Reidblog [The Reid Report blog]

Think at your own risk.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Shalalawalla Washington?
With Tom Daschle out as HHS chief, it's going to be tough to find someone with his unique skill set (knowledge of healthcare plight plus knowledge of buried bodies on the Hill...) Rumor has it Team Obama may be considering bringing back yet another Clinton administration figure: University of Miami President Donna Shalala. She surely deserves to be on the short list, and UM is a premier medical educational institution. Apparently, HoDo and B.O. are not tight, to say the least, so there will likely be no Dean scream in the Health and Human Services department, which might not be so bad, since I'm not sure how effective Dean would be at wrangling the Hill. Still, liberals would love to have him.

Others apparently in contention include Maryland Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and Tennessee Governor Phil Bredesen.

The bigger problem, however, will be replacing Daschle's potential Cap Hill mojo. As TIME's Karen Tumulty puts it:
it is probably more important to watch what happens with the second job that Daschle had been slated to hold — that of head of a new White House Office of Health Reform. Thus far, Administration officials have not been willing to say if that White House job will even exist in the wake of Daschle's decision to end his bid for health secretary amid reports that he had failed to pay $128,000 of income taxes on time. But that White House office was where Daschle's expertise and clout would have mattered the most. While his former deputy Jeanne Lambrew is widely respected for her policy knowledge, no one still there has Daschle's savvy and connections for shepherding legislation through the Senate, where the likes of Ted Kennedy and Max Baucus have their own strongly held notions of what reform should look like. His stature and close relationship with Obama also would have helped fight the impulses of some in the Administration — including chief economic adviser Larry Summers — to delay the push for health reform until after the economy gets fixed.
In short, we may soon be thanking the New York Times editorial board for killing healthcare reform...

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posted by JReid @ 12:13 AM  
Thursday, June 05, 2008
The 50-state strategy wins the Obama primary
Howard Dean, who many Democrats, myself included, have considered to be a dismal failure as DNC president (his pitiful fundraising being the biggest problem, which is ironic because he was the Obama of fundraising before Obama was the Obama of fundraising... but also his over-sanctioning of Fla or) will keep his job under the new boss, Barack Obama. But Obama exacted a price: the DNC will now have to live by the same rules as his own campaign: no money from PACs or federal lobbyists.

Dean probably was advantaged by being outside the Clinton orbit (where Terry McAuliffe, Don Fowler and other former chairmen reside.) He also scores a victory for his 50 state strategy, which D.C. insiders hate (they like the swing state strategy that focuses resources on about 17 states, the way my old outfit under Harold Ickes, ACT, did in 2004). But Dean clearly believes in his strategy, which is similar to Obama's, of building strong party infrastructure in all 50 states, red or blue, for the long term benefit of the party, and the short term benefit to down-ticket races. He was proved right three times this year, in Mississippi, Louisiana and Dennis Hastert's former district in Illinois.

And this is one more indication that the Clinton name is being unscrewed from the Democratic dressing room door.

The Politico says the Obama-Dean team is remaking the political map.

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posted by JReid @ 6:32 PM  
Thursday, January 31, 2008
Hastings to Howard: 'let my people go ... to the convention'
I interviewed a feisty Congressman Alcee Hastings on the day before the Florida primary (for a stringer story I did for American Urban Radio Networks,) and he had some sharp words for DNC chairman Howard Dean and the Rules Committee, who remain intransigent (for now) about not seating Florida's 210 delegates to the Democratic convention in August. Hastings said he would be firing off a letter to Dean after the polls closed on Tuesday, and fire he did. Here's the text of the letter (the letter is linked here in pdf form):
January 29, 2008

The Honorable Howard Dean, M.D.
Chairman
Democratic National Committee
430 S. Capitol St. SE
Washington DC 20003

Dear Governor Dean:

I write to urge your assistance in reinstating Florida’s 210 delegates to the upcoming Democratic National Convention (DNC) this August in Denver. Before today’s polls even opened, over 400,000 Democrats had voted early or by absentee. Before the polls close this evening, it is very possible that over one million Democratic voters in Florida will have cast their votes for the candidate of their choice. Given this deep interest in this year’s election, the DNC Rules Committee must act swiftly to avoid the further disenfranchisement of Florida’s Democratic voters.

You have publicly stated that our nominee will have the ultimate decision to reinstate Florida’s delegates at the National Convention. Further, one of our two front-runners has already stated that she will work to seat Florida’s delegates in Denver while the other broke the four state pledge and has been running TV ads in Florida since the South Carolina Democratic debate. As such, the only logical, responsible, and fair thing for the DNC to do is to reinstate Florida’s delegates immediately. In doing so, the DNC would be implementing a policy which just about everyone has already agreed is going to happen in any case. More importantly for the DNC and all of us involved, it will begin the difficult task of restoring faith in the Democratic Party in Florida, something which has been lost due to DNC actions.

Indeed, you and I have differences of opinions regarding the implementation of the DNC rules and the way our party runs its presidential primary system. But what we have never disagreed on is the need to ensure that Florida voters turn out and vote for our Democratic candidates in November.

The enormous turnout in this year’s primary contests is clear indication that voters are engaged and interested in this year’s election, and we have little to doubt that turnout in November will be at record levels. But if Florida’s Democratic voters continue to believe that the Democratic Party does not care about their vote, using Florida only as a fundraising ATM and not as a resource of ideas, then they may not only stay home in November, but many may change their party affiliations and some could actively campaign against us. I hope that you will agree with me that we can not afford this scenario playing out during the general election.

Despite the efforts of many, the country will be watching to see what happens in Florida today. The DNC created a situation in which it has been widely accepted that Florida Republicans count and Florida Democrats do not. I sincerely hope that you will work with me and my Florida colleagues to rectify this by reinstating Florida’s delegates to the national convention sooner rather than later. For me, yesterday is not soon enough.

Sincerely,


Alcee L. Hastings
Member of Congress


CC: The Honorable Bill Nelson and Florida Democratic House Members

Karen Thurman, Chairwoman, Democratic Party of Florida

I can tell you that Congressman Kendrick Meek and other elected Democrats are actively seeking delegates in their districts, and encouraging people to fill out applications and run. They're doing that because no serious person believes that Dean, Donna Brazille and company would have the cojones to disenfranchise 1.7 million Florida Democrats who turned out in record numbers to cast their ballots on January 29th. Hastings' implied threat, that Florida Dems might just stay home in November if Dean doesn't come correct, is by no means idle. The only way for a Democrat to win Florida is the way Bill Clinton did it: with 60 percent or better turnout in the only three counties that matter for non-Republicans: Miami-Dade, Broward (especially) and Palm Beach. Even a little dampening in enthusiasm will prove fatal for the Democratic nominee.

Of course, either nominee will seat the Florida delegation, no doubt. But Howard Dean could help himself tremendously if he did it himself. And soon.

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posted by JReid @ 2:38 PM  
ReidBlog: The Obama Interview
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