Howard Dean is stepping down as Democratic National chairman. He has been criticized as a poor fundraiser and was not entrusted with many major tasks by the Obama campaign this fall. But Dean's 50 state campaign plan--building a Democratic Party in every state--turned out to have been a real winner for the party. It helped to expand the field for the Obama campaign and helped make many Democrats competitive--and successful--in states that George W. Bush carried by considerable margins in 2000 and 2004. Dean also kept in close touch with the mostly left-wing "netroots" that supplied so much of the energy for Democrats in 2006 and this year. Dean apparently feels that the DNC position will be less important with a Democratic president in office, and that is surely the case. But I think Democrats owe a big round of thanks to Howard Dean for a job well done.
By Michael Barone