November 11, 2016

Remember how we all hated Debbie Wasserman-Schultz? It wasn't just because she chose sides early in the race for the Democratic nomination. It was the actual job of DNC chair that made her so unlikeable.

Chairing a national party committee is a thankless, soul-sucking, 100 hour a week job. It requires connections, fundraising chops, on-air competence to speak in sentences (yeah Reince Priebus wasn't very good at that) and TIME. Lots and lots of time. It also requires that you be agnostic when it comes to the policy infighting of your own party. That's where Wasserman-Schultz failed, and you know why? Because she tried to be DNC Chair AND the Congresswoman from Florida's 23rd.

It can't be done.

And a great Congressman like Keith Ellison shouldn't have to do it.

Keith Ellison, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, Al Franken, etc. are all going to be setting Democratic Party policy over the next election cycles. None of them should be burdened with deciding budgets for state house races in a 50 state strategy. Howard Dean has proven that he has the technical chops to do that.

I realize many of my liberal brothers and sisters have a problem with Dean's lobbying activity. But that activity does not disqualify him from deciding whether a state house seat in Nebraska or one in Wyoming will be easier to flip. It doesn't disqualify him from figuring out where to recruit progressive women candidates to run in vulnerable districts for the House of Representatives. It doesn't disqualify him from fundraising in Silicon Valley. Party politics is a soul-sucking filthy business. You don't waste Keith Ellison's talents doing that kind of work.

And the argument Dean makes in the clip above is true. It's a 90-100 hour a week job if it's done right. Liberals (LIBERALS!) can be in charge of redistricting for the House of Representatives for the next ten years if we do this right. But if you take an awesome liberal congressman out of the House of Representatives just because only your liberal litmus test matters? It'll cost us.

Give the job to Dean, and go ahead, hate him in the comment threads, while he forges a path to flip state houses across the country. And appreciate that Keith Ellison has a real important job to set policy for the Democratic Party for years to come.

UPDATE: Martin O'Malley is interested in the job, too.

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