During all of the inane conversations about DNC Chairman Howard Dean's supposed inability to raise sufficient dollars for his committee one key fact is too-often overlooked: Dean is bringing in significantly more hard dollars than any previous Democratic Party Chairman, as The Hotline notes:
Republican committees have outraised Democrats by more than $100 million, but the GOP right now has a total cash on hand advantage of about $22M. The committee that has most improved its fundraising: Howard Dean's Democratic National Committee, which has raised twice as much hard money as in '01-02. (The party had also raised about $50m in largely unregulated contributions by this point in that cycle.) [emphasis added]
I'm not entirely certain what more Howard Dean could do to mitigate the intraparty attacks about his tenure as DNC chairman. Would his detractors prefer he triple Terry McAuliffe's mark from this point in 2002? Quadruple it?
There can be honest discussions about how the Democratic Party should spend its money -- perhaps debates that even occur in the public realm (though certainly not with anonymous slams). However, the debate over Howard Dean's ability to foster activism and contributions from the party base is over and Dean must receive credit for his tremendous success in increasing the Democratic Party's ability to raise hard dollar donations.