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Dems Future Scrutinized As Dean Takes Helm of DNC

The February reading list for Democrats provides a host of interesting articles on the party's future prospects and strategy as Howard Dean takes charge of the DNC. It is usually a good idea to begin with the newspaper articles, because of their short shelf-life as freebies. So start with E. J. Dionne's thoughtful piece in the Washington Post Sunday Outlook "Can Dean Give 'Em A Winner?" enumerating and analyzing the choices and challenges facing Howard Dean as he assumes command. Then peddle on over to the Los Angeles Times, and take a peek at Ronald Brownstein's "Democrats Aren't Giving Bush A Break This Term," predicting a much more contentious tone, not only from Dean, but across the Democratic spectrum. Chuck Todd's "Clintonism R.I.P.: How Triangulation Became Strangulation" in the Atlantic has reinvigorated the debate about Bill Clinton's strategy as a template for the Dems' future, but you'll have to subscribe to read it and an accompanying interview, as well as Al From's critique. For an optimistic take, The American Prospect offers Robert Kuttner's "Being Howard Dean: Give the Chair a Chance. You Just Might Like What You See." If you're up for some heavy lifting, check out Peter Dreier's "Why Bush Won: What To Do Next" in the current issue of Dissent. Also reccomended is John Nichols' recent Nation profile "Dick Durbin: Bush Fighter," about Illinois' soft-spoken tough guy and possible prototype for Democratic leaders of the future.