Let's Take a Moment to Give Howard Dean the Credit He Deserves
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As is often the case after an election, there are plenty of lists being published noting the various "winners and losers." If Howard Dean isn't very high on the list of winners, it's a dramatic oversight.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) on Wednesday touted its 50-state strategy, which sought to expand the party's competitiveness deep into red states, as one of the reasons for Democrats' success on Election Night.
DNC Chairman Howard Dean said at the National Press Club that President-elect Barack Obama "was right in 2004, when he said there are no red states and no blue states; there are only American states, and we all share the same values."
"You cannot be a national party if you are willing to write off entire parts of our country," Dean stated. "Based on that pretty straightforward idea, we changed the way our party ran campaigns and reached out to voters."
In a memo, the DNC touted Dean's strategy, which was often maligned at its inception. "Through the 50-state strategy the DNC put paid staff on the ground (2-4 per state) in every state from Alaska to Mississippi, New Mexico to Indiana," the DNC memo said. "When Obama became the nominee there were 183 people on the ground who have been there, been trained, and were working for the nominee. Through the course of this campaign, those staff worked to organize at least 892 field events around McCain-Palin events."
Now, I wouldn't necessarily say that Dean's strategy produced Tuesday's wins, but I do think it's fair to credit Dean with coming up with the game plan. He needed a candidate who was committed to "stretching" the map, and capable to taking the Democratic message to areas that usually don't give Democratic candidates a second look. And Barack Obama fit the bill nicely.