008 8:01 PM | Report abuse

Three days after Dean said we should have a more even-handed approach to the Mid-East situation, the Jew Media destroyed his Presidential aspirations.

I guess Jews can never get enough revenge, Emanuel now has to rub some more salt in the wounds.

Dean is probably one of the smartest people in the Democrat Party. But just another Democrat treated like hsit for asking the tiniest bit of Justice for Palestine.

Monte Haun

Posted by: mchaun | November 10, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

zoukie, I read your low class post about Michelle Obama. Sounds like you're going to have a long 4-8 years.

Posted by: newageblues | November 10, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

The Dems, including Obama, owe a LOT to old "Yeeehaw" Howard Dean.

He was on to something, afterall.

Posted by: LeftwithNochoice | November 10, 2008 7:21 PM | Report abuse

David Plouffe seems ideal. Not Senators! Donna should put together a show on CNN to compete with Tom Brokaw's boring Meet the Press. Keep Donna talking on TV. She is one of the few who are right occasionally.

Plouffe is respected in the Democratic Party.
I do not think a Governor would want the job or even be suited for such a National position.

2016 I bet the new president will be a woman.

Posted by: katalina911 | November 10, 2008 7:18 PM | Report abuse

After the report by the Washington Post's Ombudsman detailing how the Post shredded its journalistic ethics to get Obama elected why should you be trusted?

Posted by: Drumfire | November 10, 2008 7:17 PM | Report abuse

Why is it that I have to read in the AP story on my Yahoo email account that Howard Dean has consistently said he would only serve one four year term. Chris makes it sound as if this were a big surprise. Helloooo! Chris, you are out of the loop.

Posted by: dotellen | November 10, 2008 7:14 PM | Report abuse

Caroline Kennedy? But please, no RFK Jr. in EPA or any other responsible position.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 10, 2008 6:56 PM | Report abuse

The good news for Democrats is that Joe Biden is not available for this job.

Posted by: officermancuso | November 10, 2008 6:49 PM | Report abuse

you done good, dr dean. your highly mocked 50-state strategy showed just how expert those pundit/analysts/party hacks' really was ... not.

and now that howard dean has built a revitalized organization, watch those clowns install donna brazile in the chair -- one of the most ineffective and compromised (how's your pal, kkkarl, doing, donna...) democrats in the party.

Posted by: mycomment | November 10, 2008 6:37 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean deserves a large share of the credit for winning (or at least not losing) in 2006 and 2008. He should also be thanked for holding the MI and FL state committees to the rules and punishing them for jumping the line in this year's primaries. These state committees are headed by big boys and girls who should know that breaking the rules has consequences. Thanks to him, the Dems should avoid a primary free-for-all next cycle.
Good luck Dr. Dean!

Posted by: mus81 | November 10, 2008 6:35 PM | Report abuse

David Plouffe, David Plouffe! Please Plouffe!

Posted by: Vaughan1 | November 10, 2008 6:34 PM | Report abuse

As in his predictions of VP Democratic candidates in which Cillizza always put Biden at the bottom and put impossible names like Kaine at the top, this list does not strike one as sophisticated. It is the well-known insiders who may be putting forward their own name.

Obama had the best organized presidential campaign in American history. Why should he not put one of his top organizers in this post?

As for Dean, one wonders if Leahy is thinking of stepping down in 2012.

Posted by: jhough1 | November 10, 2008 6:30 PM | Report abuse

DEFINATELY not Donna Brazille, who ran the worst campaign in the history of campaigns, snatching defeat from the hands of victory and giving us 8 years of W.

How about Bob Kerry?- I am certain he would leave the New School for this post

Max Cleland? Also a good choice

Carol Mosley Braun?

Posted by: nycLeon | November 10, 2008 6:27 PM | Report abuse

there is of course the major concern that THE ONE will end up being the terrorists best friend. He is already moving to release Guantanomo inmates and has sent someone he fired to negoitiate with Israel.

soon all those wicked friends he hardly knew will crawl back out of the woodwork.

if I hear how "stylish" his beast of a wife is again, I think I will puke. No matter how hard you try, if you shop at Kmart, it is easy to tell.

something about lipstick on a pig goes here, but I can't recall how it goes.

