New chief election strategist for the House Democrats & Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean bury hatchet
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the new chief election strategist for the House Democrats, welcomed Democratic Party Chairman Howard Dean to his office Tuesday for a “jovial” meeting in which the two pledged to work together during the 2008 election cycle
Such amity contrasts with the contentious relationship between Dean and former Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC) Chairman Rahm Emanuel (D-Ill.). They clashed last year over how much money Dean would commit to get-out-the-vote efforts and television advertising campaigns in individual congressional races.
As chairman, Dean centered his efforts on a “50-state strategy” to rebuild neglected state and local Democratic Party organizations, even in places such as Alaska, Nebraska and Alabama where Democrats run poorly. Emanuel, however, wanted to pour as much money as possible into congressional districts with vulnerable Republican candidates. At a meeting in May 2005, the Washington Post reported that Emanuel stormed out of a meeting with Dean amid a flurry of “expletives.”
“Victory is a great aphrodisiac. Rahm Emanuel had to make decisions [on a race-by-race basis]; Dean’s job is to rebuild the national party. They were both right,” newly elected Rep. Peter Welch (D-Vt.), who is close to Dean, said.
Still, some House Democratic aides close to Emanuel find working with Dean difficult. In a profile of Emanuel in GQ magazine’s January issue, an unidentified Democratic aide and Emanuel ally said, “[Dean is] so frustrating. I just don’t like him, anyway. I haven’t liked him from the beginning. It’s totally bizarre dealing with him.
She continued, “It’s not just that we only got $2.4 million, but we’re also supposed to not say mean things about Howard Dean. And Rahm’s supposed to act like everything’s wonderful.”
I admit to have the same problem with Dean -- I just don't like him.