2/07/2005

Shut Up and Shovel the Money

Yahoo's political piece entitled Some Dems nervous as Dean resurges" has some interesting tidbits from ranking Democrats. Specifically, they seem to have some misgivings with regard to Howard Dean being the public face of the party:

"We're not looking for a spokesperson in the chairmanship," 2004 nominee John Kerry said on NBC.

Terry McAuliffe, current DNC chairman, says he gave Dean a two-hour presentation on what a party chairman does. "Your job is to raise money and do the mechanics," he said in an interview. "It is not your job ... to set policy."

In recent TV appearances, Dean offered his opinion on two Cabinet votes and disagreed with Senate minority leader Harry Reid of Nevada on whether Antonin Scalia would be tolerable as chief justice of the Supreme Court. Reid later noted his constituency is "much larger" than the 447-member DNC. Nancy Pelosi, the House minority leader, said she thinks Dean "would take his lead from us."
While any political organization would be happy to have Dean's organizing ability, fundraising credentials and zealous supporters, all of these wonderful things come at a price - Dean's mouth. It's not clear to me that Dean would be willing to play the role in the manner that folks like Pelosi and Kerry seem to want him to - behind the scenes shovelling cash into the furnace.

Dean knows that his rise to national prominence has been the result of the cult of personality that sprang up around him in the run-up to the Democratic primaries. That cult requires regular red meat in the form of policy pronouncements and withering attacks on business-as-usual. If Dean takes a back seat to Reid and Pelosi - or allows that perception to take hold - the Uruk'Hai that emerged from the bowels of the earth to wage war in his name are likely to return to the depths from whence they came, waiting for the summons of yet another white-haired old man promising to re-make the world.