Thursday, January 29, 2004

Whole Lotta Shaking Over at Dean HDQ

The big news last light and this morning is Dean's decision to bring Washington establishmentarian and Mr. Fixit Roy Neel in to run his campaign ... or pick up the pieces. Apparently, Joe Trippi quit on Wednesday rather than take a secondary role to Neel, who ran Al Gore's effort in 2000 (uh-oh). According to the New York Times, "Mr. Neel was hired to bring order and professionalism to the decentralized -- often woefully disorganized -- troops that Mr. Trippi led more by inspiration than instruction."

(Jodi Wilgoren alert! The New York Times reporter who worked on the story being quoted here has a history of alleged bias against the Dean campaign. We'll be looking for other versions of this shakeup, to see the difference in the spin.)

The lack of Trippi organization, or the limits of Trippi inspiration, could be seen in the woeful showing in Iowa. All those volunteers ... all that cash ... producing that sad outcome.

And then there's the money problem. A money problem!? And we thought they had so much. But with over 500 staff to pay, outrageous spending on TV and other media in Iowa, the Times is reporting that "campaign officials said they were only confident of having enough money to compete through next week." (Salon is headlining the story as "Dean Goes Bust!") That means frittering away, oh, about $45 million in record time! And that would seem to make a prima facie case for Trippi's mismanagement. What seems even worse is that Mr. Trippi is a partner in the media firm that got paid for all that (ineffective) TV advertizing. In other words, he had something of a blind spot as far as Dean's media presence goes ... and was personally profiting from it.

Everyone is reporting that the Dean staff has been asked to forego checks for the next two weeks ... adding now a morale problem on top of everything else.

For his part, Trippi is described "as furious with Dr. Dean," but he was also quoted as saying, "The most important thing is to change this country's politics. I think Howard Dean is the one person who can do that."

Meanwhile, over in the snarky precincts of the Democratic Leadership Council, Al From & Co. are doing what they can to insure that the believers in Howard Dean will NEVER vote for another Democrat this year. The DLC site headlines Kerry's win in New Hampshire as "Another Vote for Hope Over Anger" and bashes Dean throughout the article as a threat to the big-business-ass-kissing that the DLC is best known for. The outrage over this treatment of Dean is spreading, too, from the DeanforAmerica blog to the Edwards & Clark sites as well. All these new people involved in the political process this year, inspired by candidates willing to stand up to Bush, are now being told to shut up and go away. Cool move, DLC!

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