Reading yet another article on what went wrong with the Dean campaign, I realize I haven’t seen a single one that addresses what I think went wrong. Putting it simply: Dean did not efectively address the “electability” question.
I think any volunteer who had been working at the street level could tell you that the number one question asked was, “Can he be elected?” And the Iowa caucuses proved that this was the number one question on Democrats’ minds. And it certainly was a question being asked by the press. You can’t blame the press for asking the question if the candidate is not answering it effectively. And if he were answering it effectively, maybe they would stop asking.
I used to think that Dean is the most electable of the candidates, because he understands how the Republicans are going to campaign, and was going to fight back effectively. He is a centrist, endorsed by the NRA, clearly able to build a movement of activated, enthusiastic volunteers, ready to go door-to-door and donate money as necessary.
My opinion has, of course, changed. First, the campaign did not effectively respond to “the scream.” I think this was an example of “Photoshopping” a candidate. They enhanced the sound in that tape, filtered out the crowd noise, and made is seem that Dean was just going nuts, when in fact he was raising his voice because the crowd was going wild. I’m not complaining here that he was unfairly smeared, I’m complaining that the candidate who had said he was ready to fight back WASN’T ready, when it came down to it. I had counted on Dean to assemble an effective response team, ready to respond to smears and tricks like this, and this did not happen.
Second, Dean never effectively addressed the big issue – electability! An effective ad would say, “A centrist governor, endorsed by the NRA, etc., etc.” and would lay out the case that he IS electable. Such an ad should have been the ONLY thing running for weeks in Iowa.
Come to think of it, there’s still time. Governor, if you really ARE electable, tell us why, over and over, and don’t talk about anything else until that question is settled. We’ll vote for you if you prove you really can beat Bush!