I'm sure you've all heard about Dean replacing Joe Trippi with Roy Neel as campaign manager. The problem being Trippi already spent most of the $40 million raised, leaving the Dean Campaign in a bit of a bind, what with having not won the Iowa Caucus and New Hampshire primary, and now with merely a modest amount of money left.
Now, there's a lot of comment how this is some sort of parallel to the internet bubble, but that is, to put it mildly, bullshit. The "internet bubble" is the only thing that put Dean where he is right now. And receiving $40 million dollars with an average contribution of $200 is nothing to sneeze at. Let's be honest here, there was no internet bubble popping here, the internet did exactly what the Dean campaign wanted it to do, it gave them a following, and helped raise them money. But a following and money alone won't win you a presidential nomination.
And I think the problem with Trippi was just that he didn't do a very good job with the Dean primary strategy. It seems that he was just planning on winning Iowa and New Hampshire and let that rising tide carry Dean to the White House. So he put all the resources into those two states, and then failed miserably through a series of ineffective ads and whatnot. So now that Dean instead of having a considerable moneytary advantage over the other candidates has a modest amount of money left, it's time to start anew with a new campaign leader and a new strategy.
And what is Roy Neel's strategy? I've been receiving e-mails from the Dean campaign for some time, mostly I've been ignoring them, but I found Neel's first e-mail pretty interesting.
This campaign has always defied conventional wisdom. Our extraordinary
rise last year defied conventional wisdom. So did our fall in Iowa, and
so did our comeback in New Hampshire after most pundits predicted Howard
Dean was finished.
Conventional wisdom has been consistently wrong about this race.
So when conventional wisdom says a candidate must win somewhere on
February 3, or that John Kerry will have wrapped up the nomination after
fewer than 10% of the delegates have been chosen, we disagree.
Our goal for the next two and a half weeks is simple: become the
last-standing alternative to John Kerry after the Wisconsin primary on
Why Wisconsin? First, it is a stand-alone primary where we believe we
can run very strong. Second, it kicks off a two-week campaign for over
1,100 delegates on March 2, and the shift of the campaign that month to
nearly every big state: California, New York, and Ohio on March 2, Texas
and Florida on March 9, Illinois on March 16, and Pennsylvania on April
And there you have it, in contrast to the whole Dean rhetoric of "we will kick ass and take names at each primary", Neel has a much more measured approach, something that's easier to do and can still result in a Dean nomination. Moreover it's a complete turn around from the kind of arrogant approach of the earlier Dean campaign by acknowledging that, yes, Kerry is the frontrunner, and we won't beat him easily.
So we'll see what transpires in the next month or so. But in the meanwhile I do love those Vegas odds pundits who declared Dean the winner before a vote was cast now declare that he's lost after only one primary. Will they never learn.