Power and Politics - I am Not the Yellow Peril

The life and times of an Asian American activist who tells all the truth (and dishes news and analysis) but with a leftwards slant.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Gov. Dean's profile in NYTimes

Check the NYTimes Magazine's profile of Gov. Howard Dean - Matt Bai concurs with Dean's vision of a truly national, 50 state party. It covers Rep. Rahm Emanuel, Chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee's dustup with Dean over more money for the 2006 midterms (and continued grousing by Emanuel, who doesn't come off as well, IMO) and quotes from Donna Brazile and a look at Alaska's Democratic Party's ground game.

Interesting grafs include the insight that Dean was adopted by the disenfranchised outsiders of the party rather than him catering tot heir opinions:
These Democrats opposed the war in Iraq, but they were also against a party that seemed to care more about big donors and swing states than it did about them. Attracted to Dean’s fiery defiance of the Washington establishment, these voters adopted him as their cause before he had ever heard of a blog.

“What our campaign was about, not that I set out to make it this way, was empowering people,” Dean told me recently. “The ‘you have the power’ stuff — that just arose spontaneously when I realized what incredible potential there was for people to get active who had given up on the political process because they didn’t think either party was helping them.”

Another great glimpse at Dean's mind, and how his campaign evolved. I remember back in the winter of 2003, watching his speech to the California Democratic Party in San Diego on C-SPAN, how incredibly evocative and energizing his words were. His raw determination to fight, and to empower us, ending with those stirring words. More on Dean's affiliation with activists within the party:
The Colored Girls, as a whole, are unusually influential with Dean. It’s an odd pairing, given that Dean governed one of the whitest states in the country, but what Dean and these women share is resentment, sometimes subtle and sometimes not, of the elite Washington Democrats who have always run the national party. Activists like Flournoy and Brazile have attained star status in the party, but they have never thought of themselves as insiders. This is partly because they are black women in a party dominated by white men — men who often seem to prize them more as symbols of diversity than for their expertise. But it is also because the women came up in Democratic politics as local field operatives — that is, as young organizers who knocked on doors, principally for Jesse Jackson — in an era when all of the power in the party was concentrated in the hands of the Washington consultants who made TV ads and polled the electorate. Dean came to Washington vowing to take power from the insiders and give it, instead, to ground-level activists. “That’s our loyalty to Dean,” Brazile says. “He gets it.”
Reading this profile, I'm struck by how similar it is to a profile that Bai did of Andy Stern, president of the Service Employees International Union - both focusing on whether the two men are trying to rebuild their respective institutions by gutting most of the framework and rethinking long-held beliefs.

Also striking is how much more favorable this profile is than the one of Gov. Mark Warner (at least the photo is much much better.)



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