Dean Under Fire for 48-State Strategy


Dr. He-Who-Shall-Not-Be-Named, as Jon has come to call Howard Dean around me and Buck, since just a mention of his name to Florida folks Gets Us Started, is taking well-deserved criticism. Time’s Tim Padgett asks all the good questions: Does Dean really plan to pursue a 48-State Strategy for victory, and if so, where is his leadership? More importantly, will Dean cost the Democratic candidate the votes of Florida and Michigan? We’ve been wondering the same things.
Florida’s famously feckless electoral system usually deserves the ridicule it gets. But not this time. Instead of the typical jokes about Flori-duh, the Sunshine State debacle currently gripping the Democratic Party has evoked reminders of the Dean Scream -- the notorious petulance of Democratic National Committee (DNC) Chairman Howard Dean. He, along with the other sage bosses of the DNC, has left Democratic voters in what is arguably the nation’s most crucial swing state feeling dissed, disenfranchised and, it now seems, disinclined to back whomever the Democratic candidate is in November. And that could harm the party’s White House bid as severely as any butterfly ballot or hanging chad ever did.
According to a poll conducted this week for various Florida media, almost a quarter of Florida Democrats say they’ll be “less likely to support” the party’s nominee if their state’s delegates aren’t seated at the Democratic National Convention in Denver in August -- and by seated they mean counted in the final tally to choose the presidential nominee.

I don’t agree with those who would withhold their votes from the Democratic candidate over this. But I do understand where they’re coming from. Dean claimed it was of vital importance that states like Iowa and New Hampshire, with tiny homogeneous populations, get to go one-on-one with the candidates because this intimate voter contact is what makes democracy work. He then forbade any candidate to be heard or seen by Florida voters.

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