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The Establishment Corrals the Deaniacs

So it looks like Howard Dean is going to become the next leader of the Democratic National Committee (DNC). The official vote will not come until February 12, but Dean is stacking up endorsement after endorsement, as his top competitor former Rep. Martin Frost dropped out of the race on Tuesday.

Dean is also likely to bump off newcomer Donnie Fowler, who only recently entered the bid for the DNC post. Fowler, whose father Don led the DNC in the mid-1990s, served as John Kerry’s campaign strategist in Michigan in 2004.

Many Democrats seem to think Dean’s future ascendance to the throne of the DNC will breathe new life into their dead party. They are right about one thing — the party is out cold — even so, Dean is not likely to resurrect its corpse.

Washington insiders are ecstatic that Dean will rush his grassroots enthusiasts right through the stodgy gates of the Democratic establishment. They hope the ex-Vermont Governor can corral these anti-war Deaniacs, and keep them well situated within the confines of the party.

Letting them flee would be the worst mistake they could make. The Democrats need their money and party loyalty — indeed they are the Democrats only life-support.

Plus, Dean’s symbolic role will most likely eliminate any chance of a presidential run in 2008. Instead the Democrats will be able to say they have a “progressive” leading the fundraising wing of their party, so why throw Hilary Clinton into the cage to battle the Republicans?

In fact Democratic Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid has more to say with regard to Dem policy than Dean ever will. And here’s Harry Reid, anti-abortion, anti-gay, and pro-war.

Yet there are more to-dos about what Dean will bring to the party? What bunk.

The Democratic loyalists who will cast their vote for Howard Dean realize the DNC chair post is the best place to situate the mangy pest. Slap ol’ Dean in a position that has little to do with policy, and much to do with corporate fundraising, they say — we’ll at least get his grassroots cash.

Best of all it’ll shut the guy up. No more tangents. No more unscripted interviews. He’ll have to tout the party line at every turn. Which is all any of the party elite ever wanted anyway.

JOSHUA FRANK is the author of the forthcoming book, Left Out!: How Liberals Helped Reelect George W. Bush, to be released in early 2005 by Common Courage Press. He can be reached at: frank_joshua@hotmail.com

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JOSHUA FRANK is managing editor of CounterPunch. His most recent book, co-authored with Jeffrey St. Clair, is Big Heat: Earth on the Brink. He can be reached at joshua@counterpunch.org. You can troll him on Twitter @joshua__frank

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