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Donkey Dysfunction | The Nation

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Unfiltered takes on politics, ideas and culture from Nation editors and contributors.

Donkey Dysfunction

It's always nice to be validated by the Washington Post.

A month ago I wrote a feature article for The Nation inquiring whether Democrats, particularly the DNC, had a sufficient plan for turning out the vote in the November elections.

DNC Chairman Tom McMahon responded by writing: "Contrary to the implication of the Berman article, the DNC has a sound political plan for 2006 that contemplates the investment of unprecedented resources."

But according to today's Post, some influential Democrats still aren't convinced. DCCC Chairman Rahm Emanuel, who's been publicly and privately sparring with DNC Chairman Howard Dean for months, is raising money to launch his own get-out-the-vote (GOTV) operation for House Democratic candidates, to be run by veteran operative Michael Whouley. Emanuel has stopped speaking to Dean, the Post reports, "because of their strategic differences." He wants less money to flow to Dean's 50 state strategy and more directed at specific House races.

In an interview with ABC News, Dean recently dismissed the feud as "mostly inside the Beltway gossip." But obviously it's grown to be much more than that--raising serious questions about whether Democrats are mature and organized enough to take advantage of the unprecedented electoral opportunities Republican failures have bestowed upon them.

Both Emanuel and Dean have pluses and minuses. Rahm is a ferocious behind-the-scenes operator and skilled tactician, no matter what you think of his hawkish-corporatist politics. Dean is a visionary who's admirably trying to rebuild the party at the local level and a hero to grassroots Democrats.

But right now, their dysfunctional relationship is threatening to damn the party in November.

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