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 10, 2008 6:26 PM | Report abuse

I would go with Tim Kaine just to tick off Karl Rove...oh by the way king zouk, how it feels to be a loser?

Posted by: BFranco

not as bad as I thought it would. we retained many more seats in congress then expected, did much better in the polls than predicted and vindicated the socialist/communist choice by refusing to play along. the only bright star remaining is Sarah Palin. and of course the overthrow of the PeLousy congress in two years.

I have discovered that Obama is not the leftist I thought, which I think is going to annoy moveon quite a bit. It seems he is rather a clinton retread without the flair or personal foibles.

except the urge to go thug on any opponents - the chicago way. deploy the Truth squads and brownshirts.

I guess losing when the Rs nominate a D isn't so bad. how does it feel to nominate an S or a C and get a D?

Posted by: king_of_zouk | November 10, 2008 6:18 PM | Report abuse

Dean has been underestimated for the past several years. No, he didn't win the nomination in 2004 - but he did better than most mainstream Democrats expected him to and in the process, he revolutionized how the Democratic party interacted with its constituents. His 50 state strategy, initially panned by "experts," laid the foundation for Obama's move into previously red states. He deserves a world of credit - and no one should underestimate his ability to take on whatever new challenges await.

Posted by: -pamela | November 10, 2008 6:15 PM | Report abuse

Goodbye, Mr. Dean. You signed on to a transient position and it is time for you to transit.

Posted by: mortified469 | November 10, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

McCaskill shouldn't take the DNC job, she will be a great senator and should focus on that as we're already losing too many good senators to other jobs. The DNC chair should go to an ex-governor, someone who wouldn't be giving up a different position. Tim Kaine would make the best fit, he's got energy and could keep up the 50-state strategy well.

As for Dean, he had better be going to a better position, he's got too much skill to fade out at a time like this. Secr of Health and Human Services would be a good fit as he is a doctor and originally ran on a health care reform ticket in 2004 before he became an internet sensation.

Posted by: grimmix | November 10, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Good riddence. He was such a silly person.
Ineffective and shot from the hip.

Posted by: crrobin | November 10, 2008 5:58 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean was John the Baptist to Obama's Jesus (take that Christian wackos!)

Posted by: sw7104 | November 10, 2008 5:55 PM | Report abuse

Nothing fails like success. Howard Dean foisted the successful 50-state strategy on the Democratic Party's non-democratic wing only to have to step down when that strategy succeeded. His dismissal ratifies the putsch by "centrists" in installing Emanuel as Obama's chief of staff. For progressives, this is going to be a long and bitter administration of lost hopes and lost opportunities.

Posted by: emainland | November 10, 2008 5:51 PM | Report abuse

Dr. Dean, you did good. You were right when your skeptics were wrong. Best wishes in whatever the future holds.

Posted by: gbooksdc | November 10, 2008 5:50 PM | Report abuse

I think it would have been nice to keep in in the office -- things have gone well for the Dems in the last 4 years in part because of his 50-state strategy. But, maybe he has proved the point and wants to move on.

Posted by: MShake | November 10, 2008 5:37 PM | Report abuse

Dean's 50-state strategy was the only morally and politically acceptable philosophy for a party that was trying to save the country from the evil regime which Republican rule had become. It acquitted itself brilliantly, was probably responsible for Obama's victory, and we can only hope Emanuel has the smarts to realize when he's wrong. The DLC idea of pulling resources from all states except those which are best bets is the kind of superficial strategy that sounded hip in its time but turned out to be a recipe for gridlock and guaranteed losses. God help us all if the alumni of the Clinton White House haven't seen the error of their ways. (Oh, and note to the Clinton alumni--America is not a "center-right" nation, it's a "center-left" nation, regardless of how often the conservative hacks try to claim otherwise based on cowing people into fearing the word "liberal". Never again be so dumb as to believe your enemy's propaganda...)

Posted by: razzl | November 10, 2008 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Dean stepping aside for an Obama loyalist? He's been an Obama loyalist all along, all through the primaries.

