Editors Note: The Following appeared on an ABC News site: We are typing the following words both knowingly and with great trepidation: we agree with Pat Caddell. On Hardball this week, Caddell said about the DLC's attack on a still potent Howard Dean, "Let me tell why you they're panicked by it. They're panicked by it because the Democratic grass roots is in revolt right now because they're tired of a party that doesn't stand for anything." Dean is tapping into the Internet for communication, community-building, and cash; talking like a Washington outsider; and making people in his party feel inspired and if the McCain comparisons weren't overused, we would make one here Go to ABC Story
Centrist Democrats Take Aim at Dean
Friday 16 May 2003
WASHINGTON -- In case there was any doubt, the New Democrats don't like former Vermont governor Howard Dean, and they definitely don't want him to win their party's 2004 presidential nomination.
More than 50 centrist Democrats, including Governor Mark Warner of Virginia, met here Wednesday to plot strategy for the New Democrat movement. To help get the ball rolling, they read a memo by Al From and Bruce Reed, the chairman and president of the Democratic Leadership Council.
The memo dismissed Dean as an elitist liberal from the "McGovern-Mondale wing" of the party, "the wing that lost 49 states in two elections and transformed Democrats from a strong national party into a much weaker regional one."
Dean spokesman Joe Trippi replied: "It is a shame that the DLC is trying to divide the party along these lines. Governor Dean's record as a centrist on health care and balancing the budget speaks for itself."
As founder of the Democratic Leadership Council, From has been pushing the Democratic Party to the right for nearly 20 years. He was in tall cotton, philosophically speaking, when an early leader of the Leadership Council, Bill Clinton, was elected president in 1992. As Clinton's domestic policy guru, Reed pushed New Democrat ideas, such as welfare reform, that were often unpopular with party liberals.
"We are increasingly confident that President Bush can be beaten next year, but Dean is not the man to do it," Reed and From wrote. "Most Democrats aren't elitists who think they know better than everyone else."
The memo took a milder shot at Representative Richard A. Gephardt, Democrat of Missouri, for his proposal to guarantee universal health insurance coverage, which From and Reed called far too costly. "Every primary season unleashes the pander virus," they wrote.
Gephardt spokesman Erik Smith said the criticism is a good sign. Gephardt's plan "has been attacked from the left and from the right," Smith said. "We must be on to something."