DNC Chairman Howard Dean made the decision himself to back mayoral candidate and sitting Lieutenant Governor Mitch Landrieu (D-LA), sources reveal.Andy Sullivan asks:
Dean came to the decision to back the white challenger, over the African-American incumbent Nagin, despite concerns amongst senior black officials in the Party that the DNC should stay neutral.
The DNC teams actively worked to defeat Nagin under the auspice of the committee's voting rights program.
The party's field efforts also coincided with a national effort by Democrat contributors to support Landrieu.
Landrieu had outraised Nagin by a wide margin - $3.3 million to $541,980.
Preliminary campaign finance reports indicate many of Landrieu’s contributions came from out of state white Democrat leaders and financiers, including a $1,000 contribution from Sen. Ben Nelson's (D-NE) PAC.
The defeat of Mitch Landrieu is the latest setback for Dean's often criticized field operation.
In his victory speech late Saturday night, Nagin praised President Bush.
"You and I have probably been the most vilified politicians in the country. But I want to thank you for moving that promise that you made in Jackson Square forward," Nagin said.
How much more damage can Howard Dean do to the Democrats before someone finally pulls the plug?I have a different question: How did the Democrats select someone whose own presidential campaign imploded so spectacularly to head their national committee?? If Drudge is accurate (an admittedly not-so-small if), it's just another example of Dean's utter lack of competence to run anything larger than a small New England state. Between his tin ear and his inability to even suck-up correctly, Dean is a disaster, regardless of how much money he's helped raise.
If Drudge is right, and the DNC made a decision that supporting Landrieu was in the national party's best interest, it should've explained why, and openly supported his candidacy. Since Katrina, Nagin's own incompetence is a matter of public record, so this wouldn't have been all that difficult. Instead, by conducting a shadow campaign, the DNC leaves itself open to the dual charges of racism (from blacks) and pandering to/fear of its black constituents (from whites). Only in Dean's America.
If Drudge is wrong - a not totally-farfetched possibility - it still does nothing to change the fact that Dean's leadership does nothing but help Republican claims that the Democrats can't be trusted to run the country. Say what you want about Ken Mehlman, but when was the last time you saw him having to furiously backpedal from something he'd said or done?
Besides, if you're a Democrat and you want to secretly work against someone, how do you overlook the 800-pound gorilla named Hillary? If Dean had any ability whatsoever to lead his party he'd be working day and night to either draft Al Gore 2.0TM or come up with someone else who can prevent the debacle-in-the-making of a Hillary nomination. There is no other potential nominee - including John Kerry - who will cause so many people to vote Republican who would rather not.
Given the seemingly overwhelming feeling among many Americans that a Republican administration and a Republican-controlled Congress have done a less-than-stellar job with their stewardship of the country (to put it mildly), it's absolutely astonishing that the Democrats haven't already locked and loaded substantial gains in the mid-term elections and a solid lead going into the 2008 presidential race.
Absolutely astonishing until you realize that the guy who's running the Democratic store is "an arrogant, devious, self-righteous, and politically maladroit bully," that is.