Posted by: brewstercounty | November 10, 2008 5:30 PM | Report abuse

I hate to have him leave. We've experienced unprecedented success under him. His replacement needs to be someone who like him is solely devoted to this job, not Sen. McCaskill or Gov. Sebelius. Democrats should thank Howard Dean for his work. It's no coincidence he lost the '04 presidential race. He was meant to lead this Party from his current position. And, unfortunately there's no one better than him out there to do this job.
God bless Howard Dean in whatever he does.
Maybe he'll reconsider.

Posted by: jdunph1 | November 10, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I would go with Tim Kaine just to tick off Karl Rove...oh by the way king zouk, how it feels to be a loser?

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

It's hard to heap enough praise on Dean. His 50 state strategy will be a Democratic template for years to come. I'm sure the man wants some time to rest and then an appointment by Obama is more than well deserved. Plouffe is just the man to pick up the ball and keep running.

Posted by: bretb | November 10, 2008 5:06 PM | Report abuse

A slight word in defense of Pelosi and Reid: Over the past two years, trying to work with the current White House and their enablers in Congress has been a fool's errand. The SCHIP expansion efforts proved that.

How can you continually demand billions more for Iraq and then veto expanding health insurance to kids? How could Republicans vote to sustain that veto? TWICE I think.

There's a reason why Republicans have been relegated to long-term minority status in both the Senate and the House.

Posted by: Bondosan | November 10, 2008 5:02 PM | Report abuse

There's only one thing to say about this:


Posted by: bs2004 | November 10, 2008 4:51 PM | Report abuse

As a Democrat in a southern state I was at first skeptical of Dean's 50 state strategy, but I now realize I live in a state where it worked.

I suspect the past 4 years have been tough. Just following the race for the past year (I decided I was for Obama in February) has been exhausting for me, and I'm just a spectator. I can't imagine how it must have been for Dean.

David Ploufe, if he wants it, should be considered. He helped run a flawless campaign. I never thought I'd live to see North Carolina go for a Democratic president, let alone Obama.

Let me pile on the distrust of Reid and Madame Pelosi. They really, really ought to travel outside their comfort zones and see what real Democrats have to work with in real red-to-purple states. Then they might tone it down a bit.

Posted by: tony_in_Durham_NC | November 10, 2008 4:33 PM | Report abuse

Seeing as Dean WAS RIGHT... And the national washington types that objected with Dean were WRONG... Dinasaurs like the ineffetual Pelosi, Rahm Emmanuel, weak Harry Reid, et al...

I'd be taking DEAN's advice.

Posted by: onestring | November 10, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean may just be tired. Maybe he will just go back to VT and relax. However, he'd be great at Health and Human Services or Surgeon General of HEW.

It does surprise me that he is thought to be stepping aside for an Obama pick. Seemed to me that he favored Obama during the primary.

Posted by: dotellen | November 10, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Rahm Emanual is sinister-looking? Danigo, are the the guy who draws those propaganda cartoons of evil-looking Jews for the Arabic newspapers? This reminds me of the time I was down south and was told I look like Alan Dershowitz (I do not, I was just the first Jewish person he had seen in person).

Who could ever blow up at Howard Dean? What are you talking about? This is the man who blew up his own candidacy by acting like a fool.

Posted by: cbffsa1 | November 10, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Not sure what to make of all this: except that Obama is showing how much of a FRAUD he is.

First, Rahm Emanuel does not represent change. He is a Clinton guy - don't forget that. Obama ran against Hillary and the party went with change, not "put the Clinton people back in."

Second, Dean represents the insurgent part of the party - he is getting brushed aside. Fairly quickly I might add.

Clearly what is happening here is not change.

It is same same same.



Posted by: 37thOSt | November 10, 2008 3:56 PM | Report abuse

The blogs and netroots are likely going to rally around David Plouffe (as they should). Even if he doesn't get DNC Chair he should be offered some sort of position there given his amazing performance running the Obama campaign.

Tim Kaine would be a disaster. He turned his back on the Virginia blogosphere after they helped him win. That kind of attitude towards the grassroots is not something we need at the DNC.

Posted by: Jambon99 | November 10, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

And here we go. The American version of the KGB begins.

Posted by: forgetthis | November 10, 2008 3:44 PM | Report abuse

Richardson might make a good cabinet secretary, as he has in the past. He has not demonstrated an ability to manage a national political campaign, so I don't think he'd make a good DNC chair.

