Sunday, February 13, 2005

"Dean's victory marks historic shift in party"

This story by Dick Polman of the Philadelphia Inquirer is in print all over today. It takes a longer view of yesterday's event: "But Dean didn't get the job by wowing the activists with liberal red-meat rhetoric. He got it by talking nuts and bolts - promising, for example, to pump big bucks into the state parties and to energize the demoralized. Former skeptics seem satisfied; as Ed Kilgore, an activist in the party's moderate wing, remarked the other day: "Dean chose to stress the stuff that unites Democrats and causes the least amount of heartburn. It was tactically smart." Many grassroots Democrats also felt they owed him for services rendered in 2004. After flaming out on the presidential trail, Dean didn't sulk or disappear. Operating below the media radar, he set up an online money-raising operation and stumped all year for local candidates - more than 600 - in both red and blue states. "That produced an enormous amount of loyalty," said Philadelphia lawyer Mark Aronchick, a party activist who traveled frequently with Dean last year. "He proved the point, `What I was asking you to do for me, I'll do for you.' He showed that he was for real. And many of us liked the fact that he was turning on the younger generation - kids expressing all the idealism that we wanted our own children to have."

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