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Thursday, November 06, 2008

Washington Monthly's Steve Benen links to the latest of the Howard Dean retrospectives.

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.
Like a lot of people my age, Dean was both the first candidate I ever gave money to ($50) and the first Democrat I ever really believed in. While I see more clearly now than then that he probably couldn't have beat Bush in '04—though I remember some pretty good arguments with Shankar on this point—in terms of both organizational strategy and campaign aesthetics he helped pave the way for the Obama movement. And while the fifty-state stategy he instituted as chairman of the DNC was certainly lucky in our choice of nominee—though we likely still would have won with Hillary, it would have been on a much more traditional playing field—it's fundamentally the right strategy, the winning strategy, as the increasingly regional Republicans are about to learn the hard way.