Friday, November 7, 2008

Who's screaming now?

Remember that much laughed about "Dean scream" in 2004? In a very loud auditorium on the night of those archaic Iowa caucuses, candidate Howard Dean reacted to a third-place finish not with a glum supplication before voters, but with a defiant promise to supporters. It ended with a "yeah" from the hoarse doctor, which came out strained and was cheap media fodder for the next week or so. It was a strong blow against Dean's hopes. The text:

Not only are we going to New Hampshire, Tom Harkin, we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we're going to California and Texas and New York ... And we're going to South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan, and then we're going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House!

Despite the hopes of Very Serious Democratic Powerbrokers, Dean became Chair of the DNC in 2005 after John Kerry's wobbly run for the presidency. A full election cycle after the speech which caused Important Members of Punditocracy, Inc. to write his political obituary, let's take a second look.

"We are going to New Hampshire..." Under Dean, New Hampshire overwhelmingly re-elected a Democratic governor, and two for two Democratic Congresspeople. Both were first elected in 2006 under Dean's leadership of the DNC. In 2008, Bush ally John Sununu was replaced in the Senate by Democrat Jeanne Shaheen, a Kerry supporter. Barack Obama won every county in New Hamspshire.

"...we're going to South Carolina and Oklahoma..." Okay, not an awesome result. Oklahoma is one of the few areas tending more Republican. However, Bob Conley received the highest result for a Democratic Senate candidate in decades in South Carolina. All but one county in South Carolina voted more Democratic in 2008 than in 2004.

"...and Arizona..." John McCain's home state was a swing state in 2008, unlike in 2004. McCain was forced to spend money to defend his home state. AZ-1 went from Republican to Democrat this year. The Republicans are barely clinging to the state legislature.

"...and North Dakota..." North Dakota spent time as a swing state as well. It voted significantly more Democratic this year than in 2004 and re-elected its Democratic Congressman, who opposes continued occupation of Iraq.

"...and New Mexico..." Red in 2004, New Mexico is now a solid blue state under Governor (hopefully soon-to-be Secretary of State) Bill Richardson. Again, it voted much more Democratic in 2004. In 2008, four Republican members of Congress were replaced with four Democratic members of Congress: 1 in the Senate, and all three members of the House. Under Dean's leadership.

".and we're going to California..." A sadder case; we lost one House seat in California. It also voted more Democratic in 2004, significantly so.

" and Texas..." Under Dean's leadership, the Democrats did not let up on Representative/Prominent Republican/Convicted Criminal Tom Delay. His toxic personality is no longer in Congress. Democrats held his seat in 2006, but lost it in 2008. The Republican margin of victory in the presidential was halved, and Jon Cornyn retained his seat by single digits. Democrats are flooding into the state legislature.

"...and New York..." In 2006, Democrats won the governorship of New York. Democrats now control the New York State Senate. Democrats now control four more New York Congressional seats than in 2006.

"...And we're going to South Dakota..." Another blueing state that is beating back extreme anti-choice activists, with an all-Democratic delegation. In 2006, Stephanie Herseth won by the greatest margin of any Democratic Congressional candidate.

"...and Oregon..." Another Republican Senate seat becomes Democratic in 2008, as does another Congressional seat. On the presidential level, Oregon has gone from swing to safe Dem, and got bluer in 2008.

"...and Washington..." Another once-swing state, Washington is now safe blue. The governorship went from barely Democratic in 2004 to a convincing win this week."

"...and Michigan..." Michigan is bluer now than in 2004. It is not a swing state; McCain abandoned it in the thick of the campaign. Two Michigan seats went from red to blue this week.

"...and then we're going to Washington, D.C..." With a Democratic Congressional majority bigger than Gingrich ever had, with at least 57 Democratic Senators.

" take back the White House!" To work with President Barack Obama.


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