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Saturday, January 29, 2005

The DNC Eastern Regional Caucus

Posted by DavidNYC

Today I went to the DNC's eastern regional caucus in New York City, the last of the candidate forums for DNC chair before the big final meeting & vote in DC on Feb. 10-12. I'll be forthright (what's the point of blogging if you aren't?): This was not a scintillating event. Most of these candidates are known quantities - in terms of what they stand for, how they'll lead, and what they want to do as DNC chair. There were no surprises.

So what can I tell you? Simon Rosenberg clearly "gets it," as Markos is fond of saying. At a press event last night, he rightly observed that we need to focus on persuasion - which is how the GOP is successful - and not just turnout, which worked for us when we were the clear majority party. During the candidate forum, Simon was also the only candidate who spoke out in favor of changing the primary system - to strong applause.

I asked Simon (on Friday night) if we'd see him post a diary on DailyKos - after all, Barbara Boxer just stopped by. He admitted that he's "obsessed with blogs," and with the slight hesitation of a man who clearly has no free time to spare, he said he would. Don't worry, Simon, we won't hold it against you if you can't make it here before Feb. 12th - but win or lose, we'd like to see you visit DKos afterward.

Howard Dean, in the five minutes he had to speak, made me fall in love all over again. I have no doubt that he, too, gets it. I don't think anyone here needs me to tell them more about Dean.

I can also tell you that there is no chance Tim Roemer will be DNC chair. Roemer received the only jeers dished out all morning: When he said, "We shouldn't let special interest groups decide our position on choice," a number of attendees actually hissed. This one-trick pony (the 9/11 Commission) just ain't gonna win.

Marty Frost complained about "anonymous e-mails" attacking him for his campaign ads. Talk about not getting it: They were blog posts, not e-mails, and they were most certainly not anonymous.

In response, Donnie Fowler, Jr. opined that if you can't handle a "rough game of basketball" and still be friends the next day with the guys on your own team, then perhaps you aren't fit to take on the Republicans as DNC chair. I've got to agree - I don't want a whiner as the head of our party. I think that Fowler gets it - he spoke forcefully about not listening to the same old beltway consultants who keep making the same old mistakes - but I also think he can't win this race.

Wellington Webb seemed to think that understanding and working with the grassroots means going to lots of "Jeff-Jack dinners." Sorry, but I have to classify that as "not getting it" - Jefferson-Jackson events may occupy a useful niche in our party, but I don't think you can talk about the grassroots without talking about the netroots. Webb also went on record in favor of keeping NH and IA first, on their own. Weak.

And then, well, there's Ohio's David Leland. I have no idea what he's doing in this race, except perhaps to raise his profile, ala Carol Moseley-Braun's presidential run.

The bottom line is this: Dean, Frost and Rosenberg have a shot. (Rosenberg is trying to position himself as the guy whom everybody can like - if you have reservations about Dean or Frost, go with Simon!) Fowler seems like a bright guy, but it's just not his time yet. From what I've read, it seems like Webb just doesn't have much support. And Roemer and Leland are just dreaming at this point.

I personally would be happy with either Dean or Rosenberg - Dean because he's Dean, and Rosenberg because he's also a tireless worker who is clearly "one of us." (And he was also, in the few minutes I got to chat with him alone, exceptionally friendly. And he's a Mets fan.)

There were a ton of people who came via DrivingVotes, and I believe they'll be posting their reports via the MyDD diaries, so keep a lookout there if you want to see more coverage. And I should be headed to the big meeting next month as well. Give me a holler if you'll be going, too.

Posted at 09:59 PM in DNC Chair | Technorati