Should have blogged this when it first appeared. While Everett Ehrlich’s WaPo article, Q: What will happen when a national political machine can fit on a laptop? A: See below (washingtonpost.com) makes the erroneous assumption that Dean is potentially building a third party, his article was nonetheless rather influential when it appeared (it is also rebutted to some extent over at GreaterDemocracy.org).
Here’s a key excerpt:
For all Dean’s talk about wanting to represent the truly “Democratic wing of the Democratic Party,” the paradox is that he is essentially a third-party candidate using modern technology to achieve a takeover of the Democratic Party. Other candidates – John Kerry, John Edwards, Wesley Clark – are competing to take control of the party’s fundraising, organizational and media operations. But Dean is not interested in taking control of those depreciating assets. He is creating his own party, his own lists, his own money, his own organization. What he wants are the Democratic brand name and legacy, the party’s last remaining assets of value, as part of his marketing strategy. Perhaps that’s why former vice president Al Gore’s endorsement of Dean last week felt so strange – less like the traditional benediction of a fellow member of the party “club” than a senior executive welcoming the successful leveraged buyout specialist. And if Dean can do it this time around, so can others in future campaigns.