Time to lower expectations...and get to work.
I am simply ecstatic about the election of Howard Dean as DNC Chairman. As I have written earlier, I believe that he is not only the best of the bunch offered up, but also a singular hope for a renewal of our Party. However, I have a heartfelt piece of advice for everyone who shares my excitement about the good doctor: lower your expectations, and get your ass to work.
Those of us on the Party’s left, who see in Dean a revival of principles-led politics from the Democrats must be sober and honest about what Dean’s victory does, and doesn’t mean. Overcoming the field of candidates and shoring up support from State and local party organizations and leaders was a remarkable feat for someone who had just been famously blown out of the water in the primaries. This achievement demonstrates that there is overwhelming support, at all levels of the party, for a reinvestment in grassroots activism. It also means that Democrats want to see a party that goes on the offensive and is willing to consistently critique the Administration.
I believe that the party can only regain government by moving decisively to the left. Only boldness of word and an aggressive reframing of the events of the world will allow us to beat back the Republican slide. However, even if in his heart of hearts Dean agrees, he will only be able to deliver on the above vision of the party if we make it possible for him to do so.
Certainly, this is a Chairman who will listen to the Left. But if he wants to keep his job and deliver on some of his promises, he will have to listen to our opponents within the party as well. And if we want him to keep his job and keep his ear, we have to raise our own volume, organize on the ground and work to shift political discourse. These are all efforts that the new Chair is likely to be supportive of, but a leader is only as effective as the movement he champions.
Let’s get to work.