Howard Dean gets too much credit for his so-called "50-state strategy". Rahm Emmanuel brought in candidates and money that led to success in many congressional districts in 2006, notably in the northeast.

Posted by: lartfromabove | November 10, 2008 3:43 PM | Report abuse

As a long time Republican Mr. Deans candidacy moved me and led to my contributing to his candidacy and doing leg work for him during the primaries in 2004. I think his recoginition that the democratic party was too narrow and appealed to too few parts of the country was the key to the rejuvination of the party as a more moderate, less extreme party. He is a master strategist with the gumption to see things thru.

Posted by: chet_brewer | November 10, 2008 3:40 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean and his 50 State Strategy have done more for the democratic party than he can possibly be thanked for. And, to his own great credit, Obama was an early believer (unlike the Clinton faction).

I don't blame Mr. Dean for stepping down in deference to a choice of Obama's for DNC Chairman.

I wonder if Obama and Emanuel have a "secret agreement"...Rahm will serve as CoS for two years then move on. I don't think Mr. Emanuel will last longer than that as Cos.

Just my opinion.

Posted by: dastubbs | November 10, 2008 3:39 PM | Report abuse

VA's term limit can be explained in a few words: we don't want to be stuck with idiots for any longer than necessary.

While popular, Kaine, Gilmore, and others were not exactly the best politicians in the world.

Posted by: maaraj | November 10, 2008 3:37 PM | Report abuse

Sorry to see him go, Dr. Howard Dean will be remembered as the Barry Goldwater of the modern Democratic Party. He brought us back from the wilderness with his use of the internet for fundraising and organizing and he reminded Democrats that progressive ideals were middle of the road American ideals! Thank you Howard Dean!!!

Posted by: SinnedNoir | November 10, 2008 3:32 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is the type of American that the world loves and admires. He is intelligent, fair-minded and he puts people at ease. Rahm Emanuel seems the opposite. He looks sinister, secretive and insecure. There is something wrong with any one who can blow up at Howard Dean. I am very surprised that Obama has such close links with Rahm Emanuel. Obviously Dean is not in his close inner circle. Let us hope we are wrong about Emanuel.

Posted by: danigo | November 10, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

I have seen David Plouffe mentioned in a few comments. He would be great for that organizational componant if they go forward with that model. The actual chair should be someone with a recognizable face. As a serious Obama supporter from back before the primaries I pay great reverance for what David Plouffe accomplished but I honestly didn't even know what he looked like until I say an article after the election.

I think the best person for the job would be Tim Kaine. He got lots of face time as a surrogate for Obama. He will be without a job because you can only serve one consecutive term as governor of VA. He is a VA politician, so we send the signal that we are happy to have VA in the Democratic column. He has demonstrated that he understands the importance of good organizing, considering it was his organization, with operatives he convinced to stay in VA that allowed for the Democrats to make gains in the VA legislature this year.

There is no better choice for DNC Chairman than Tim Kaine.

Posted by: cmb1 | November 10, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Blarg writes
"I agree with Bondosan; Plouffe would be a good pick for DNC Chair. He'd make a much better DNC Chair than he would a senator, despite CC's post last week."

I was speculating along those lines too.

Posted by: bsimon1 | November 10, 2008 3:25 PM | Report abuse

Dean's departure may be a mistake if it turns out that it causes the 50-state strategy to implode in the midterm elections.

Secretary of state: Bill Clinton. He's already well-known for his domestic affairs, so why not add some foreign ones as well? :P

Dog: Obama should adopt two of the two thousand greyhounds that Massachusetts voters made homeless last week. Great message for a noble and very old breed, they make great pets, especially with kids, are hypoallergenic, universal canine blood donors, and the breed needs all the positive publicity it can get in the face of the animal rights wackos.

Posted by: Tannim123 | November 10, 2008 3:16 PM | Report abuse

Will the 50 state strategy continue or will the Ds again be the bicoastal party, ceding the entire middle to the Rs?

Dean as Surgeon General? Interesting, "notBubba".

