On Saturday, Thomas Beaumont of the Des Moines Register reviewed Sen. Charles Grassley's recess visit to Iowa. The Finance Committee chairman admitted that the President's dream of Social Security restructuring likely needs a sprinkling of pixie dust to become a reality, although he would gladly chuck personal accounts if that would allow for bill passage. Minority Leader Harry Reid, however, cannot ensure a fairy tale ending unless private account proposals are cast out, never to return. LINK
The director of grassroots fundraising for the DNC, Nancy Eiring, has resigned, citing strategic differences with aides to DNC chairman Howard Dean, according to two Democrats -- including one who has spoken to Eiring.
Eiring, who worked on the Kerry campaign and then the DNC later during the '04 election, was one of the few holdovers in the Dean era, partly because of the vast sums of money the DNC has traditionally raised through direct mail.
Much of the money accumulated by the committee since former chair Terry McAuliffe stepped down has come through the mail. Traditionally, major donors have little reason to write checks during the lull between presidential elections and the start of the midterm campaigns.
Party officials say Dean has been able to raise more money in his first few months -- more than $1 million a week -- than any other DNC chair during an off-off year - nearly $19 million to date.
The party has stepped up its efforts to leverage Dean's popularity with online givers by sending out e-mails urging small contributions to help build the party's infrastructure in Red states. In the past two weeks alone, the party has raised more than $500,000 online for that purpose.
But some Democrats believe Dean's ascension to party chair has generated unusual ill-will among some of the party's top fundraisers. And the party's cash-on-hand totals -$7.2 million at last report -- are one third of what the Republican National Committee has to spend.
Eiring was not able to be reached for comment this morning.
"Nancy helped guide grassroots fundraising at the DNC during a tough election season and through the transition and we are grateful for her hard work and dedication. We wish her all the best," said DNC spokeswoman Karen Finney.
Proposition: The Democratic National Committee and Gov. Howard Dean's ambitious agenda will be paralyzed/hampered until (other) leaders of his party stop trashing him privately and publicly. But getting this circular firing squad to flatten out and shoot straight is as much Dean's responsibility as anyone's.
On Thursday, Dean remarked that Republicans have "never made an honest living in their lives." His defenders later suggested that he was referring to Republican leaders, not people who vote Republican, but others didn't see it that way. Friday's USA Today, as Noted here, quoted some prominent Democratic consultants (Axelrod, McCurry) being critical of Dean.
This weekend, two Democrats who are unquestionably party leaders were even more stark in their challenges to the chair.
Per this AP: "Democrats Joseph Biden and John Edwards are criticizing party chairman Howard Dean, saying his rhetorical attacks on Republicans have gone too far." LINK
"Dean 'doesn't speak for me with that kind of rhetoric and I don't think he speaks for the majority of Democrats,' Biden, the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Sunday on ABC's 'This Week.'"