Howard Dean Picks a Winner

November 26th, 2007

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In 2006, DNC Chairman Howard Dean ordered the Party to spend a bunch of money in Philadelphia. He poured money in so local organizers could put together an effective operation. For this, he was pilloried by folks inside his own party.

The catch is that this wasn’t the City of Brotherly Love – it was Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Back then, Dean was criticized by many in and out of the Democratic Party, for his “50-State Strategy.” He was widely mocked for his focus on party building in deep red states. Why, they asked, was Dean throwing away money by paying people to “wander around Utah and Mississippi and pick their nose?”

Dean believed, as we did, that it was folly for a major party to write off large swaths of the United States, and that the only way to build a national party was to make it truly national.

Dean has, it appears, been completely vindicated. First, the dire warnings that his spending on the long term would imperil the Party’s short term prospects in 2006 were laid to rest with the rout that turned the Congress over to the Democrats. Now, with the retirement of John Warner and Trent Lott, it appears that the Democrats have the real prospect of picking up a Senate seats in Virginia and, of all places, Mississippi.

This is a truly extraordinary turnaround – until recently, the Democrats held only four Senate seats in the 13 states of the Old Confederacy, two in Arkansas, one in Louisiana, and one in Florida. With Jim Webb’s victory in Virginia in 2006, Mary Landrieu’s bright prospects in 2008, and the two new openings, Democrats have a real chance of holding 7 Deep South seats in 2009, with others perhaps on the way (I’m looking at you, Kay Bailey Hutchison).

Combine that with some southern House pickups and Democrat Governors in Arkansas, Louisiana, North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia, not to mention other red states like Montana, Kansas and Wyoming, it is now hard to argue that Dean’s vision of a truly national party isn’t taking hold.

I’ll bet Michael Moore (not the Sicko guy, the former AG of Mississippi and the likely Democratic Senate nominee) is pretty happy that Howard Dean helped his state party rebuild. And you’ve got to admit – Chairman Dean really knows how to pick ‘em.