Posted by: mark_in_austin | November 10, 2008 3:14 PM | Report abuse

So if Dean has been publicly saying for a while that he will not seek another term, why is this news (although I admit it is news to me) and why did the source require anonymity to confirm it? All very, very confusing.
Beyond that, seems to me pretty clear that that boy Dean "done good" and deserves thanks from the Democrats (and enmity from Republicans?).

Posted by: wmw4 | November 10, 2008 3:12 PM | Report abuse

I am so relieved that the communist agenda of Obama nor the socialist McCain will be enacted in the next congress. It seems we are back to 1992 and a replay of the clinton years. this time we have the second first black president.

all the players remain the same. some change. clintonism without the criminality. substitute thugery instead. crimes to follow. stay tuned.

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

With Emanuel as "Chief of Staff", I can't blame Howard for bailing. Having known Howard, this Vermonter can see past the public facade. The "real" Howard is a "middle of the road" fiscal conservative who constantly fought the Democrats' left wing here in Vermont.

He'd be great at Health and Human Services or Surgeon General. He hasn't practiced in some years and his license would need to be renewed should he care to go back to "doctoring".

Bottom line is the "50 State" idea was his and it worked no matter how many four letter words Emanuel used.

Posted by: NotBubba | November 10, 2008 3:08 PM | Report abuse

I'm glad to see so many people given Dean his props. Without Howard Dean, the Democrats would probably still be the minority party sitting on the sidelines scratching our heads about why the folks we didn't court won't vote for us, even though our platform would be better for the country.

Like the parent of a shy kid, Howard Dean forced us to go to the dance, and lo and behold...lots of red-state Americans were delighted to dance with us!

Thanks, Howard. And good luck with your next endeavor.

Posted by: WilyArmadilla | November 10, 2008 3:07 PM | Report abuse

did a great job in modernizing the DNC... and turned out to be a good strategist. I also thank him for not allowing the Clintonistas from taking over the apparatus.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | November 10, 2008 3:04 PM | Report abuse

klondike2, I think you have a winner!!! What a cutie! I trust you are in contact with the Official Obama Pet Search Committee.

Seconding all the posts that shout out to Howard Dean how much we owe him for the Democrats' restored national viability.

Posted by: herzliebster | November 10, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

I scream, you scream, we all scream for Howard Dean!

Posted by: koolkat_1960 | November 10, 2008 3:00 PM | Report abuse

Dean deserves way more credit than he gets. His 50-state strategy was prescient, as was his understanding that there was a lot of fertile new ground for the party to cultivate. I hope he gets a post in the Obama administration. He deserves it.

Posted by: tmaffolter | November 10, 2008 2:59 PM | Report abuse

Democrats owe him a debt of gratitude.

Posted by: highwayscribery1 | November 10, 2008 2:56 PM | Report abuse

If I recall correctly (and I might not) most of the complaints that I saw about the 50-state strategy were that it was expensive. Dean wanted to set up the Democrats for years to come with a good party structure, whereas Rahmbo wanted to win now and then think long term. It was your classic long term vs. short term battle. Someone please correct me if I am incorrect though.

Posted by: alkuth | November 10, 2008 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Go soak your head in maple syrup, Howard Dean. We here in Florida will always detest the way you machined away 50% of our primary votes for HRC. No matter if she would have been elected, you will always be stained with the clumsy, sexist stain of a bought and sold pol. You went against the voters' wishes with trumped up procedural objections to valid votes in Fla. and Mich. We hate you and cheer your departure. (Maybe those Deaniac orange hats can be found and sold on eBay? that might give you something to do more in keeping with your skills and talents.) Dirt is better than Howard Dean.

Posted by: OrlandoNan | November 10, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean managed to get past the political infighting and accomplish two things:

1) as Party chairman, the 50 state plan
2) as Presidential candidate, use of the Internet for fund raising and communication

The election of Barack Obama benefited greatly from these accomplishments.

Posted by: pbarnett52 | November 10, 2008 2:46 PM | Report abuse

I agree with Bondosan; Plouffe would be a good pick for DNC Chair. He'd make a much better DNC Chair than he would a senator, despite CC's post last week.

