Chief Of Staff Howard Dean Would Fire Up The Left
It's been widely reported that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel will soon leave to run for mayor of Chicago. The White House is said to be unhappy with the timing of Mayor Daley's announcement that he will not seek reelection, but they should be thrilled.
Emanuel's reputation as an iron-fisted dictator has probably, on balance, been helpful to President Obama's agenda, but the progressive left, Obama's natural supporters, have been unhappy with Emanuel's willingness to cut unsavory deals with Republicans who will never support the president.
The biggest problem facing Democrats in the 2010 midterms is that their base of progressive, liberal voters is taking a nap... and arguably a well deserved one.
The White House has either failed to deliver or delivered watered down versions of many of Obama's lofty campaign promises. Health care looks like a massive gift to Blue Cross. Wall Street reforms are as toothless as a new born baby. We're still killing the wrong people and Guantanamo still has movie night on Thursdays.
The White House is running out of time to stop the expected Republican tsunami in November, but in view of Emanuel's anticipated departure, there is one name that could put the Democrats chances back in play: Howard Dean.
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Howard Dean and Rahm Emanuel do not like each other. They butted heads over Dean's "fifty state" strategy while he was head of the DNC. Dean's goal was to expand Democratic opportunities in all fifty states while Emanuel, then a Congressman from Illinois and chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, wanted to focus resources and energy on winnable seats.
Dean guided the Democratic party to huge victories in 2006 and 2008 but as long as Rahm Emanuel was running the show at the White House, he would be relegated to appearances on "Countdown With Keith Olbermann" and the oft lied about desire to "spend more time with his family."
Howard Dean is a beloved figure on the left. He's seen as every bit as tough as Emanuel but infinitely more principled. He is smart, tenacious, and not afraid to stand up to the people that would like nothing more than to see Barack Obama as a one term president.
Whether it's true or not lefites believe that if Howard Dean had been Chief of Staff the promises of then candidate Obama might have resulted in a few more Rose Garden signing ceremonies.
For Obama this should be a slam-dunk decision. The appointment of Howard Dean would send a strong message to his disillusioned base that he's going to move back to the left. An energized liberal base will not stop inevitable Republican gains but they may very well keep Nancy Pelosi in the Speaker's chair and Congressional subpoenas away from the Oval Office.
President Obama's reaching out to the GOP has only resulted in alienating his base. He gives the GOP much of what they say they want and they still vote "no."
The strategy, largely conceived by Emanuel, to seek Republican support for his initiatives, was flawed from the beginning. The GOP will not give the despised President Obama kudos for anything. If Barack Obama personally sliced off Osama bin Laden's testicles and nailed them to a tree, the GOP would wonder why he didn't do it sooner.
Rahm Emmanuel thought that moving Obama to the middle would ensure a successful first term.
If given the chance, Howard Dean won't make that same mistake.