Thursday, January 29, 2004

In Shake-Up, Dean Names Gore Ally to Run Campaign

New York Times

The effect of losing Joe Trippi is huge for the Dean campaign - much bigger than, say, Kerry's changes a few months ago. As far as I could tell, Trippi was the voice, the mind, and the spirit behind the Dean campaign. I remember reading this USA Today profile of Trippi and understanding the Dean campaign a lot better, so check that out if you want a feel for his power over the campaign. I don't know how they're going to adjust to such a big change so late in the game, and the exchange of power won't be smooth. Quote:

". . . after a year of building the Dean juggernaut, from a staff of seven to what he has often called 'the greatest grass-roots movement in the history of American politics,' Mr. Trippi refused to be sidelined, and walked out after what aides described as an emotional staff meeting here.

. . .

Mr. Trippi, described by friends as furious with Dr. Dean, spent the evening dining with staff members, before the 14-hour drive back to his Maryland farm on Thursday.

. . .

. . . losing Mr. Trippi — who may be followed by several top loyal aides — is risky, since he has become a sort of cult hero to the legions of Deaniacs at the core of the movement."

And his replacement makes Dean's whole "I'm an outsider" thing laughable:

"The selection of Mr. Neel, a former telecommunications lobbyist who was an aide to Mr. Gore for nearly 20 years, on Capitol Hill and in the Clinton White House, is a stark shift for an insurgent campaign powered largely by political neophytes whose main message is overthrowing the establishment. He is the ultimate Washington insider, not unlike like those Dr. Dean derides daily."

Whenever I hear "I'm a Washington outsider so I won't bow to special interests" (remember Bush did it too), all I hear is "I'm inexperienced, but that means I haven't sold out. Yet."

Also, check out this Washington Post piece about Dean and the media. It's interesting.

One more thing: The Dean-O-Phobe blog over at the New Republic is calling it quits. He thinks Dean's campaign is over - even if Dean keeps the delegate lead, other candidates will pool their delegates and give them to Kerry. Moreover, he feels Deanism, or "the belief that some combination of technology and Dean's charisma can somehow suspend all the known laws of politics, that liberals can wish away unpleasant facts about the American electorate, and that the failure to do so represents cowardice, betrayal, and the absence of principle," is a failed theory. I'll miss posts like this one:

"CAVEAT EMPTOR: Howard Dean, describing his credentials to be president to Diane Sawyer last night:

I am not a perfect person, believe me, I have all kinds of warts. I wear ... cheap suits sometimes, I say things that I probably ought not to say ... [minutes later:] Now look, I ... I mean, was it over the top? Sure it was over the top. Do I do things that are a little nutty? Sure I do things that are a little nutty.

Homer Simpson, describing his credentials to be Lurleen Lumpkin's manager:

Lurleen: Homer, I want you to be my manager.

Homer: Really?! Well, I should warn you, I'm not great with figures.

Lurleen: That's okay.

Homer: I make a lot of stupid decisions.

Lurleen: Nobody's perfect.

Homer: I did bad in school.

Lurleen: I didn't even go.

Homer: My personal hygeine has been described as..."

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