Too bad Dean's retiring. During his single term as DNC Chair, the Democrats gained 11 seats in the Senate and 55 in the House, in addition to winning the presidency. That's not all due to Dean's work, but he deserves some of the credit. I'd prefer for him to stay in the DNC for another term, since his strategies work so well.

Posted by: Blarg | November 10, 2008 2:43 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: Treasury | November 10, 2008 2:41 PM | Report abuse

jjedif... It's Howard (not John) Dean. But, yes, I agree with you and others that Howard Dean did us all a favor with his "50 state strategy." I think every state in the nation felt like they were a part of the election this year.

Posted by: joy2 | November 10, 2008 2:33 PM | Report abuse

Howard Dean is the unsung hero of the 2008 election and needs to get a lot more credit than he has so far. No way McCaskill takes such a partisan role in 50/50 MO and Sebelius has the same problem in redder than red Kansas. After the abuse heaped on Richardson during the primaries he could use the rehabilitation, but Kaine is the safer pick. Whoever takes over, Dean has laid a fabulous framework.

Posted by: Omyobama | November 10, 2008 2:31 PM | Report abuse

Is it known if he is stepping down to join the Civilian Security Force?

Posted by: leapin | November 10, 2008 2:29 PM | Report abuse

David Plouffe would be the ideal choice.

Dean launched the 50-state strategy, and Plouffe could fine-tune it to the point where Democrats could actually pick up seats in the 2010 mid-terms.

Posted by: Bondosan | November 10, 2008 2:27 PM | Report abuse

Dean can be thanked for the victories in 2006.
Emmanuel's picks went down to defeat.

Posted by: edlharris | November 10, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Although it is completely appropriate that Dean leave, the Democratic Party does Mr. Dean a debt of gratitude for infusing some disaffected sectors of the electorate with enthusiasm. In 2004 I contributed to a presidential candidate for the first time, and that candidate was John Dean. This year I contributed to Barack Obama.

Posted by: jjedif | November 10, 2008 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Richardson. The Democrats need to solidify their hold on Hispanics. Besides, Richardson brings experience from nearly every part of government.

I have often wondered if Democrats hated Dean's 50-state strategy because they were afraid it would enlarge the party and by definition bring in new ideas and new philosophies. The better to be a big fish in a small pond mentality. You cannot be a left-wing 50-state party, you have to be a moderate party or a multi-wing party to be a 50-state party. Notice how well the Republicans are doing in the Northeast. It was only last winter that the Clinton camp openly ridiculed Obama's claim that he would expand the playing field. North Carolina and Indiana anybody? Heck, Montana was close and their economy is doing just fine. If McCain had not been from Arizona, that state may have fallen too.

Posted by: caribis | November 10, 2008 2:23 PM | Report abuse

Interesting that, despite the resurgence of the Democratic party and the ascension of Obama - touted as a Washington outsider - to the Presidency, the knock against Dean is that he doesn't play well with the established political class.

To wit, what Obama touted as a strength is being seen as a weakness in Dean, at least in a sense.

Whoever takes over this position will have the difficult task of preventing midterm losses in 2010. I'm not sure Kaine's political career could survive that possible failure. I think Richardson's could.

Posted by: JohninMpls | November 10, 2008 2:21 PM | Report abuse

and Brady would be perfect for Doghouse Chair...

sorry but this guy is perfect for that position

He is from Iowa (and the Obama's owe Iowa)
Is a rescue
Wounded in his youth.
Brings youth to the White (dog)House
Is being recommended from petfinder AND a guy from NH (me...but Chris...if you helped pick the dog...I see an exclusive set of interviews coming for the next few years).
Has Barack's ears!

Part Lab part Poodle (they believe) perfect for the girls.

I am pitching hard after finding this guy on Petfinder.

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 2:00 PM | Report abuse

Richardson would be perfect for DNC if he would take it.

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 1:56 PM | Report abuse


because (and I was not a fan during the primaries) Clinton is the most effective and positive choice if she would take it ...for Sec of State.

No one would bring what she would bring to the negotiating table and position for the most effective 4 years in that office.

and like I say I was not a fan during the primary...but there is no arguing that anyone would come close to making that as effective a position as she would.

Imagine what putting her in that role would mean to those who that role deals with.

Posted by: klondike2 | November 10, 2008 1:55 PM | Report abuse

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